‘Ghost In the Shell’ Fails Beloved Japanese Franchise

Scarlett Johansson’s Stilted Delivery of Dumb Dialogue Never Rings True

We’re supposed to believe that somewhere beneath the shiny, computer-generated exterior of fembot Major Motoko Kusanagi (Scarlett Johansson) swims the soul of her former self, full of the love and angst us humans cherish and lament. We’re not buying it. Johansson’s stilted delivery of mostly dumb dialogue never rings true, and Ghost in the Shell only grazes the tough concepts of primalism and individuality in the hyper-digital age that the source manga series and its 1995 animated film so adeptly explored. And let’s not forget the film industry sin of shamelessly whitewashing a beloved Japanese franchise. The only glints of proper sci-fi fun come from the seemingly evil plottings of reject android Hideo Kuze (Michael Pitt) and cityscapes full of Blade Runner-esque neon and grime. Still, better to rent the original.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

California Hits an Emissions Landmark Four Years Early

Achieved greenhouse-gas pollution reduction to 1990 levels in 2016.

192 Bridge Work Update

Delays expected as utility lines are replaced.

Goleta Target Store Confirmed

Set to open at Kmart location in 2019.

County Fire Chief Calls for More Fuel Breaks

Peterson wants to create a continuous front-country line from Montecito to Goleta.

Crime Rates Down, Youth Arrests Up in Santa Barbara County

A 'high percentage' of misdemeanor citations happen on school campuses.