Ghost in the Shell: a blockbuster with a soul [critique]

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Ghost in the shell

Rupert Sanders delivers the fabulous visions of the original manga to today’s children.

Released in March 2017, the live remake of Ghost in the shell had pleased First. If the animated film of Mamoru Oshii remains unbeatable, this other version is nothing to be ashamed of. Here is our review, while waiting to (re) see it this Sunday on W9.

Ghost in the Shell: director of original anime defends Scarlett Johansson

Near future.
A megalopolis.
Perched on top of a building, a young woman connects to an electronic network to spy on a meeting between diplomats and businessmen of all kinds. Her target spotted, she cocks her revolver and drops into the void to spray a bay window…. All the efficiency of the style of Rupert sanders is in this vertiginous plane, where the bewitching coldness, the shock and the dazzling visions of what is to come unfold.
Who is this woman “embodied” by Scarlett johansson which we will quickly understand that it is a cop robot? What is this formidable weapon, Major Kusanagi, robotic woman and ruthless cop, made of? This is the question that agitates his colleagues in Section 9, an elite unit supposed to hunt down cybercriminals. When the group goes in search of a mysterious terrorist who is eliminating scientists, they quickly ascend to the industrial group behind the construction of the Major. And the thriller at the Blade runner turns into an abundant cyber fable …

Blockbuster under acid

Ghost in the shell

The first scene forces you to dive into the void, into the depths and the circuits (of the city, cyborgs and computers) following Major-Scarlett. To excavate the arcana, to return to the origin, to dig. This is the promise of this introit; it is the object of the film and the quest for the heroine. This is where it all has to start. Basically, there is the manga of Masamune Shirow, which has become thanks to the visions of Mamoru Oshii a film (Ghost in the shell), an even more poisonous sequel (Innocence) and a series (Stand Alone Complex) cults for anime lovers, but relatively unknown outside this restricted circle. Sanders took the basics of these poisonous splendours to deliver a version live which transfers certain scenes shot by shot (the spider tank, the intro…) to better detach themselves from them and offer their own vision. Ghost in the shell is like his models (comics and films), a great decadent and popcultural remix that crosses Future Eve de Villiers de L’Isle Adam and the puppets of Kleist, Descartes and Robocop… But upgraded, shiny and modernized. Like the recent adaptations of Disney live cartoons supposed to bring the Mickey catalog to life and introduce it to a new generation, Sanders shapes 2 hours of pure visual shoot for globalized kids that he delivers to his fabulous SF visions. Imagine a clip that synthesizes Derrida’s entire work; think of an effective and acidic blockbuster… you will have a good idea of GITS.

What is Ghost in the Shell?

It’s beautiful, mind-blowing and hallucinatory, but not only. GITS new generation also intends to ask the philosophical and obscure questions of the original works in a simple way; basically being a Hollywood movie with a soul. And so we very quickly fall into existential vertigo, but for all audiences. Who am I ? Who is my real me? So many questions that Kusanagi asks himself. The Major has his own emotions, memories, thoughts, but is it all real? We thank Sanders for sparing us the childish symbolism that plagues blockbusters or today’s SF series or worse for assassinating a prepubescent philosophy stuffing … The filmmaker sticks to his existential odyssey with seriousness and even a certain poetry. Behind the philosophical questioning (human too human? Cyborg too cyborg?) Which never prevents emotional power from taking hold (the Major’s relationship to Batou, the only one to remind him of his humanity) what the film whispers is that, whether they are simple humans or artificial intelligences, the only valid criterion of evolution is there: are we capable of love?

Trailer :

Scarlett Johansson: “Ghost in the Shell Major doesn’t have to be sexy”

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