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REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell (2017)


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Hikaru Suzuhara



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 62
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:25 am Reply with quote
I find it baffling the word adaptation is constantly thrown around in the context of this franchise. None of the entries within it fit that. At best they only take influence from and refer to one another in sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle ways. You have the manga, the 1995 film and it's sequel, the Stand Alone Complex series and its movie, Arise, and even this 2017 live action version. Every one of those entries is merely a different imagining of the same universe. Just as each one features a different take on Motoko yet they all stand apart. You can tell that while they are from the same franchise they are all very different works.

Each one is a different experience. Were you to sit down and actually compare the manga to oh say the 1995 film, you'd again see only a very loose interpretation of its structure. The same goes from any other entry. They're all different beasts bred from the same monster. You can tell each one is “Ghost in the Shell” yet each timeline is meant to stand on its own just as this most recent entry is.

So of course this entry isn't all that directly faithful to the manga. None of them are. Read chapter 2 of the manga. Now watch the 1995 movie. Different huh? Kind of like Gundam. Whether it's the UC or one of many alternate universes. No matter what the entry you can still recognize the franchise for what it is.

That's the point. Every timeline entry can be enjoyed one its own. The same goes from this most recent entry. They're made in such a way that you can start anywhere and not be lost. They're supposed to stand apart yet again still very clearly be spawn from the ideas introduced in the original manga. That's one of the best things about the franchise, there are an increasing number of ways you can enter its world.


Last edited by Hikaru Suzuhara on Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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MajorZero



Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 351
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:32 am Reply with quote
At least it can't be worse than Innocence. I mean, if you like incredibly dull episodes of CSI then I can see why you'd like the second film. Also, I don't remember GitS ever having any kind of actual depth unless we count quasi-philosophical drivel as something of real substance.
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zeo1fan



Joined: 02 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:45 am Reply with quote
MajorZero wrote:
At least it can't be worse than Innocence. I mean, if you like incredibly dull episodes of CSI then I can see why you'd like the second film. Also, I don't remember GitS ever having any kind of actual depth unless we count quasi-philosophical drivel as something of real substance.


I don't specifically think it's fair to say it's 'quasi-philosophical', since what the original espoused is a documented philosophy. I think it's more that the original movie over-exposes its ideas. Every idea is stated, most of them by a creature lacking in emotion, who therefore can't bring personal meaning to what's being said. It's a bit like having your computer read the surrealist manifesto to you.
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Zin5ki
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:56 am Reply with quote
Thank you for this review! If it is the right time to declare there to be any critical consensus at this point, it would be that this film succeeds to the extent that one holds in abeyance its heritage and forgives its controversy.

Everything seems fine for a cyberpunk story that traipses through now-typical themes of personal identity, but given the material that was available to adapt, it is a predictable disappointment that seeming fine was all that could be achieved. Indeed, I'd be surprised if anything more ambitious—something as bewildering as Oshii's original ending, as daring as to ask not only whether minds can be transferred but can be subdivided or merged—was even considered during the writing phase.

We could see this coming from the outset. When Hollywood is given a carte blanche to adapt an anime franchise popular enough to merit retaining its original name, we can generally expect something both à la carte and decidedly blanche. At this stage, news of the director of Get Out being in discussions concerning Akira is the only suggestion that this regularity can be disconfirmed.
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Koda89



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 191
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:16 am Reply with quote
"Not boring" is some of the most damning praise you can give a film, I think.

One would expect good films to not be boring as a default, so having to say it isn't boring as a positive probably means it isn't that good of a film. Laughing
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1171
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:19 am Reply with quote
Also, that twist. What. The. HELL were the screenwriters thinking?????? They are getting shredded over it. Rightfully so to, at it gets more disturbing the more you think about it. I am not exaggerating when I say I now seriously question the personal character of everyone involved in this production. Congratulations, Arise, you are no longer the worst thing to come out of the GitS franchise. For as offensively stupid as you were you never reached levels of disgusting.

Last edited by AiddonValentine on Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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FLCLGainax



Joined: 10 May 2010
Posts: 329
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:31 am Reply with quote
Does the original manga get referenced at all in this new movie? Sounds like the incidental bits of comedy Shirow had could have helped lighten the mood.

Last edited by FLCLGainax on Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:42 am; edited 2 times in total
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samuelp



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1941
Location: Tokyo, Japan
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:32 am Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:
Also, that twist. What. The. HELL were the screenwriters thinking?????? They are getting shredded over it. Rightfully so to, at it gets more disturbing the more you think about it. I am not exaggerating when I say I now seriously question the personal character of everyone involved in this production.


The film opens in Japan here in another week or so. I'm very curious what the reaction in the theater will be to that twist (which I got spoiled about but meh...) here in Japan. Maybe I'll see the dubbed version instead of subtitled in the theaters (it has the original voices dubbing it.)
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:36 am Reply with quote
There are worse things in the world than a full-body cyborg being portrayed by a caucasian instead of asian; as Mamoru Oshii points out in an interview even Makoto's name is not her original one. Oshii approved the casting and heaped praise on ScarJo, and the Japanese public didn't mind the casting (according to vox pox videos). I wish people would calm down about the whole racial thing and just judge the movie on its own merits.

I saw it tonight and found the film to be competently made, beautifully shot, pleasingly scored, and overall a reasonably enjoyable flick that was worth seeing. It did crib a lot from the rest of the franchise but I consider that to be more of a homage thing than because of a lack of ideas. I didn't expect this live action production to be on par with the 1995 film, I just wanted something that was better than Innocence and thankfully I got it.
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Beatdigga



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
Posts: 2136
Location: Here!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:47 am Reply with quote
While it looks nice, I have seen this script before. And I liked it back then a lot more. You probably remember it.

It was called Robocop.

GITS is many thing, but Robocop is not one of them. Not to mention, nearly all the Robocop clones made by Hollywood completely miss the satirical edge of the original, a satire of rampant capitalism and crime that would lead to something like Robocop being created. This dull, dry clone lacks all of that.
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gwdone



Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 270
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:52 am Reply with quote
I had no problem enjoying the movie last night. I guess the strangest thing for me was me. My emotions sort of went in a - my life is flashing before my eyes type - direction simply from the fact that this is really where anime started for me back in the 90's. During the ending credits it hit me that it's been that long ago and still everything that's put out is not only respectable, but a reminder that the great catalog of Ghost in the Shell still very much works for me. ESPECIALLY INNOCENCE.

I never see much of anything hollywood puts out, so this was a treat to see. I enjoyed the 3D for sure. The atmospheres offered some nice visual freshness. And for me it had plenty of classic scenes to carry it along. Well worth my time and money. Just give it an open mind and it should deliver. Weta Workshop did a great job. And yeah, I'm sure I could do side by side comparisons and rip it apart, but what's the use in that? I cleaned my mental slate and went in fresh knowing things would be different. That's just the way it's done in H land for most movies, so why expect this to be any different?

I'd rather this movie to exist than not. I hope people who don't know anime will get curious, investigate, and be pleased that there is a whole different world of entertainment to choose from other than what's spoon fed to the masses.
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Key
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Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 14722
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:36 am Reply with quote
The one thing that I didn't like about the movie was that it de-emphasized the Major's role as an elite-level hacker. Otherwise I found it to be a generally satisfying movie that was a reasonable balance of being easily accessible to newcomers and throwing lots of bones to established franchise fans. (For instance, did anyone else who has seen the movie catch that they used the opening music from the anime version during the end credits?)

And while I also at first looked askance at the casting choice for the lead role, I didn't have much of a problem with it in execution.. I also thought the movie made a subtle dig at complaints about "whitewashing" with its major plot twist. That struck me as rather clever, actually. Frankly, there's nothing specifically Japanese about the Major other than her name, so her actual race is inconsequential to the story.

Also, amusing observation: buried deep in the credits list was a minor artist named William Gibson.
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 427
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:00 am Reply with quote
So the new movie is heavy on visual flair, light on substance? I don't mind at all; the reason i enjoyed the 1995 version was because of the outstanding animation and beautiful visual designs, not because of the navel-gazing philosophical pontification or the messy, hard to follow plot. I'll go see the film and judge its quality on its own merits.
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Topgunguy



Joined: 08 Dec 2015
Posts: 253
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:34 am Reply with quote
From an ethical standpoint, I'm still not watching this movie even if it was considered good.
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gwdone



Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 270
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:35 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
I also thought the movie made a subtle dig at complaints about "whitewashing" with its major plot twist. That struck me as rather clever, actually. Frankly, there's nothing specifically Japanese about the Major other than her name, so her actual race is inconsequential to the story.


I totally agree there. "whitewashing" is another one of those new buzz words people use to induce vomiting. Interesting no one every uses the term "blackwashing" of course that would be a preconditioned societal "no-no"
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