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GHOST IN THE SHELL
Director: Rupert Sanders
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takashi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Peter Ferdinando, Anamaria Marince
Four stars (out of five)
A voiceover tells us this is the future but, for now, Mira is the first of her kind. Hanka Robotics has paid for a refugee caught in a terrorist attack to be saved in this extreme way.
When Mira (Scarlett Johansson) awakes she is alarmed because she cannot feel her body, but a kindly Dr Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) is there to reassure her. Her body could not be saved but her brain, the part that matters has been.
Any devotee of science fiction knows not to trust the kindly doctor who saves you by turning you into a cyborg, but in Ghost in the Shell (Reading) Mira is happy to accept what she is told. Dr Ouelet wants Mira to stay under her guidance, but Hanka Robotics has other things in mind for Mira: she is renamed Major and sent out to work with an anti-terrorist task force as the ultimate weapon.
Fast-forward a year and Major is hot on the trail of an internet hacker who has found a way to hack direct into the human brain and has a grudge against Hanka Robotics. The closer Major gets to the hacker the more he seems linked to her past, whatever that was.
Ghost in the Shell has received a lot of criticism for trying to turn a Japanese manga classic into a mass-audience popcorn movie, but that is just what Hollywood does.
Ghost in the Shell has a derivative plot, but it looks amazing and Johansson is spookily believable as a robot.
- Christine Powley