Ghost in the Shell is out now on Digital Download.
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Carmen Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Chin Han, Juliette Binoche
First, the good news: in 2017, for the first time ever a superhero film starring a genuine actual woman person proved a big hit at the box office.
However, it wasn’t Ghost in the Shell. It was Wonder Woman.
The mystery, of course, is not so much why this happened but why this hadn’t happened before. There are a few possible explanations:
Explanation 1: Cinema audiences are all similar in character to Donald Trump. They claim to like women but secretly fear and despise them (even the ones who are female themselves): Happily, FALSE. Resident Evil, Underworld, Tomb Raider and other female-led non-superhero films have done well with audiences after all. As did Wonder Woman…
Explanation 2: No one outside the Geekzone knew about characters like Elektra, Aeon Flux, Catwoman and the franchise Ghost in the Shell. Everyone knows Wonder Woman: Probably TRUE, yes. Except in the case of Catwoman, who everyone knew but which was truly dreadful.
Explanation 3: That’s just it! Wonder Woman was actually good. All those other films were bad! Surprisingly, this is generally TRUE too (although Ghost in the Shell, as we shall see, isn’t bad). But why should this be…?
Explanation 4: Women are just bad at playing superheroes. FALSE! Garner, Theron, Johansson were and are all good actresses. It’s not just Gil Gadot, great as she is.
Explanation 5: Filmmakers really haven’t got the knack of making superhero films for women until now. Oddly, this is more likely to be the explanation than anything else.
Perhaps I am wrong to group Ghost In The Shell alongside these other films. It is arguably a different kettle of fish. It is science fiction, a direct remake of the Japanese anime which is in fact one of the most successful animes there has ever been. it’s Blade Runner type setting is reasonably visually impressive and the film is certainly action packed. Johansson is fine as the synthetic human who has been transformed into an anti-terrorist operative although it is difficult to reject the widespread criticism that an Asian actress would have been more suitable for the part.
Ghost In The Shell is never awful but it isn’t especially original, lacks a sense of humour and is sometimes quite boring. Great films do sometimes fail at the box office. This did fail but ultimately really isn’t great.