Last night I went to see Ghost in The Shell, which is the film adaptation from the Japanese Manga from the late 90’s created by Masamune Shirow. It later adapted into cult following Anime. And I was waiting patiently after all the controversies, as usual, that stems from the casting of an American actress instead of an Asian one and also let Hollywood do their own version of the manga anime series to look more Americanized for the mainstream public.
But after a few trailers about the film, it finally released on March 31, and the results, were somewhat disappointing primarily on some issues that changed how the movie should be in order to get loyal fans of the series content with the final product. Let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of this film.
Have a Blade Runner Feel
In the film it visualized a futuristic Tokyo from the late 21th Century but the problem started when the futuristic city is fulled with big hologram projectors as billboards and even a shark “swimming” in the city. It’s dark but at the same time it has the brilliance of a normal city. Comparing to Blade Runner, it is somewhat balanced. It’s people are not that noticeable since the movie it only priority is telling the story of Major and his partner Batou. Although there’s some technological advances, it didn’t showed it that much to be immense in the world.
Changes in the Plot
Ghost in the Shell tells the story of Major who is the first of it’s kind to have a cybernetic body and brain as well, the only thing intact is her soul, or ghost, but the problem is part of her memories aren’t there to begin with and that’s why when she encounters the skinny guy, a terrorist who is killing selective individuals, soon she discovers an plot of great proportions that threatens who she believed and trust. Although, there’s the groundbreaking scenes that categorized the manga series, it has a lot of changes that started with the relationship with the Skinny man, and how Batou got his cybernetic eyes. And don’t forget the lack of nudity by Major which it looks like a naked barbie doll. It wasn’t that much but for me it was better to keep it the way it is.
Unnecessary Japanese Dialog
If a movie is based in Japan, doesn’t supposed to have Asian actors in the mix, talk Japanese to be more authentic? Instead, Aramaki, who is the director of Section 9, is the only one who speaks Japanese in the movie. It sounds well, when there’s more than three or four people, but just one person, it seems awkward. If all the characters speak English, maybe perhaps he should do the same. But why only one person speak it’s native tongue which sounds unnecessary and an overkill than something true.
Still the Lack of Asian Actors Baffles Me
Ghost in the Shell, anime film has Asian features in their characters that it’s their trademark to a phenomenon during the late 90’s. In this live version, there’s only a few Asians and the majority are just whites. It’s not only the case since live versions of some anime like the failed Speed Racer and Dragonball: Evolution emphasized on appealing to Mainstream instead of being loyal fans. It becomes a habit that Hollywood brainwashes on international films and their results of their final products can become a fail franchise. There’s a lot of Asian actors, even born in the US to portrait characters that can be in sync with the story. Their biggest mistake Hollywood did as always was hiring Scarlet Johansson to be the main lead, and that’s why it was better the other way around.
Ghost in the Shell could be an immediate success if Hollywood would follow Shirow’s vision, but as always they put big bucks to shut this creator’s mouth and then there you have it, a weak, scattered, boring piece of a movie, that actually didn’t resonate with loyal fans and newcomers to be interested in the series. It was definitely a fail.