Ghost in the Shell (2017)

After a rough start, this big-budget adaptation of the 1995 anime classic (itself an adaptation of a 1989 manga) finally finds its footing with the introduction of Michael Carmen Pitt, but getting there is a bit of a slog. Director Rupert Sanders clearly has a reverence both for the source material and for the genre in general, laying on the visuals very thick and recreating memorable moments from the anime, but there’s so much going on at once on screen that it can be hard to focus on any one thing, so the movie begs for a few viewings. Scarlett Johansson is well-cast in the lead even though it doesn’t require much of her, and both Pitt and Juliette Binoche make strong impressions in supporting roles. All in all, this is neither a masterpiece nor a disaster, stuck somewhere in between the glorious, demented energy of “The Fifth Element” and the peculiar joylessness of “Jupiter Ascending.”

Rating:  ★★★ (out of 5)

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