Ghost in the Shell
Rupert Sanders (2017)
During most of its running time, Ghost in the Shell is exactly what an action movie should be: thrilling, well-shot action, with eye-catching visuals galore and enough character arc for you to care about what actually happens to the protagonist. But something is rotten in the kingdom of Script-writing, litterally. The pitfalls of the movie betray some manner of intellectual decay. The first scene of Ghost in the Shell is a perfect case in point of its ambivalence. The visual spectacle of a cyborg being constructed is difficult to enjoy after the ashy taste left by pointless text that could have been substituted by worldbuilding with no effort. The scene closes with egregious dialogue that would barely be acceptable in B-list 1980s graphic novels. I suppose you can only ask so much of the man who directed Snow White and the Huntsman.
It is a shame because the movie is genuinely gorgeous at times. Rarely has invisibility been used so well, particularly in fight scenes. That is partly due to modern technological proficiency and partly to fine film-making. The script's considerations about identity and humanity are hardly worthy of breakthrough think-pieces but at least they don't insult the intelligence, which is more than a number of similar films could say.
The same cannot be said of the evil corporation trope with the perfidious CEO as the monstrous final antagonist. It is a cliché I am fed up with, if not because of its overuse because it is just dumb. I don't know if it is cool to portray the system as inherently evil and greedy or if artistic types are intrinsically driven to perceive companies as monstrous figures. In any case, it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works and I wish it would stop.