Strap in for yet another blockbuster blunder. Scarlett Johansson's (Avengers) latest motion picture dumpster fire, Ghost in the Shell, explores a not-so-distant-future where technology runs the lives of everyone in a racially ambiguous world. Major Mira Killian, portrayed by Johansson, is created and outfitted with a completely synthetic robotic body but controlled by a human brain. Her soul (the eponymous "ghost") is trapped inside a cybernetic cage (the eponymous "shell"), rendering her an obedient, emotionless drone subject to her commander's orders. Throughout the entirety of the film it is apparent that Major truly cannot trust anyone and that you probably should have just gone to see Boss Baby.
Serving as an invisible assassin, fighting machine-gun misogyny with straight bangs and a rebel-without-a-cause attitude, Johansson's performance does little to create a genuine connection with an audience. This film is actually an awful attempt to subliminally solidify whiteness as an indication of power through flashy graphics and obvious objectification of women. All the lead characters were portrayed by actors perceived to be white, living in a fictitious Asian-inspired foggy inferno fighting amongst themselves.
Equipped with shiny robotic ladyparts and a bad haircut, ScarJo fights robotic geishas with spider legs, oily-faced club owners and of course, like all great mysterious leading ladies, her inner demons. Johansson, who was clearly conjuring her character's brooding and monotone demeanor from The L Word's Shane, gives audiences little to work with in an already-confusing storyline. Director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) has created a new and improved manic pixie robot dream girl who does little to distract from the racist and overly sexualized adaptation of Masamune Shirow's 1989 manga of the same name. Just start there instead.
+ There's a dog
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Ghost in the Shell
Directed by Sanders
Violet Crown, Regal, PG-14, 107 min.