Ghost in the Shell had all of the elements of a good movie, but it was unable to put them together to actually be a good movie. Now I will admit that I have not read the manga The Ghost in the Shell; I have only seen the movie. I do feel quite strongly about watching movies that are based on something else without interacting with that something else first, whether it be reading, watching, or playing. You simply can’t fully understand the movie without experiencing what it is derived from. I am breaking my own rules a bit here, but I realize my own limited understanding and will react accordingly. In my defense, I did accidentally see Ghost in the Shell. I went to watch another film but got the time wrong. Whoopsy..
Typically, movies that are based off writings exclude a significant portion of the writing when making the movie. This allows the movie to be its own entity, still maintain the essentials of the original, and not be ridiculously long (looking at you LoTR). Ghost in the Shell seemed to do the opposite. It felt like too much was included in the movie. I can think of at least four different stories in the plot that could be their own story. Actually, let’s list them all together. Major’s unique challenge of having a mind but existing as a robot. Kuze’s story, including his background, goal, network, and how he impacted Major’s view of her creation, the understanding of her past, and how she sees her future. The role, background, and operation of Section 9. Major’s superiority as a weapon in Section 9 because of her duality. The Lawless Zone. The state of the country, including the war on terrorism. Okay, so six, with smaller subsets on several of those. Each of these could (and likely should) have been developed much more.
Perhaps what is the most frustrating is that each of these is in the movie, but we just aren’t given enough. It seems as if the movie tried so hard to be respectful of the manga, it forgot to be its own entity. Too much of the manga was included to fit in just one movie. I think it would have been a much better film if it had chosen to focus on a few things and done those well. Instead, we get a movie with a whole bunch of miniature stories spread throughout, but not much meaningful develops from each of these. For a story with such depth and originality, the plot of the movie just felt shallow.
All that said, I actually did enjoy watching the movie. I don’t think that it is a good movie, but it had its moments. In the interest of being fair, I will list what I thought it did well. Major. As a character and a concept, I enjoyed both Major herself and Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Major. Kuze…almost. Kuze was sinfully underrepresented. But when he was included, his impact on the movie was overwhelmingly positive. The development of people using robotics, including the moral and social implications. We have three. Honestly, if the movie would have just used these three plot lines and did them really well, it would be a much better movie. Instead, it tried to force more into the film than seemed necessary. This watered down the more positive elements, which resulted in the subpar movie of Ghost in the Shell.
My name is Chuck, and these are my thoughts. Now I would like to know what you think. Do you think Ghost in the Shell tried to do too much? Or do you think it was able to balance each of these aspects well? What do you think about cyber enhancements? Leave a comment down below, and we’ll talk. Enjoy the day!