Steve Daly
June 21, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Ghost in the Shell

type
Movie
genre
Sci-fi and Fantasy, ActionAdventure, Animation
release date
03/31/17
runtime
107 minutes
performer
Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche
director
Rupert Sanders
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13

We gave it an B-

Drawn in Japan and cofinanced by Brits, Ghost in the Shell melds a knockout vision of a machine-run cityscape with the spirit of a dreary French art-house movie. Between occasional cyborg shoot-outs, there’s obtuse philosophical dialogue about a future in which ”ghosts” — human souls — frequently reside in biomechanical ”shells.” Most of the whither-humanity blather emanates from the lips of the film’s supercop android heroine, Major Kusanagi (colorlessly dubbed into English in this export version), who wanders through Blade Runner-esque settings while trying to keep an artificial intelligence from downloading itself into her neck. Alas, even if you groove on the movie’s nihilistic look, VHS simply can’t capture the fine detail of director Mamoru Oshii’s animation the way, say, laserdisc could — which makes Ghost in a cassette shell a shadow of itself. B-

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