Produced by Avi Arad, Steven Paul and Michael Costigan
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Screenplay by Jamie Moss, William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger
Genre: Science Fiction - Cyberpunk
Country of Production: United States
Released: March 31, 2017
Ghost in the Shell takes place in the near future, in a world where most people have become enhanced with cybernetics. Think of the Borg from the Star Trek universe, only without their sparkling, individualistic personalities. Hanka Robotics, a major company, is working on a secret project to develop a complete android body, into which a human brain can be integrated. Mira Killan (Scarlett Johansson) is a young woman whose body has been destroyed in a terrorist attack but whose brain managed to survive. She has been chosen as the test subject for their experiment. If successful, they plan to use her as a counter-terrorism operative (or, as they would have said back in the Sixties, a spy).
The project proves to be a success, and Mira begins her work, thwarting a terrorist attack when she destroys a rogue mechanical geisha. However, she becomes increasingly bothered by the fact that she cannot remember much about her life, and begins questioning the circumstances of how she came to be. She confronts Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), the designer of her cybernetic body, who admits that her memories are fake ones that they implanted. She gives Mira an address and helps her to escape after she receives order from the company to kill her.
She goes to the address and finds it occupied by a woman who reveals that her daughter, Motoko Kusanagi, had run away from home, been arrested, and killed herself while in custody. As she recovers her true memories, she realizes that she is, in fact, Motoko. Having recovered her memories, she reconnects with her mother and continues her work as a counterterrorist operative.
The story takes place in the near future, in a city somewhere in Asia. The city is a dazzling, futuristic wonder that features tall, glittering buildings, colorful holograms, and is mostly clean and shiny. As is the case with cities that we are familiar with in our own time, there are also seedy, rundown parts of town.
Ghost in the Shell owes its existence to earlier movies, particularly Blade Runner. Although it qualifies as Cyberpunk, it manages to avoid getting bogged down in technical jargon, and the characters, despite being cybernetic, display all of the qualities of being human. It is quite enjoyable, both for the storyline and for the dazzling visuals. The Skinner Zone is happy to award this film an Ed Wood Oscar.
Scarlett Johansson, who portrays the lead character, looks incredibly beautiful in her portrayal of Mira Killan. She looks really good in the tight-fitting white body suit that she initially wears. How she manages to get into and out of it is anybody's guess. Let's just hope that she didn't have to go to the bathroom after getting into it. She is even more appealing when she switches to a tank top later in the film. She is normally blonde and looks really good that way, but when she shows up with dark hair, like she does in this film, she is a femme fatale, a total bombshell, and a perfect ten, all rolled up into one.
The film also contains two secondary babes, who are both quite nice. Juliette Binoche portrays Dr. Ouelet, a nice dark-haired middle-aged lady. A lovely Japanese actress by the name of Kaori Momoi shows up as Mira's mother.
There are two cat sightings in the movie. The first is a very brief scene that shows a cat that looks like it might be a hologram. Later, when she meets her mother for the first time, there is a cat in the apartment. Mira picks it up and pets it, and it meows in appreciation. In another scene, there is a dog. I'm not a dog person at all, but I do have a soft spot for basset hounds, having had one as a kid.