I finally saw the live action Ghost in the Shell and it sucked big time. Although the acting was really good, it was wasted on the mediocre script/adaptation. I knew I was going into watching it with the bias of having seen the Anime about six or seven times as well as the after series: Stand Alone Complex three or four times. I really like the Anime and the series. What can I say.
I also saw a critique of the visual elements of both the anime and the live action film and quite agree with it’s analysis: The anime was appropriately colorful but not gaudy or overwrought unlike the L.A.film. The cityscape in the anime was shabby and “believable” and the advertising elements fit the scape without overwhelming it. In the L.A. film the oversized digital animatronic statuary was grossly overstated and detracted heavily from the action and plot dialogue. There were some pretty/nice design elements in the L.A. film such as the geisha robots and the multiple digit typist hands but other than that it was rather boring – the film became overwrought with “exciting” elements trying to impress us with this cyberpunk future, “Ooooh Ooooh, spooky!” The sets of this L.A. film felt more like they belonged in a live action rendition of William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy: Neuromancer/ Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive rather than Ghost in the Shell.
At least the “white wash” element was explained and made some banal sense. It was made worse by the very stupidly American need for having a central “bad guy” to pin all this on and down play the real and more relevant issues of AI evolution and cyber enhancement i.e. where does the robotic/cyborg leave off and the human remain and/or is there a real difference? In the original GitS the Major joins with the “terrorist” AI and together they create the next evolutionary step. What also wasn’t explained in this hackneyed remake was the how the Major became THE Major – the original plot was after an accident while the Major served in the militarized police force prior to her being “recruited” by Section 9.
Most of other supporting cast were well done even though we didn’t get to know the one who wasn’t really enhanced AND how Bato got his new eyes due to a battle while he was in the military NOT while serving with Section 9. Yeah, I’m being kind of nit-picky now but most of the thoughtful tone of the original was eroded by the irrelevant details in the L.A. remake.
I bought this movie online and I doubt I will revisit very often but I hope William Gibson will finally get his series made. I also would like to see a good adaptation of Cowboy Beebop – the CGI is mature enough but we have to cross our fingers that the writing will be too. We can only hope.