So, I saw it last night. At the time, I thought it was pretty okay, but later, I realized that there wasn't really anything TO it. Parts TRIED to be an examination of identity, but not enough, and the parts it copied wholesale from the original 1995 movie seemed out of place with the different context.
I'm not upset about ScarJo being the Major, since part of the point was that she not resemble her previous life in any way whatsoever, and the altered setting is such that she can't really just swap into a new body the way she could in the source.
For those who haven't seen and don't care about spoilers, the Major is 'Mira Killain'(Or something), the supposed first full body cyborg. She's actually Motoko Kusanagi, an abducted teen from a lawless zone that was captured for the experimental Project 2571 (If I recall) as I guess a prototype for cyborg soldiers or something. It's repeated often by the bad guys that she's a weapon, but since he's an executive in Hanka, a government-funded robotics company, it's unclear what his actual goal really is. It's a very Robocop thing; human mind in a synthetic body, because AIs and robots are predictable and unsuited to be soldiers.
....It's really kind of a mess, but it's a PRETTY mess, and the flaws didn't come to me until hours later, so....you can immerse yourself in it, at least. Or I could.
Batou and Aramaki got the most screen time besides ScarJo, and they were pretty dang excellent. Aramaki especially, who spoke only japanese and was subtitled fairly decently, as well as got a couple nice action scenes. Ishikawa was little more than a walk-on. Togusa had a scene or two. And that sniper that I always forget the name of was really only seen once.
Besides ScarJo, the bad guys, and a couple of female doctors who got some time, everyone was non-white, so everyone crowing about how it flopped because it erased PoCs is really kinda missing the point, I think.
I forgot to look at the credits to see if Shirow had anything to do with the script, or had a producer credit or anything, and I can't be arsed to check IMDB for that, but I'm under the impression he was okay with the changes and casting?
Anyway, I initially gave it a 6.5/10, but I think I'm going to make it a straight 5.