Entertainment

'Ghost in the Shell' is an early start to summer movies

Posted April 1

THE MOVIE THEATER — If you didn't know much about "Ghost in the Shell" before now, don't worry. Neither did I and I turned out just fine.

“Ghost in the Shell” is a movie based on a Japanese comic book that has been around since 1989 — long enough that you would be forgiven for thinking I possessed some passable knowledge of its basic premise. Now, nearly 30 years later, I recognized no more than the title when I saw the initial preview. I admit this so hardcore fans may bear with me and everyone else can come along as I share with you my humble initial impressions.

The Goods:

Extremely engaging story

As someone uninitiated into the world of “Ghost in the Shell,” I worried that I may be missing out on some necessary information or concept that would keep me from fully appreciating the film. I am sure some of that may have happened, but I will never know it.

I found myself immediately invested in the story and its overarching concept. The movie's storyline was fully engaging from the beginning to the end and built upon itself so that a prior knowledge of this world was not necessary. Of course, I recognize this is a dilution of the richer story, but a necessary move if the franchise wants to pull in new fans. Though the movie could have ended stronger, by the end, I was completely ready for the sequel.

Unique visual feel to the film

For me, the one component of a film that is as equally important as the story is its ability to tell the that story visually. It took a minute for the film to establish its visual presence, but it soon became clear how much work went into making this movie feel unique.

In film, it is difficult to manufacture a futuristic environment where every aspect of what you see is reinvented in a way that feels plausible. I could see the influences of many movies based on imagined futures influencing this film: “Blade Runner” is one that comes to mind first.

Great character development

With Scarlett Johansson as the lead and by far the biggest name in this film, I wasn’t sure I was going to be as engaged in the characters as I could be. Luckily, the writing and character development were done well enough that I was left wanting to know more about the mysterious figures and was fully invested in the prominent characters.

Strong action

None of the action sequences in “Ghost in the Shell” were disappointing to me, other than the final boss fight (which was really weak). I was more than once coiled in my seat watching as intense action played out in some rather unique ways. The action scenes benefited immensely from the special effects and thought that went into.

The Bads:

Not great acting

Though the story arc of the characters was written gracefully, the acting was "meh" at best. Johansson didn’t have to do much more than look like a mannequin that knows karate and everyone else was there to make her look good. I don’t think much was expected of the cast in this regard, but hey, it was still a way better performance than Matt Damon in “The Great Wall”.

Weak bad guys

After being so invested in the fate of the heroes, I was really hoping for a much bigger challenge when fighting the bad guy. The end boss played by Peter Ferdinando went down in a pretty unspectacular way and without much effort. This was a letdown considering how much time was spent making him seem so evil. I’m not sure justice was fully served.

Conclusion

Though some may argue with me, I found “Ghost in the Shell” as entertaining as “Kong: Skull Island,” although in a very different way. I think we are off to a very good presummer blockbuster movie season with some pretty standout films so far this spring.

Things parents should know before taking teens

This film is violent but without a lot of blood and gore. Then, of course, there is also Scarlett Johansson playing a fairly human-like robot dressed at times like a naked mannequin. So, proceed with the amount of parental caution you feel is necessary for you and your family before taking them to this movie.

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