"Ghost in the Shell" is kind of an anime staple with the original movie having been released over 20 years ago. It is quite the risk to take it on and make it live action. So first I want to give props to DreamWorks and Paramount (apparently there is quite the history on this film actually making it to theaters) for taking the risk. The resulting movie is literally a live action anime. The visuals presented in the movie are absolutely amazing. They bring the city to life in ways that felt super science-fictiony but still grounded in the realm of possibility ... eventually. The characters are also well done. The are the characters that we have know (assuming you have seen any "Ghost in the Shell" movies / show) each still have their unique traits that make them, them.
Fans of "Ghost in the Shell" should be pleased with the way the movie turned out. One of the core themes in the movie and the series has always been identity. How does one stay unique when humanity is becoming more and more robotic? How do you maintain your individuality? These are core concepts of the movie and eventually becomes the main drive of The Major.
"Ghost in the Shell" also contains a lot of action in both martial arts and guns. Seriously, there is no lack of shoot outs. Apparently this might be how you say hello in certain areas of the city. Walk in, fire a few shots, move on. The Major, when required, shows that she is no slouch in hand to hand combat either, although she is reckless. The Major will take the most fool hardy risks if it means the completion of the mission. While this keeps the story moving, there were a few times where it felt like it was a rushed decision. Overall the action proceeds smoothly though. Oh, and two words - spider tank.
Now the big thing for some people, how true is it to the source material? After all there was an un-necessary amount of criticism regarding the casting of Scarlett Johansson as The Major. Many felt it was white washing the cast by having a white actor be an Asian character. And to you I say, suck it up. Scarlett Johansson played The Major very well, if not a bit stiff. But I guess since she was an android with a human brain that makes sense. Also you might notice that I have only called her The Major so far. There are a number of incongurites that I noticed at the very start of the movie, including Major Mokoto's name that gets explained as part of the story. So if you see something that you don't think is right, just wait.
Overall the "Ghost in the Shell" movie is a good movie. If you are a fan of the existing "Ghost in the Shell" properties you are doing yourself a dis-service not seeing it. If you have never seen any of them this movie is a good way to introduce yourself to the property. The only thing that made it feel off to me was when they seemed to rush the pacing of the movie. If I had to give it a score, because we live a society that is just going to scroll straight to this sentence and look for it, I would give it a 4 / 5.