Ghost in the Profit
April 15, 2017

There were eight people in the theater when my Dad and I went to see Ghost in the Shell’s live action adaptation. For some reason nearly every showing is in 3D, which doesn’t actually hurt this slow burning production. I know – slow burning action movie, right? GITS has a ponderous, ruminating pace that allows for instances of intense cyborg combat and deep introspection. The Major, aka Makoto Kusanagi isn’t a deep feeling sort; but is troubled by a past she is at odds with.

Mira Killian (…how subtle a name is that for a weaponized prosthetic body user?) on the other hand has falsified memories and serious mistrust of nearly all authority figures. She’s inexperienced, impatient and a perplexing mix of two movies and fifty two episodes of very differently paced story. She’s an action hero with programmable motivations, and… it isn’t long before the fascination of all the cybernetics wears off, and you realize just how watered down everything is.

The 1996 animated feature had deep introspective conversations about the nature of living things, and though it was also light on word count, maybe I’m spoiled by the quality of translations. This movie had dull writing, dumbed down for the North American target audience, and it was not welcome. Oh yes, the visual effects were spectacular, and deserve some kind of award. Too bad the movie was ten years too late to grab any attention. Culturally we’re tired of Anime’s ‘everything goes’ morality.

It was a good movie; the acting was good, the music was… forgettable, but there was a massive disconnect between the world and the characters that lived in it. Instead of a hero’s rise, which is what this was supposed to be about, it felt like Makoto was settling for something other than obscurity. Were the producers and directors so afraid of offending people that they watered down the transhumanist convolution to a piddling tale of phantom body syndrome? Pretty much, even though Mira is a fairly good match for Makoto, she’s not at her level of expertise, skill and professionalism.

Too much, too late, and more static than is necessary about a movie that wouldn’t even dare take a chance to make a real point about its source material so people could be offended. Here’s looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

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pickhut pickhut - April 17, 2017 (04:07 PM)
I haven't watched the live-action movie, but I get the feeling that to general audiences, it appears to be another typical sci-fi action movie. The original movie had two big things going for it: its futuristic, technological setting involving people being transferred into other bodies and the questions that come with it. From what you said, they really watered down the latter aspect, and so all that's really left are the futuristic aspect and its visuals. Not to disparage the movie's visuals, but audiences have been bombarded with sci-fi, visually-heavy movies over the past 10+ years, so to them, this probably seems like more of the same.

Personally, I thought this would have worked better as a series, maybe Netflix-exclusive, with a decent episode count, like 6 or 12. But that probably would have been too expensive, so I guess I understand why they went the movie route.

Well, there's at least the SAC series, for those interested in seeing its concept spread across 52 episodes and a follow-up movie.
hastypixels hastypixels - April 17, 2017 (09:24 PM)
There just isn't enough real meat on this prosthetic story to sustain the weight of the concepts, and reality as it is presented. SAC gives you time to get to know the characters as they live case to case, much like Law and Order. A dramatic take on the criminal elements of prosthesis users, and abusers, needs more explaining, and by that point, most of the audience has walked away.

The actors did a fine job, but all the physical appeal in the world isn't going to charm up a dry as brush script. Feel free to skip the movie, it may land on cable for Saturday afternoon movie runs anyway. Unfortunately for the visuals, which were spectacular, they were indeed ten years late. SAC lends visual clarity to the action sequences, so you can understand what's going on.

Word has it the producer of SAC is up for another run, so we could see a 3rd GIG. That'd be nice.

A warning to anyone interested in the Steam GITS collection: For some reason SAC has been condensed into two long running movies with a new voice cast. Find the full running series: There's just more to enjoy and ultimately it's easier to understand.

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