To be clear from the get-go, I am writing this for the latest live action movie Ghost in the shell. I saw it in 3D a month ago and I’m still pissed off. This will sound racist at first, but I believe that China is responsible for fucking this movie up. Before you shoot me in the comments, hear me out first.
The original GitS was – and still remains to this day – one of the top 3 Sci-Fi anime movies of all time. It was visually stunning with a deep and complex story, that was not based on violence or the over-the-top-action – something that was implemented in the future by other similar titles. Like Akira before it, this was a thinking man’s movie. A challenge for the audience to contemplate on what defines us as humans. Is it our bodies, our memories, our sensory input, our contact and interaction with our environment and other humans/lifeforms around us…?
Masamune Shirow created a story worthy of P.K.Dick’s dreams, spliced with the newly found vigour of Gibson’s cyberpunk writings – the entire Sprawl trilogy to be precise. Mamoru Oshii gave life to a vision of humans and post-humans living together in a world, where the boundaries between the ultra-high tech life and the misery in dilapidated slums are blurred to a point of being non-existent. Just witness this scene and let it sink in.
This was the movie that gave us The Matrix and opened up the floodgates for a tidal wave of technology/computer related Sci-Fi movies and series, with all the ebbs and tides that accompany such a phenomenon.
The story of the original animated movie took place in Tokyo, the year 2029. Motoko Kusanagi was an enhanced cyborg, working in the government anti-terrorist task force, codenamed Section 9. Through an increasingly complicated story and character ark, we follow her and other members of Section 9 as they are hunting down a notorious international hacker named The Puppet Master.
The major theme here is that of our identity and -in a widder sense- our purpose in life.
The latest version has nothing to do with that.
For starters, it transfers the location from Neo-Tokyo to Shanghai! Now, you will ask “And why is that a bad thing?”… For a story that takes place in the most technologically advanced country on the planet – Japan – to be moved to another country that is almost at the same tech level, that doesn’t sound like a major flaw. However, changing the locale makes ALL the characters seem out of place, their backstories are irellevant, their behaviour, their manierisms, even the goddamn language they use sounds out of place! Oh, and yes, Takeshi Kitano is the ONLY ONE that speaks Japanese! And the rest of the actors actually understand him, but choose to reply in English!! How do you like them apples now…? It makes no sense – besides the obvious one, that Kitano simply did not want to learn English, so the director said “fuck it, we’ll do it mixed!” This change of city was my first indication of a Chinese influence – that, and the 2 names of chinese studios in the opening credits…
In all honesty, I have never felt so cheated out of a movie before – not even from SW:TFA and that was a kick in the balls! The characters in GitS are thinner than rice paper -Araki is portrayed almost as a Yakuza thug- and everything that had to do with meaning and questioning has been replaced with Scarlett Johansson’s ass in mid-air while she’s spraying bullets everywhere. The final part with Motoko taking on the tank and the incredible scene featuring the tree of human evolution – in the original animation – here has been replaced by a guy playing a video game via a JOYSTICK!
Fuck this movie, fuck everyone involved with it and fuck everyone who says that it’s a visual masterpiece. Go watch Avatar and then gouge out your eyes. That one was also called a visual masterpiece.