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.


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