Say what you like about the upcoming Hollywood remake of Ghost in the Shell – and there’s plenty to say about it – you have to believe it can’t be as flagrantly mercenary as the latest reboot, which even has the gall to call itself “The New Movie”. A continuation of the Arise miniseries – and, by my count, the fourth universe in animated Ghost in the Shell multiverse – it’s not so much bad as boring.
The action scenes? Fine. Even, good.
The quality of the animation? Top notch, particularly some imaginative cross-cutting between memories/android fantasies in the climax.
The film even addresses some of the flaws inherent in Arise, managing to increase audience interest by grounding its techy theatrics in Motoko Kusanagi’s childhood and structuring its convoluted story with much-needed clarity.
People are probably going to love this. More power to ‘em. But, for me, what I mostly took away from The New Movie was underwhelming fanservice. It recycles ideas and images from the original movie without adding anything new. Pitting Motoko against an android doppleganger is a genius idea that should allow for a nuanced interrogation of post-digital identity but instead, like so much of the movie, it’s just a gimmick.