In the not too distant, and somewhat almost too real future, the growth and use of cybernetics are becoming a way of life for humans, but cyber warfare is on the rise.
Leading the fight against this, is counter-terrorism Major Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson, Lucy 2014) and Operative Batou (Pilou Asbæk, TV’s Game of Thrones 2011), who work in a bureau called ‘Section 9’ under the watchful eye of Chief Amarki (Takeshi Kitano, Zatôchi 2003) which is owned by Hanka Robotics, who is the leading manufacturer of cybernetics. Mira, who is a patient of Hanka Robotics herself, thwarts a criminal outfit who try to blow up a Hanka business conference and soon after begins to suffer hallucinations which lead her on a path to seek answers.
Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White & the Huntsman 2012) comes this inevitable Hollywood live-action remake based on the much celebrated 1995 anime of the same title directed by Mamoru Oshii and adapted by Kazonori Itō from the 1989 manga created by Masamune Shirow.
This adaptation brings to the screen a digitally improved version of the visually arresting images that made the anime so iconic. However, no matter how well the CGI enhancements have been utilized, the story lacks as the adaptation fails to bring character, forcing the audience to accept style over substance. This is not a bad thing, but if the characters had more depth and growth, the emotion that they invoked would have more of an impact.
As the movie was in production, it did have a big controversial setback as it was claimed to be ‘white-washing’, as the original anime was set in dystopian Japan and had a primary Japanese cast. The adaptation to have a white-caucasian female cast in the lead role didn’t ruin the original, which may begin a discussion over die hard fans and new fans. Funny enough, some people in Japan found the hysteria over the white washing confusing.
This movie has been known to inspire other movies in the Sci-Fi genre, most notably The Wachowski Brothers 1999 hit, The Matrix.
Recommended Viewing: Watch if you liked: Blade Runner (1982), RoboCop (1987/2014), Surrogates (2009), Akira (1988), Cypher (2002), Imposter (2002) and, of course, The Matrix (1999).
Review by Mathew Currey