I originally reviewed this Blu-ray six years ago and dug it out to refresh myself in preparation for this weekend's arrival of the controversial live-action ScarJo version and upon second viewing I'm finding that 1995's anime classic Ghost in the Shell is a tad overhyped. People remember the iconic action sequences or the shocking (robo) nudity or the haunting score, but lost in the reminiscences are the fact that the plot makes little sense and there's way too much philosophy dumping going on.
The opening thermoptic camo scene makes the Major look like an assassin, not a cop. All the nattering about the "ghost" maybe being or not being the human soul is half-baked and the political chicanery and investigative work to detect possibly illegally cloaked people who then never are revealed is just confusing.
The biggest stink over the casting of ScarJo is that it fed the SJW outrage pimps another example of "whitewashing" (in which evil disgusting white actors are playing roles believed the sole property of "People of Color"), but as with so much anime, there is nothing Asian about Major Motoko Kusinagi other than her super Japanese name and since her body is robotic and her appearance manufactured, what makes her "Asian" to the point it requires racially-specific casting? (FWIW, I would've gone with Rinko Kikuchi from Pacific Rim.)
While the original Ghost in the Shell remains something self-respecting cinephiles should see, it will be interesting to see how this live-action version, which reportedly takes elements from both theatrical films and the Stand Alone Complex series and blends the philosophical angles with the need for sci-fi shooty-shoot action.
Score: 6/10. Rent it.