(Netflix Streaming, July 2018) When I say that I’m impressed at this Ghost in the Shell live-action remake, please read until the end of the sentence: I’m impressed at how this Ghost in the Shell live-action remake manages to take all the high points of the original anime film and spin them into a new and entirely boring whole. It’s practically impossible to imagine someone taking the best part of a classic film and making such a mediocre product out of it, but this film is proof of the seemingly-impossible. Whitewashing controversy aside (and yes, the film would have been a bit more interesting with a non-Caucasian lead), Scarlett Johansson is the least of the film’s problems when it’s the entire production that is so forgettable. (At least she gets to burnish her credentials as this generation’s emblem for post-humanism). While the production design has its own high points before delivering exactly the same thing as so many wannabe-cyberpunk films do, it’s the witless and unsurprising script that really lets the film down. In-between this and Snow White and the Huntsmen, director Rupert Sanders is proving himself a surprisingly untalented purveyor of mediocre dreck. There’s been a glut of SF movies and series lately about post-humans, and while the original Ghost in the Shell remains an impressive classic, this one is a tepidly warmed-over of familiar ideas weakly played. Dour and humourless roughly twenty years after bleakness has been overplayed in mid-future Science Fiction, this remake is destined to rapid memory oblivion. I not only dislike it because of my devotion to the original: Even on its own, this Ghost in the Shell is an average take on stale ideas.