Author Topic: Ghost in the Shell 2017 live action movie  (Read 971 times)

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Ghost in the Shell 2017 live action movie
« on: April 04, 2017, 06:40:47 pm »
One of the trailers.

The movie is the highly anticipated live action remake of the 1995 anime movie.  Some consider this a classic.  The movie itself is an adaptation of the manga (1989-1990) by Masamune Shirow.  If you go back for the 1995 movie, avoid the 2.0 version.  If you enjoy the cyberpunk genre, you should see this movie. 
Spoiler for Hiden:
If you enjoy the original ... well ... try to forget the original while watching this movie.

How was the movie?  It was fine.  Quite enjoyable on its own.  The visuals were a potpourri of beautiful CGI eye candy.  (The CGI effects make me want to go back and watch Blade Runner again.  That is more an effect of having recently watched the Blade Runner II trailer though.)  The opening sequence where they assemble the Major is a gorgeous sequence.  It pretty much lines up to a similar scene in the 1995 anime movie.  The fights were nicely choreographed.  Gunfights, fist fights, etc to keep the action flowing.  Some of the acting reminded me of the joke about Keanu Reeves in Johnny Mnemonic.  For the most part, the film was more about self-discovery.  Scarlett Johansson's Major is having a little bit of an identity crisis after an unencrypted deep dive to determine the motives of a cybercriminal.  We will skip over this taking place in Hong Kong and the chief of Section 9, who reports to the Prime Minister (the discussion of Hong Kong having a Prime Minister instead of a Chief Executive is out of bounds here), speaking in Japanese instead of Cantonese.  The way the buildings were set up were unmistakably Hong Kong-esque. 

All in all, it is a nice way to kill an afternoon with a cyberpunk movie.  No much heavy thinking.  No soul searching about the consequences of your actions.  I'll probably end up buying the blu ray digital HD combo pack when it is released. 

More of my problems with the film come from the "based upon the [manga] by Masamune Shirow."  I assume the main point of making this movie is the built-in audience.  Since there are plenty of folks that have been wanting a live action adaptation, the downside of this project most have been judged to be lower.  Your built-in audience already guarantees a certain level of profit.  In fact, I heard quite a few folks talking about what a letdown the movie was for them.  It was funny because each and every person was trying to carefully articulate why they were let down.  It isn't a slam dunk of what was wrong.  It was more a cascade of things that were a little bit wrong that leaves you less than fulfilled with the movie.  Somewhat like traversing uncanny alley when talking about AIs trying to mimic humans.  Once you get close enough to actual human behavior but are still slightly off, you fall into uncanny alley where the audience is creeped out by it. 

How faithful an adaptation is to the source material is a constant source of discussion for every movie.  Ninja talked about it for Constantine.  Folks talked about it for The Watchmen.  I'm sure when Hulu's take on The Handmaiden's Tale is release, there will be plenty of talk about that too.  Heck, all the changes made to X-men canon for the movies and how the original Spider-man trilogy lost the pivotal Gwen scene was important for the fans of the comics. Sure, changes are needed to tell the story in the time allotted. 

For this movie though, they completely changed the Major's back story.  To me, this takes away some of the strong female protagonist material found in the manga.  They took away her expertise in anything and left her as the first of her kind cyborg leader of Section 9. Never mind the fact that the squad is built around a brainwashed person whose training is implanted instead of a seasoned military commander whose rank was Major.  You are pretty much left with a stereotypical action girl. 

Hacking as it was found in the manga and the anime was also missing.  What does encrypted vs unencrypted have to do with attempting a dive?  Sure, you can say that swapping encryption for the barriers and support AIs in the manga is made for convenience.  But there is little usage of hacking beyond a plot device to being with.  The bad guy uses hacks to turn folks into enemies for the good guys to fight.  The good guys pretty much only use it to explore the remains of a destroyed bot.  None of the usage of hacking as part of the fight to have your opponents not see you or to lock the opposing support AIs for a short while to have an advantage.  (Granted I might be taking more of the manga/standalone complex series into the discussion here.)  Is it important enough to leave in?  Well, that was part of the reason the Major was important to Section 9.  Her hacking skills were superb.

What about the other squad members of Section 9?  They gave Togusa an upgrade to make him more sure of himself and less of the new kid in the squad.  Not to mention that Togusa is the one that traces the hacker instead of Ishikawa.  Okay, not as bad as it sounds.  Why did they create a new character Ladriya when they already underutilize Ishikawa, Saito, Borma, and oh, wait, there is no Paz.  Okay.  Ladriya is the replacement of Paz.  And Ladriya gets a bit more screen time than the rest of the squad as hench squad member.  She does get less screen time than the new Togusa who feels the most developed of the bunch. 

I won't go into how much of a letdown the fight in the pool of water scene was for me.  It was the centerpiece to first trailer to show how close to the source material the movie stayed.  Yet the way the scene unfolds is just subtly wrong.  Did it fit in the new movie?  Ill say yes even though that fit felt off for me.
Spoiler for Hiden:
The hacked garbage man has optical camouflage and is running.  Sure, the gunman in the source material had it as well.  But that gunman was more of a mercenary with false memories than an everyday garbage collector.  Was it really authentic?  No.  You swapped a capable gun for hire with a hacked garbage man.  And garbage man's false memories were to allow him to do his on the go hack of someone else under the guise of hacking his wife so he can see his kid.  Not make him an assassin with a hacked background.  Why even bother since both of the guys in the garbage truck were hacked assassins?  You don't need force this bit of the source material unless you wanted folks to believe you stayed true to the source material.  If they had just cut the discussion about the family, it would have flowed better. 

When all is said and done, the film makers are relying upon you to know the characters already.  They are here to talk about the Major.  Batou plays a big supporting role for the Major.  Everyone else gets 3rd billing.  The anime had scenes to help flesh out the rest of the squad.  It wasn't great, but it made them more than background scenery.  Hey, Saito was put into position to snipe the enemy in the live action movie.  Sure, Id say his eagle eye attachment to the sniper scope was done more as fan service though.  Which is what you typically do when adapting things, through in some fan service to the source material.  Pity they didn't actually use him as a sniper earlier in the film. 

I would have enjoyed this more than the latest Star Trek movie had I not been a fan of the original anime/manga.