Ghost in the Shell (2017)

 (15,528)
6.31 h 46 min2017X-RayHDRUHDPG-13
Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human mind inside an artificial body. Discovering her creators lied about her past life to control her, Major will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery of her true identity and exact revenge.
Directors
Rupert Sanders
Starring
Scarlett JohanssonBeat Takeshi KitanoMichael Carmen Pitt
Genres
SuspenseScience FictionDramaAction
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Pilou AsbaekChin HanJuliette Binoche
Producers
Avi AradAri AradSteven PaulMichael CostiganJeffrey SilverTetsu FujimuraYoshinobu NomaMitsuhisa Ishikawa
Studio
Paramount Pictures
Rating
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

15528 global ratings

  1. 66% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Joe McCarthyReviewed in the United States on January 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most entertaining!
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I am a sucker for Scarlett Johansson films. She winds up, again and again, in good stories and fits her part very well. Even the little things. She captured a "mechanical" walk that is far from her normal gait that made it look like she was walking around in a mechanical body. She captured the limited expressions of a robotic body but conveyed her emotions with her speech. And her initial antagonist (forgot his name) had a speech cadence that matched Steven Hawking's robotic speech wonderfully.
And it was a great story. I enjoyed it immensely.
82 people found this helpful
SassyCakeReviewed in the United States on September 17, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
Delivered just enough to not be a total flop, but leaving much to be desired
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I have been a fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise for over a decade. That being said, I am not a movie watcher who is hypercritical for movies to perfectly replicate the story's source. For instance, its in my opinion that movies deserve a different type of critique than books which inspired them. This re-make did well in terms of bringing to life the cybernetic universe where this story takes place. It fully immerses the audience into a techno dystopia, beautifully tragic and reminiscent of the setting for Blade Runner. What left me feeling ultimately dissatisfied with this film was its lackluster psychological and existential dimension. This version had a prominent sci-fi action movie feel to it thereby missing the mark in terms of that unique quality that fundamentally characterized this franchise for me. I loved that ruminating, mysterious, and eerie tone of the anime version. There were also artistic uses of pause that gave a certain depth to the characters' complexity and drawing in the audience's imagination, something that was also absent in this version. Lastly, I'm quite forgiving with flaws in scripting and acting, which isn't a good sign when scenes in this movie gave me distasteful pause as I'm struck with corny super hero lines and characters who show weak chemistry with each other. Overall, it had some entertainment value but not much else.
56 people found this helpful
Nicole SReviewed in the United States on January 28, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
So many people hate it! But the world inside this movie is ...
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This movie is my guilty pleasure.
I know it's wrong. So many people hate it!
But the world inside this movie is very nice looking and it's a pleasure to watch.
It is about 50% fair to the source material and I know many people will hate it for that reason alone, but if you want an extremely dumbed down and shortcut version of the original story, this is about as close to the mark as you will get.

Wish it came with more subtitles (i.e., Japanese) so I could watch with my Japanese friends who don't speak so much English, but I'm not sure what can really be done about that. Not a fault of the movie itself.
37 people found this helpful
MidianZeroReviewed in the United States on June 10, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
not ghost in the shell just a cyborg action flick
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scarlett Johansson's worst job unfortunately as she seems to think the major's strength comes from her weapon grade cybernetics which is so very wrong for the character. The major rarely fights head on , her strength comes from being extremely smart and a tactical prodigy. That and Motoko depicted in combat in manga and anime enjoys it , she in fact seems to get a sense of utter joy from its in the moment feel and seems to get a bit mischievous at times literally going out of her way to pull the rug out from under a opponent that irritates her berating them for their foolish thoughts. No the heads on , combat wary major doesn't fit the character she is depicting at all.
14 people found this helpful
ElcReviewed in the United States on September 19, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
I tried to love this. Pales compared to the original.
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I went in to this movie after hearing from both sides of people who have both loved and hated the movie. Since there are more than a few people that loved the original, but still think this is a good movie, I tried my hardest to go into this with a decent amount of hope for the movie, that it may be able to do things in it's own way, but still be as good and engaging as the original.

I finished the movie annoyed and disappointed. I felt patronized and treated like a child through most of the film.

Hollywood really did lobotomize Ghost in the Shell. The story has been gutted from the original nuanced plot and replaced with a generic plot that beats you over the head with the point. The characters are also poorly defined with almost no nuance to them. The actors are fine, though even if I think they dont understand what defines the characters in the original film. The biggest strength of the film is the visuals. They mostly nailed how the Ghost in the Shell universe would likely look like.

On to spoiler territory (for both the original movie, and this remake).

So, the whole Scar-Jo debacle is stupid. She does fine for her role, even if her character is completely different than the original Motoko Kusanagi. A good actor is a good actor. Judge the merits of the film for what they are.

The original film was about the idea of one's self. The idea of being a "human", vs "a consciousness". It touches on some very uncomfortable ideas, like memories being just information, what makes you unique, and trans-humanism. The new film does not really touch on all of that. It deals more heavily with free will in society and corporate power, along with hamfistedly being a cautionary anti-corporate story.

Now, the original movie was subtle with how it presented each character, with their backstories having a ton to do with how each of the characters interact with each other. As an example, Motoko in the original is Motoko from the outset (and in the other works in this universe, you learn that she was one of the first people with a fully cybernetic body due to unfortunate circumstances, and has a history with most of the other people in Section 9). In the new version, Motoko is not Motoko, she was a run-away called Motoko until they wiped her memory and used her as the first completely successful fully cybernetic body person. They cram her into Section 9 as a way to show how badass a fully cybernetic person can be. "The Major" has basically nothing to do with Motoko. "The Major" shows up as part of Section 9 literally weeks before the "beginning of the story" and has no history with any of the characters due to the complete tossing of her backstory. The "New Major" is not a complicated character, just a blank slate. She is a badass only because of her fully cybernetic body in the new movie, the original made her out to be a badass because of her experience, since she is NOT the only fully cybernetic person (in the other works from the universe it is made clear that there are many other "special ops" groups with plenty of full-cybernetic people in them, as Batou comes from the army and is heavily enhanced himself). There are many plot points and character interactions that are carried over from the original, but are completely jarring and nonsensical due to the fact that they tossed out the back-story to basically every character because of their complete tossing of the Major's back story and nuanced interactions with the characters. One that stood out to me as one of the most nonsensical plot points is when Batou finds The Major diving in the bay. Batou and The Major have NO HISTORY prior to a couple weeks ago, but he "knows where to find her". What? I guess Batou is telepathic? In the original, it is hinted upon that The Major and Batou have a long history together, and that he finds her diving since that is what she does to clear her mind/try to feel more human, Batou knows about her diving trips from before. The movie also assumes you have seen the original movie, and presents some of the characters without any establishing scenes. Togusa in the new version also is never properly fleshed out. The original movie makes it clear that Togusa is the newbie to Section 9, and comes from regular civilian law enforcement, and that The Major specifically chose him due to his preference against augmentations, as a person she can trust. He makes it clear that he is the more analogue take on things, and prefers to use revolvers when everyone else uses automatics, even saying that he just loves his Unica. Due to the way they completely tossed the character of The Major, in the new version, Togusa has been with Section 9 longer than The Major... what? They also only give him a couple lines, and never actually have him interact with anyone. He does carry his signature Unica, but there is no explanation as to why, and he never uses it. The entire cast of characters in general is a mess due to their decision to completely toss the backstory that every character leans on.

The story is also completely tossed and dumbed down. The original story was about finding a truly sentient AI as the result of a chasing down a terrorist hacker. The AI created the whole mess to get itself out of the confines that the government had it in, and wants to obtain a human perspective by mixing consciousnesses with The Major. The new movie is a bog-standard "evil mega corporation that does horrific immoral human experiments needs to be stopped". The corporation puts The Major in Section 9, as an example of their ability to create a military-grade cybernetic person, then in the process of trying to use Section 9 to clean up their messes from their experiments, The Major finds out the truth and takes down the evil CEO. The original presents it's implications, and leaves you hanging to ponder them. The new movie makes up your mind for you. As an example, the arc where the hacked sanitation worker gets tracked down and eventually arrested. The original sets up the situation, making it out to be a normal day, but one of the workers is being coerced into helping a terrorist for money. The whole iconic chase and fight scene in the water happens, the terrorist is captured, and then it hits you with the realization in the interrogation room. The terrorist had their mind hacked, and memories replaced, all to give him the true motivation of trying to do something to make money for his non-existent kid's future. It ends the arc by telling you that the erased memories are unable to be recovered, and The Major and Batou bring up the question of "do your memories make you who you are?". The new movie tosses all of that "deep nonsense". The sanitation workers are straight hacked mid-route and completely taken over, they have no real will. They add the pointless scene of an attempted assassination of a pointless character that was added to try to give the audience a poorly cobbled together emotional attachment. The fight scene happens (I feel like they didnt understand what made the original movie's fight in the water so memorizing), and then they have a weird "futuristic" jail cell, where the remaining terrorist is held, where the terrorist is half under the control of the hacker. They clumsily bring up the fact that the person's memory was overwritten and cant come back, and it ends with the sanitation worker hanging himself... What? Why? I guess the writer thinks that all of the viewers cant be left with any questions, you are too dumb to think about complicated things. It is fine if they wanted to be different from the original movie. But, what they did is only half rip everything out, so you have a bunch of loose-ends, they then decided to spend almost no effort on creating the new stuff while jamming it in, expecting everything to fit properly.

In the end, the new movie isnt "bad", but it isn't "good". The only thing that stood out to me in any way, was the visuals. The way they portrayed the futuristic cyberpunk world was great, but having an interesting world, and impressive visuals, does not make a good movie by themselves.
10 people found this helpful
Alexander BallReviewed in the United States on December 24, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Visually interesting, boring acting
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First off, I'm not a ScarJo fan. I think she has a very narrow range that she does extremely well in and that's pretty much "plain jane with a twist." She is great in Lost in Translation and as black widow, but I just can't get behind her in this role. First of all, she spends a lot of the movie in a bodysuit that is supposed to be her robot/cyborg skin. For lack to tact on my behalf, and I apologize if it sounds insensitive, it looks like she doesn't fit into the suit which detracts from it looking like "skin." In the anime the main character is nude and her skin has a cloaking/camo feature to it. They went with the same concept in this adaptation, but honestly I think they should have just had her wearing a wetsuit or something as it would have been more convincing.

I bring this up not to talk about the actress or her not being fit for the role (literally or figuratively), I bring it up to highlight the consistent lack of a match with what made the anime great. There are many scenes that resemble the anime but completely lack the character, flair, or wow factor of the original. In many ways this movie is beautiful, but it is ultimately soulless. That's not an intentional jive with the plot, it's just poor execution and bad acting that detracts rather than compacts the themes together into a cohesive movie. Lines are delivered dryly without emotion where they should have emotion, and emotionless lines are delivered with hammy overacting.

It's easy to see what went wrong that led to this movie. As a fan of the movie and someone who doesn't think they should have whitewashed the cast, I independently do not think that is what made the movie bad (though I don't support it either). What I believe happened is that they tried too hard to remake a classic while shoving in an American A-lister to try and expand the target audience of the movie. Much like that Chinese-made movie that starred Matt Damon (The Great Wall), seemingly at random.

While watching Ghost in the Shell, I could feel the casting director breathing down the neck of everyone involved in this adaptation; Marketing shoveling idea after idea to try and bring this to a broader market than it should have been. The Cyberpunk genre has been saturated with amazing movies that flop in the box office. And that's ultimately what I think hamstringed this movie, they tried to turn a cult classic into a mainstream action movie. That thinking doomed this movie before it even reached production.
9 people found this helpful
Mike JohnsonReviewed in the United States on July 10, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Lot Better Than People Gave It Credit For When It Was Released in Theaters
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I did not expect a lot out of Ghost in the Shell given all of the negative reviews when it was initially released in theaters / the fact that it was a financial disaster for whichever studio made it, but came away pleasantly surprised. The visuals are great, the story is entertaining, and it seemed faithful to the original anime on which it is based from what I can remember (it has been a while since I've seen it).

It seems to me like a lot of negative attention this movie received was based more so on the controversy surrounding its casting (more specifically, casting a white woman - Scarlett Johansson - in the lead rather than an Asian or Asian-American actress) rather than the quality of the film itself, but everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess. I'm not trying to say anyone was right or wrong in regards to the casting - the people criticizing the casting have a point that Hollywood does not make very diverse films, but at the same time I understand that movie studios and the people that help finance their films expect a Return on Investment (which is why they cast a well known and well liked actress like Johannson i.e. in hopes that more people would go to see the movie). The only reason I bring this up is to drive home the point that you should go into this film with an open mind and judge it based on the film/story itself (as opposed to judging it on the casting if you had/have a negative opinion on it).
128 people found this helpful
awakeneddragonReviewed in the United States on January 16, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Chasing
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I enjoyed the original anime movie as a teen, have seen the various series, read the manga, collected the art books in Japanese. This movie is truly a loving tribute to the original anime, capturing iconic images, but also injecting changes. These are minor, but turn the simmering scifi into a consistent burn. It is truly quiet, languid, full of details. It was a shame to be there on opening day at the theater, but to be the only one there. Will anime be given this kind of life again? It's not difficult for me to take this movie on it's own without the franchise. It hits all the right beats, and injects its own complementary shots. I like this ending much more than the anime. Scarlett Johansson is a truly inspired casting choice, lending grace and power to the role of Major. The other casting choices are solid. If there is a weakness, it is in the true villain, but only because so much of the time is definitely focused on chasing down the themes and images and exposure of the Major and her truths. There are a few shortcuts perhaps with familiar visions of a future bursting with advertising, but this world has its own feel, and there's plenty to see. After multiple views at home, there really is so much to enjoy, and this is one of the strongest moments of the franchise. To the creators, my thanks for your vision and homage. Very well done.
10 people found this helpful
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