GHOST IN THE SHELL is a special effects laded science fiction film that distinguishes itself with lush visuals and a somewhat thought provoking story of self-discovery for a troubled heroine whose body is synthetic, not real flesh and bone. It's not a great movie but it's a pretty good one, helped by the skillful acting of the always reliable Scarlett Johannsson.
(The heroine, Major, is in a hospital bed, gasping for breath.)
Dr. Quelet: Breathe. Do you remember anything about the attack?
Major: What happened?
Dr. Quelet: You were in an accident.
Major: Why can't I feel my body?
Dr. Quelet Your body was damaged; we couldn't save it. Only your brain survived.
Johnnson's character is called Major, a cyborg with a human brain in a manufactured a body that has almost superhuman abilities.
Dr. Quelet: You were dying; we saved you and now you save others.
Major's brain can't recall her previous existence because the government has lied to her about the past so it can use her as a weapon against terrorism.
Major: I'm going in. (She dives off a building top, crashes through a glass wall and starts shooting terrorists.)
The fight scenes are well choreographed and exceptionally well depicted if you enjoy science fiction.
Major also can hack into the brain of her enemies.
Major: I have to do a deep dive. I have to get inside her memory. (She enters the nightmare filled brain of a wounded survivor and almost gets killed there before she's brought back to "reality.")
But Major still can't get inside her own memory.
Major: Everyone around me, they feel connoted to something, connected to something, I'm not….I know I have a past. I'll find out who I was.
A creature she thought was her enemy sets her straight.
Partner: Everything they told you was a lie…..They did not save your life; they stole it.
I won't reveal what Major discovers and what she does with that knowledge except to say that it transforms her life and makes for the movie's best scenes.
But I have to say the action scenes in GHOST IN THE SHELL are more fun to watch than most films of this type. Even the director of the over 20 year old Japanese anime it's based on has given it a thumbs up.