Ghost in the Shell

Fun but forgettable anime adaptation

Major (Scarlett Johansson) is about as cyber-enhanced as you can get: a human brain inserted into a powerful robot created to combat the world’s baddest bad guys. Kind of foxy, too.

She has been told that she was “saved” after a terrible accident and turned into this hot hybrid. But when she finds that to be an alternative truth and that in fact she was instead stolen, as it were, she sets out to find those responsible and wreak some unique havoc.

The result is a smart, fast-moving, kick-ass action flick that honors the eerie, melancholic essence of Mamoru Ishii’s revered anime. All things considered, a fun time at the movies without being particularly memorable when measured against the plethora of similarly themed CG extravaganzas infesting the multiplexes these days.

Note: There’s been some whining in this country about the casting of a gaijin as the star of this most Japanese of manga-derived entertainment. My response is the same as to similar carping about casting Chinese actors in 2005’s Memoirs of a Geisha. When your entertainment industry has for decades emphasized cute over talent, you don’t really have an argument here. And Takeshi “Beat” Takano’s nonexistent acting abilities may boost the Japanese box office but add absolutely nothing. (106 min)