After an untold amount of trailers over the past six months, tomorrow sees Rupert Sanders's live-action remake of Ghost in the Shell finally hit theaters in North America.
Based on the manga and anime classic, the movie takes place in an ultra-futuristic world where the human essence — or ghost — can be transferred to different robotic bodies, also known as shells. Scarlett Johansson assumes the role of the Major, a special ops, first-of-its-kind human-cyborg, who leads the elite task force Section 9. As you've no doubt seen, the Major has no qualms when it comes to kicking ass and getting violent with bad guys.
From the multitude of clips, the movie's jaw-dropping special effects and spectacular fight set-pieces make the $110 million budget look like money well spent. But, of course, judging a movie by its trailer is like judging a book by its cover. While us mere mortals will have to wait another 24 hours to see if it lives up to the hype, reviews from cinema critics have already begun circulating online. We've rounded up some of the best below.
Tim Robey, The Telegraph
There are moments which directly recreate Oshii’s best scenes, with real sets and actors performing a balletic kind of stunt-karaoke. But the story is far more graspable – more streamlined – and the gracenotes, action-free, tend to be the highlights.
Variety, Guy Lodge
Spectacularly honoring the spirit and aesthetic of Mamoru Oshii’s beloved animated adaptations without resorting wholly to slavish cosplay, this is smart, hard-lacquered entertainment that may just trump the original films for galloping storytelling momentum and sheer, coruscating visual excitement
Ben Croll, The Wrap
'Ghost in the Shell' is a technical knockout, a here-and-now valentine to what design wizardry Hollywood can pull off in 2017. At the same time, it does so in service of a tired tale full of repurposed visual tricks, storytelling clichés and big-studio concessions, to the extent that the film offers a sleek modern polish to a story that feels about 15 years too late.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
It’s a spectacular movie, watchable in its way, but one which – quite apart from the “whitewashing” debate – sacrifices that aspect from the original which over 20 years has won it its hardcore of fans: the opaque cult mystery.
Dan Jolin, Empire
There is a frustrating absence of personality which means, for all her physical presence, this Major’s just not very engaging.
Even though there’s an enormous amount to look at and digest, little of this film is truly memorable or thought-provoking.
Jonathan Hatfull, SciFinow
'Ghost In The Shell' certainly isn’t dire, but it is dull.
Chris Hunneysett, The Mirror
A hard working Scarlett Johansson stands at the centre of the spectacular visuals, but even the Avengers star can't bring the soulless storytelling to boil.
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
A heavily computer-generated enterprise with more body than brains, more visuals than ideas, as if the original movie's hard drive had been wiped clean of all that was dark, poetic and mystifying.
If we're being kind, the verdict is a bit of a mixed bag so far then. Let us know your thoughts on the movie if you see it tomorrow.
Now, watch the terrifying first trailer for Stephen King's IT reboot.