Follow TV Tropes


Film / Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Go To
"They created me. But they cannot control me."

"Everyone around me, they feel connected to something. Connected to something I'm not."
The Major

Ghost in the Shell is a Live-Action Adaptation of the Ghost in the Shell manga, directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson as "The Major".

The film follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind full-body cyborg, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotics' advancements in cyber technology.

The film was released on March 31st, 2017. The movie has been released worldwide in home video and on digital download.

A novelization of the movie was released in physical and digital version. It includes details that are either not in the movie or weren't made clear enough due to the lack of time.

Ghost in the Shell provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Pazu, who has existed since the franchise started, is nowhere to be found. Neither are the Fuchikomas, Tachikomas or Uchikomas.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • While the characters and the atmosphere in general are not as depressive and quiet as in the Mamoru Oshii movies, the Major is still much more serious and collected than her manga version and is much more philosophical with Batou at times, and Aramaki is again taken seriously instead of being a target of jokes.
    • As with the 1995 movie, the garbageman's fate is much more grim. In this film (where he is named Lee Cunningham) he kills himself, while in the original manga he lived and returned to his job.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Aramaki was always the Mission Control and Big Good in the franchise. In the film he gets an action scene of his own — and he kicks major ass, killing a bunch of heavily armed goons with a revolver and an armored suitcase. He also defeats Cutter and executes him. For reference, the closest he ever comes to performing any action in the other versions is when he pulls a gun on the head of Section 6 in the original manga, an episode of 2nd GIG where he talks his way out of a Hostage Situation, and when he fires a few bullets at an out-of-control Logicoma in OVA 3 of Ghost in the Shell: Arise.
    • Togusa gets the treatment as well. He was little more than a background Ensign Newbie character in the manga, and when the team got burned in Stand Alone Complex, Togusa was quickly apprehended (he was still recovering from previous injuries, plus Aramaki ordered him to stand down), only to be turned loose with all of his ties to Section 9 cut. When he complains about this later, he's told it was part of a deal with the government to protect him due to his being the only member with a family. In this version, he (with advance warning) single-handedly takes out a hit squad in the middle of dinner. Of course, in this version, they were dealing with corporate mercenaries rather than a government conspiracy.
    • Zig-Zagged with the Major. On one hand, she is now physically strong enough to successfully disable a Spider Tank, something she failed to do in the manga and first anime film, while taking somewhat less structural damage in her body; similarly, her hand-to-hand skills are also amped up, to the point that her fight against the garbageman has her throwing him around and not struggling heavily against him like in the first anime film. On the other hand, she is surprised and tricked several times, ends up captured twice, and the one time she attempts a cyberhack, she's the one whose Ghost ends up compromised; also, she's also never shown holding a position of authority over the other members of Section 9. Her vulnerabilities in this iteration of the franchise are represented mainly by her lack of experience in dealing with such situations, since she's only been at it for a year. Not only that, she's actually a teenager Hanka Robotics abducted for their experiments.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Inverted. In the manga, the thermo-optic camouflage was a bulky armor, while here it is a spandex-like, skintight bodysuit.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The president of Hanka Robotics, a Villain of the Week from one chapter of the original manga who wasn't even given a name, is given a name and promoted to Big Bad for the movie.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie's plot takes elements of inspiration from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, namely the 2nd Gig episode "Affection", as well as Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. And of course the filmmakers made sure to recreate or at least touch on most of the iconic scenes from the 1995 anime detailed in Mythology Gag. The original manga itself, let alone the entire franchise, is too large to be properly told in a single movie.
  • Advertised Extra: The members of Section 9 have their own posters and their actors, including Canon Foreigner Ladriya, revealed details about their characters while promoting the movie. With the exception of the Major, Batou and Aramaki, the rest barely have some screentime in the movie itself.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: The setting depicts huge and holographic advertisements.
  • Arc Words: "My name is Major Mira Killian and I give my consent." Inverted later in the film after Mira was captured and about to be terminated by her doctor: "My name is Major Mira Killian and I do not give my consent," only to learn that the whole consent thing was a formality and the brass at Hanka don't really care if she agrees to the treatments or not. After all, they didn't even bother asking for consent when they kidnapped her and turned her into a cyborg in the first place. But Aramaki does seek her consent before executing the man responsible for that. For that she states "My name is Major, and I give my consent", rejecting the name Hanka gave her, while showing she doesn't see herself as Motoko Kusanagi any more.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Hitmen sent by Hanka Robotics try to murder Section 9, which is off-duty and scattered around the city, and have maybe one minute of advance warning before they hit. Every single attack fails.
  • Badass Boast: Aramaki, when he kills the mercenaries hired by Hanka.
    Aramaki: Don't send a rabbit to kill a fox.
  • Badass Crew: Section 9 of course, best shown when the Big Bad sends a death squad after each of the members and there are no casualties on Section 9's side.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Yakuza nightclub where Major first finds Kuze.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: An interesting take on this trope. A hit team is shown sneaking up behind Batou, who smiles and readies his weapon. Cut to Togusa who is ambushed by a similar team in a noodle bar, but he has a mirror positioned to see anyone sneaking up behind him and so quickly dispatches the assassins. We then cut back to Batou driving away from his apartment, completely unharmed.
  • Big "NO!": Major and Kuze both do this when they think the other has been killed.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Takeshi Kitano's Chief Aramaki only speaks Japanese while his subordinates speak English back to him, presumably because they are all using translation software in their neural augmentations.
  • Book Ends: The movie properly begins and ends with the Major jumping off a roof in order to engage her mission.
  • Briefcase Blaster: The terrorists in the first attack have automatic weapons that deploy from suitcases.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The President of the African Federation worries about this trope while discussing it with Dr. Osmond at the geisha house, moments before the geishas go out of control. Also, it's revealed that Major herself was an advocate of this belief in her pre-cybernetic life.
  • Cyberpunk: It wouldn't be Ghost in the Shell if it wasn't. The setting combines cutting-edge androids, hi-tech augmentations, holograms, and neon-slathered environments with dystopian slums and Police Brutality. A powerful and morally dubious Mega-Corp seeking to push the boundaries of man and machine, with close connections to the government, provides most of the conflict.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both The Major and Batou, similar to each incarnation before them.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the manga, the ghost-hacked garbageman recovered and was put back on his job. This version of him, Lee Cunningham, kills himself by breaking his own neck.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Hanka Robotics turns out to use runaways extensively in their experiments. And as it turns out, the Major's original identity, Motoko Kusanagi, was a political radical who ran away from her home.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • After getting hacked and arrested by Section 9, Lee Cunningham is shown the truth about his own identity, or rather the completely fabricated life he's been lead to believe. He takes his own life by hanging himself from the wire harness that's securing him in his holding cell.
    • The story that Hanka told Motoko's mother is that she took her own life.
  • Fake Memories: Cunningham remembers a daughter and a happy family he never had, while Major thinks her parents were killed in a terrorist bombing so she'll be motivated to fight terrorism - especially cyber-terrorism that could hurt Hanka's bottom line.
  • Flipping the Bird: "How Many Fingers? am I holding up?"
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Batou makes a mook shoot two fellow mooks during the nightclub brawl.
  • Foreshadowing: During a conversation about their childhood pets, Major talks about having a dog and Batou responds that she seems more of a cat person. She is a cat person, the memories of having a pet dog are false.
  • Friendship Moment: At one point Major worries that Batou has been ordered to kill her for turning Rogue Agent, and as a loyal company man he'll carry out his orders. Batou curtly tells Major to drop her line of questioning as the very suggestion he'd do so is pissing him off.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: In traditional Ghost in the Shell fashion, police and various security forces wear these. The hitmen who are sent to burn Section 9's members wear these as well, but they're worn more like hockey masks. Those are actually Class 3 Tactical Masks, of the type worn primarily by law enforcement officers in close-combat situations like hostage rescues, drug busts, and other raids. In the case of the hitmen, they're probably also worn for the psychological effect by making them look like faceless shock troops.
  • Glassy Prison: Cunningham is kept in a cell made of glass. He's unable to see Section 9 interrogating him on the other side except for whoever allows him to see.
  • Hospital Gurney Scene: The movie starts off right away with Mira on a gurney, being rushed to an operating room.
  • I Choose to Stay: Kuze asks Major to abandon her body and escape with him into his network. She refuses as she's not ready to leave her friends and newly discovered family.
  • Info Dump: The film repeatedly spells out what cyber enhancement is and what questions about its ethical implications are raised in dialogue.
  • Ironic Echo: "I give my consent."
  • Made of Iron: Everybody save for Togusa, in one way or another. Cyborgization makes it possible to repair most of a human's body, and Major can take a massive explosion and only need some quick rebuilding and maintenance to be back on her feet. Several cyborgized bad guys shrug off several bullet hits before being dropped by sheer firepower or very precisely targeted shots. Kuze's own body is a mish-mash of various parts, yet he's able to take Five Rounds Rapid right into the chest without so much as any signs that he was even shot. Unfortunately this ability doesn't extend to artillery fire.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Hanka soldiers wear full-face masks with no mouth opening, while their red-cloaked cyber-surgeons have surgical masks and screen visors. The terrorists in the first attack wear large square sunglasses that have the same effect.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Say something nice."
  • Mega-Corp: Hanka Robotics has direct influence within the government largely in part to being defense contractors. They have Section 9 — an unofficial government organization — directly in their employment. Cutter has enough power to order a burn notice, but is counterbalanced by Aramaki having direct ties to the prime minister.
  • Missing Mom: Mira is lead to believe that her parents died in the accident that made her what she is now, but she later finds out that her mother is still alive and well, and is eventually reunited with her at the end of the movie.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: The trailer is set to Ki:Theory's cover of the Depeche Mode song "Enjoy the Silence".
  • More Dakka: After his assassins prove ineffectual against Section 9, Cutter uses a missile-firing Spider Tank against Major and Kuze, backing them up with cybernetic snipers in a helicopter.
  • Multinational Team: Section 9 thanks to the Race Lift adaptations. However since Japan apparently has an influx of refugees (as per 2nd Gig) it's possible that characters like Borma or Ishikawa are foreigners who have become Japanese citizens, hence their Naturalized Name. Even Major has a Eurasian look to her features, implying a more racially-integrated Japan.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Neck Snap: Cunningham kills himself by letting the cable around his neck break it when he falls to the ground after jumping upwards.
  • Out of Focus: What screen time is given to the other members of Section 9 only establish that Ishikawa enjoys drinking alcohol and Saito is a sniper. Borma has no dialogue and barely gets any screentime, let alone any actual camera focus, at all. Togusa and Ladriya are shown much more, and have more dialogue, but even they don't get much in the way of development.
  • Le Parkour: The garbageman uses some to escape from Section 9. The Major herself later uses it in the battle against the Spider Tank.
  • Private Military Contractors: The opening text states that Section 9 is an established government organization, but Hanka is working with the government and hired them as defense contractors.
  • Quick Draw: The final confrontation of the film is one of these between Aramaki and Cutter, which Aramaki wins easily before finishing him off..
  • Racial Transformation: One such possibility with full prosthetic bodies. Major Mira Killian is a Cyborg who resembles a caucasian woman in her mid-30s, but is in fact a young Japanese woman named Motoko Kusanagi whose brain was placed in a different shell against her will. The same thing happened to her best friend, who changed from a Japanese teenager into a white man.
  • Race Lift:
    • The Major, who's assumed to be Japanese in the original worksnote note , is played by Caucasian Scarlett Johansson. Zig-zagged: the Major in this film was Japanese, it's just that her mind was put into a body of a different race.
    • Borma, also assumed to be Japanesenote , is played by African actor Tawanda Manyimo. It might be a deliberate artistic license, as "Borma" sounds phonetically more African than Japanese (his name spelled in Japanese is an ambiguous "Bōma").
    • Ishikawa is played by Australian actor Lasarus Ratuere.
  • Revenge: The main theme of the film. Major is told that her parents were killed by terrorists so she would be motivated to pursue them. Kuse wants revenge on those who turned him into a cyborg and then abandoned him to die. After learning the truth from Kuze of what Hanka Robotics did to Mira, specifically how they reprogrammed Motoko Kusanagi and gave her a new body and identity against her will, she seeks to get them back and expose them.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: So many that Major has to verify that the prostitute is human before hiring her.
  • Scenery Porn: They spent a lot of money on the special effects in this film and the camera knows it, especially with the many Establishing Shots of the neon-drenched Cyberpunk cityscape.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Ladriya's inclusion as a member of Section 9 averts this trope.
  • Spider Tank: Directly named as such. The "Spider Tank" assaults the Major in the climactic scene. The main difference being that the spider tank from the first GitS movie is a manned vehicle whereas the one in this movie is a remotely-piloted drone.
  • Super Window Jump: After sniping several terrorists, Major crashes through the window to shoot the remainder, though it deactivates her Invisibility Cloak.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: Laced with Mythology Gag — in each adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, the Major is given different backstories, anywhere from "orphan who lost her parents in a disaster", "socially detached trans-human experiment", to "someone operating under a pseudonym who may or may not be Japanese", but in the end, she's the Major, involved with the government and Section 9. This film combines all the depictions of her — the Major is a Japanese woman from a Japan in conflict, given falsified memories and info claiming she is really a Caucasian orphan and survivor of a terrorist bombing, and is a prototype experiment of making artificial humans who finds herself seriously detached from the world around her, due to her own cyberware.
  • Techno Babble: The movie has some usage of this here and there, but the biggest example is a scene where Mira discusses with Dr. Ouelet about digital hallucinations she's having. The scene is short, but full of terminology that only computer programmers and die-hard GitS fans would understand.
  • Technology Porn: All over the place, most blatantly in the opening where Major's body is built.
  • Tested on Humans: Major is not the first full-body cyborg, just the first successful full-body cyborg. Over ninety people have died while Hanka was perfecting the technology. Kuze is an abandoned test subject who failed to do so, and now wants revenge.
  • That Man Is Dead: When Aramaki confronts Cutter and asks for the Major's permission to kill him, she simply responds "This is Major, and I give my consent." This implies that not only does she reject the Mira Killian identity that Hanka created for her, but also accepts that she's no longer the rebellious teenager that Motoko Kusanagi was either.
  • Time Skip: There is a shift of one year after the opening scene.
  • Toplessness from the Back: In one scene we get to see Major undressing from behind.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The various trailers straight-up reveal that Hanka Robotics is the Big Bad of the movie, including how they created Mira and then betray her.
  • True Companions: Everyone in Section 9 takes the Major's word over Cutter's in the matter of which one is the real criminal.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • Major has to give verbal consent whenever her memories are deleted. When Dr Ouelet goes to permanently delete her memories, Major refuses to give consent, only to be told that they never needed it in the first place.
    • As a rule, Dr Ouelet is the only person at Hanka who sees the Major as a person rather than a prototype.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: Ladriya's parents in the novel are not pleased that she was recruited to Section 9, being immigrants from India who moved to Britain to start over and let their children have a sense of a normal and stable job.

Alternative Title(s): Ghost In The Shell