Ghost in the Shell (2017)

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Rupert Sanders directs Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano and Michael Pitt in this live action remake of the anime where a cybernetic policewoman discovers the company that salvaged her brain may have taken her life. 

I found the animated original a very dry plod when I was a teenager, and I was never a fan of The Matrix series which pirated a lot of the code any remake would also need to plunder. But in the Scarlett Johansson dominated marketing build up for this I found myself quietly hopeful, discreetly salivating at the prospect of a big budget, full on cyberpunk dystopian vision. And I absolutely loved it. Amazingly intricate world building, some nastily dark moments of data rape and a great support from the living legend that is Beat Takeshi. Could have done with a slightly longer action sequence when The Major escapes a second act reprogramming (the movie forgets its blockbuster set pieces as the satisfying introspective noir fully takes over) and the FX get a bit ropey in that last Spidertank sequence. But minor quibbles when a film had the rare visual ambition of Blade Runner or The Fifth Element. Ask yourself what kinda cinema you want made for a $100 million? Where do you want your Scarlett Johansson deployed? Superheroes scrapping and joshing in abandoned airport runways or an entire cityscape spewing out neon holograms of robotic consumerism, there to stage your Kafka-esque action mystery in? I know where my tenner wants to go. Ambition, scope, an unforgettable sensory experience.

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