Last night was the movie premiere for Ghost in the Shell at Hoyts Cinema Norwood. Scarlett Johansson plays Major Mira-Killian in this futuristic action movie directed by Rupert Sanders. Her unique character has the brain of a human but the completely synthetic body of a robot. This imaginative creation is the first of its kind, designed and created by Hanaka Robotics, a major robotics company who plays an important role throughout the film. The story is based in a cyber-orientated Japanese city, dominated by robots and cyber enhanced humans.
Major is a cyborg operative in sector 9 of a government run program that fights against terrorism. However, terrorism is now in the form of hacking (into others minds) and thus having the ability to control them. With her team of investigators, led by chief Daisuke Aramake (whose the real bad ass of the movie), Major must put a stop to cyber terrorist Kuze, played by Michael Pitt, who appears to have a crusade against Hanka Robotics.
One of the films’ themes that resonated with me after the viewing was the idea that human life is valuable as well as the importance of identity ownership. Major has her identity completely wiped from her memory, without her knowledge or consent. While she may be practically invincible, she longs for human interaction and for the life she cannot remember.
I enjoyed the films’ Japanese influence, which distinguished it from any other runt of the mill Hollywood blockbuster. The movie is an adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s Anime original Ghost in the Shell. It has elements of suspense and twists that are not to be expected. Johansson did a fabulous job of differentiating herself from the other cyber-enhanced humans and robots with her systematically robotic movements, but humanised expressions and reactions through her face. Pilou Asbaek portrayed Major’s right-hand man Batou, who bought humour and empathy to the role, which complimented Majors serious ‘woman on a mission’ nature.
Visually, the film was fantastic. Seeing it in 3D added an immense amount of action and heart-skipping moments. However, I do believe the themes explored in the film could have been further developed, including further analysis of particular characters. The movie was enjoyable, without being spectacular. It would be interesting to see a sequel that unwraps some of the themes further and responds to the unanswered questions about Majors past.
The film is set in the near future and allows us to imagine our actual futures being shaped by robotics and technology. It makes you question whether or not it is worth leaving behind traditional human life for human enhancements.
But the real MVP goes to Mercy Me Marketing for organising the showing (and of course the complimentary popcorn and soft drink). Thanks for having us!
Words by Indiah Salerno