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!