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Parents' Guide to

Ghost in the Shell

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Visually slick but uneven action film is dark, violent.

Movie PG-13 2017 120 minutes
Ghost in the Shell Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 13+

Decent Adaptation. Not whitewashed.

This is a decent adaptation of the Manga and Anime versions of the original. It's visuals are beautifully crafted and the story is adapted well given the extreme restraint of time to convey a long story arc in such a short period of time. To address the continuing (and erroneous) accusations of whitewashing (casting a white actor in an 'Asian' role), I would direct parents to do some basic research, including looking at past manga, anime, statements by Kodansha (the original publisher) and Asian voices in America and abroad. The only accusations of whitewashing tend to come from White Americans who like being angry about cultural appropriation without having much in the way of ties to the actual culture.
1 person found this helpful.
age 10+

Most underrated movie of all time!

This is very much unlike the cartoon version in terms of profanity and nudity! In this film there is very little swearing, and no nudity unless you consider a skin tight outfit johannson wore for this film nudity. The main issue is the violence and shootouts, but it's done in a very tame way. The movie reminds me more of a superhero movie then anything. I can't explain how, but it's just one of those films you have to watch to know what I'm talking about. If your kid has a violent past, I wouldn't recomend you show this, otherwise, it's not a big deal. And the story is very interesting! This is a movie I put in my top 5 movies of all time, and I've watched it numerous times. Two thumbs up to the sky!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (9 ):

This much-anticipated -- and maligned -- adaptation of the beloved cyberpunk manga is visually arresting and pulse-quickening, but it's an action film that focuses much more on style than substance. The source material is a Japanese comic with an identifiably Japanese protagonist -- Major Motoko Kusanagi, the MVP of Section 9, a cybercrime enforcement squad. But because Johansson is obviously not Asian, the narrative must concoct a (fairly believable) story to explain the disconnect. The uproar over the movie's perceived whitewashing of an established character isn't likely to abate because of that explanation, but the manga creator himself had no objections, saying the character's appearance doesn't matter because it's not her "original" self -- one of the main themes of the story. And Johansson does play the part -- a sentient weapon who doesn't know whether she's real or just an expensive puppet on a string -- well.

If the casting controversy is a dealbreaker, this isn't the movie for you. But audiences who are unfamiliar with the manga and unperturbed by the outcry will probably buy into the storyline. Visually, there's a lot to admire: memorable production design, the eerie precision of geisha bots, a Mad Max-meets-Blade Runner aesthetic. The supporting actors are capable, although Michael Pitt's over-the-top villain is a love-him-or-hate-him proposition, much like Jared Leto's Joker. The real standout is Danish actor Pilou Asbaek (best known in the U.S. as Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) as Batou, Major's fellow Section 9 agent and the closest thing she has to a friend. His warmth and occasional humor are much needed opposite Major's intensity. For a moderately diverting entry in the genre of futuristic sci-fi action thrillers, Ghost in the Shell is surprisingly traditional. The twists are predictable, and the revelations obvious from the earliest of Major's interactions with Dr. Ouelet. But there's plenty of Johansson kicking and fighting and being fierce, and that's never a bad thing.

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