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What do you know; a live action movie of the 1996 Japanese anime of the same name. That in itself has my attention.
Ghost in the Shell points to having a live human spirit within an electro-mechanical device. It also points to a human spirit living on as an independent AI that functions within a large complex computer network. In this way, it indicates toward a kind of immortality.
Rotten tomatoes gives it a 42% rating. Hmmmm. green. That must mean they're throwing old tomatoes at it. But actually the pro reviewers suggest high quality visuals with a not-so-good story.
Myself; Back in 1996 (?) I enjoyed this animated movie quite a lot. Time has passed and you can only revisit the old anime's so often before the story gets old.
That said, the original wasn't so much notable for its engrossing story. Rather it was notable in that it was an anime' aimed at adult sci-fi viewers. In reality I felt that the Japanese authors were trying to cram in too much philosophy in the form of long narrated diatribes as opposed to weaving said philosophies into the story line.
The anime' was also noteworthy for exceptional graphics. And yet those graphics were added into the story gratuitously. As in, take a breather from the plot while looking up at some stupendously beautiful, artfully produced CGI. It passes and back into the story we go.
And I still liked it. So if the movie follows this format of adding CGI and philosophy in a gratuitous fashion, I can understand reviewer objections. And yet I will probably view the movie sometime next week as a matinee. Only then will I know what the reviewers objections are rooted in.
Edits: 03/31/17Follow Ups:
but I still only give it a C
I saw it Imax / 3D.
Highly interesting visuals of the highest quality.
It is an origins story in that we learn how the Major, the full cybernetic human, comes to be. This movie seems to leave off exactly where the previous animated movie from 1995 begins.
I could pick at some distracting elements within this movie if I wanted to. But I found the overall arc of the story was strong enough for me to suspend my disbelief.
This is an english speaking movie, yet there are brief scenes where some major characters speak Japanese while the screen offers English subtitles. But only briefly. I can't fathom why this was done.
For those who have seen both "Ghost In The Shell" movies: GITS then GITS: Innosense, and then followed by a third movie called GITS:The Solid State Society; by a different production company that followed up by producing an animated TV series called "Ghost In The Shell: Standalone complex",then the GITS/SAC,2nd gig, all the main characters within Section 9 are there and recognizable. Batou, Motoko, Togusa, Aramaki, and Ishikawa. I thought the Batou character in the film came close to the animated Batou in appearance and demeanor. Expecially later on in the film.
The thing to know about Batou is that he's got a thing for the Major. He can't hide it. He cares. In the animated versions, the Major never reciprocates this feeling, but does offer her friendship. And this seems consistent in the film.
Aramaki, in the film doesn't look like Aramaki in the anime. But otherwise his character fits. An older, experienced and intelligent operative that also seems quite wise. An excellent leader of the team who knows how to deal with politicians and operatives at the same time.
We learn more about Togusa in the anime and tv series than in this film. but he's there. Ishikawa, the same.
I presume there could be a sequel for this movie, if box office numbers manage to pay for what must have been an astronomical cost of production. At the matinee I was one of 6.
When this comes out on video I'll definitely buy the Blu Ray.
...realizing it was from an anime film.
I can't think of anyone who could have played the part of Major any better than Scarlett - throughout a lot of the film there are close-ups of her face lacking emotion but you can't take your eyes off her.
The one thing the critics have panned it for was a lack of soul - it's hard to get really excited about a film where you don't emotionally connect with any of the characters, because the main character is a robot.
But with its technicolor vision of the future and action, I would recommend it.
I'd give it a B-.
...Scarlett's performance was excellent - think about how hard it would be during the entire film just to show your emotion through your eyes without moving your face.
And the vision of the future was pretty incredible.
But it didn't make me cry.
When Scarlett stripped down for action that enhanced body suit took my breath away. As an old perv it was lucky that she didn't spend the entire film wearing it. It was also fun to see that all representations of the future come from 'Blade Runner'.
My biggest delight is that his is actually a good film. Compelling with over the top effects and art direction. This is fun with a nice wow factor. And, Scarlett looked terrific. I don't think she's looked better.
It seems Miss Scarlett has been consigned to being an action star now. She's good at but I won't be able to fully get her in a serious role. Well, do what you do best, I guess.
The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) has blasted the casting choice of Scarlett Johansson in "Ghost in the Shell" just ahead of the film's opening weekend.
In a statement released Friday, the group condemned the movie's "whitewashing" of Johansson's character Motoku Kusanagi who first appeared in the Japanese manga of the same name.
The organization also criticized Johansson's recent interview on "Good Morning America," in which the actress said she "would never attempt to play a person of a different race, obviously." MANAA responded by writing that "she was lying."
Additionally, the group denounced the casting of Michael Pitt in the role of Kuze in the film, which MANAA said "is revealed to have originally been named Hideo, meaning he too was Japanese."
"Apparently, in Hollywood, Japanese people can't play Japanese people anymore," MANAA President Robert Chan said. "There's no reason why either Motoku or Hideo could not have been portrayed by Japanese or Asian actors instead of Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt. We don't even get to see what they looked like in their original human identities — a further white-wash."
You just can't please everyone and still make an international block buster.
who hasn't seen a manga in his life. The film is based on manga. Female characters in mangas are usually portrayed with unnaturally big eyes, and no female actress of Asian origin could have fit in that role. Johansson looks very good in that manga-based movie.
Or they simply love to play the race card over and over like the other minorities here in the US.
But unfortunately, as stated elsewhere, these films have to pay off. An expensive CGI flick like this has to have the best guarantee of payback that the studios can get, and little or unknown actors of any race won't provide that.
This is the same bias that Bruce Lee came up against when he had the idea for the old TV series, "Kung Fu". Producers liked the idea. He thought he was the obvious choice to star in the series based on his own idea, but David Carradine was selected instead.
instead of Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt"
Sure there is: money
Forget it Jake; it's Hollywood.
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
...by Mick Lasalle
it is streaming Free on Starz using my Amazon Prime subscription...
Quote from Amazon Prime...
"Now featured in stunning high-definition, this edition celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the original manga. In the year 2029, the world has become interconnected by a vast electronic network that permeates every aspect of life. That same network also becomes a battlefield for Tokyo's Section Nine security force, which has been charged with apprehending the master hacker known only as the Puppet Master. Spearheading the investigation is Major Motoko Kusanagi, who - like many in her department - is a cyborg officer, far more powerful than her human appearance would suggest. The Puppet Master, who is capable of hacking human minds, leaves a trail of victims robbed of their memories. Soon, Motoko begins to ponder the very nature of her existence: Is she purely an artificial construct, or is there more? What exactly is the ghost? Is it her essence in her cybernetic shell?"
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