Last night we went to watch Ghost in the Shell after a fun Fresnerd birthday bash! We even managed to get the VIP treatment at the theater!
But on to the review!
Jaime's Thoughts - I've seen a lot of stuff saying this movie is bad (45% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this morning), and I don't get that. Was this movie great? No. Was it bad? Definitely not. Let's start with the visuals. As this movie got started, showing us the city, it reminded me of the first time seeing The Fifth Element. This huge overcrowded city is sprawling out before us, filled with towering skyscrapers. You can picture this as a future (maybe dystopian) society.
Continuing on with the visuals, this movie is full of CGI but there were only a couple of scenes where I was thinking "Oh, this is definitely CGI." While clearly people aren't turning invisible for real, the graphics were done in a seamless fashion.
There were a few elements in this movie that reminded me of some great things I've seen recently. First, everyone is this world has enhancements. Surgical implants or upgrades implanted in their bodies reminded me of Black Mirror. A running theme in that TV series is the implants in the eyes, and the ability to rewind and re-watch memories. Although this didn't happen in Ghost in the Shell the idea is similar. The second is Ex Machina. While Ghost in the Shell is not on that same level, there are still elements about what makes us human. In Ex Machina there is a lot of discussion about when you cross from AI to human. In Ghost in the Shell Major still has her brain and her soul, but she is all robot. There are themes around what it is that truly make us human throughout this.
Overall, I'm giving this one a B. It's good and worth seeing.
Carlos' Thoughts - I pretty much agree with Jaime as well. I think the critics have been way too hard on this movie and I really enjoyed it.
I'm a massive fan of the original 1995 anime movie. I think it's a masterpiece (Fresnerd A+) and it's well known how influential it has been for cinema (The Matrix being the most famous case). Thus, I was very excited to see the live action adaptation of this iconic animation.
First off this is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. The production team should be extremely proud of what they've accomplished. The visuals and set designs are astounding. I'm not just talking quality, but more importantly direction. The imagery, cinematography, and scenery captured the feel and style of this unique world as portrayed in the original anime. In my opinion this is on par with what Blade Runner accomplished in the 80's both in terms of quality and technique.
The biggest weakness for the movie is the plot. I think most people would agree that the plot of the original, while groundbreaking, can be very dense. So it made sense to me that for a movie being targeted for a popular wide release, the choice was made to lighten the material. Unfortunately, this wasn't executed quite that well. The story line was altered to focus more on chasing the villain, yet (without going into spoilers) the antagonist forces were poorly developed. More backstory was added for the protagonist, yet little heart was woven in. Lastly, the final act felt very flat; which is a shame because the finale of the original is such a peak of both themes and action. That being said, the strong existential themes of the original are still there, just in lower doses.
Now do those faults make the movie as bad as what the critics are saying? I definitely don't think so. This is a gorgeous, stylistic film with good acting, and decent action, even if the plot isn't quite as engaging as it could have been.
I agree Jaime, Ghost in the Shell is good and worth seeing, a solid B!
Julia's Thoughts - While I have never fully watched the original anime I respected the movie industry for trying to make this into a live action film without completely butchering it (cough cough...Avatar the Last Airbender ). I think that even though it was not 100% true to the original story, which was needed to fit the whole plot into the movie, it still did a good job of introducing the characters and making them seem relatable in some way. Like everyone else I was amazed with the visuals, and how seamlessly they blended with the movie.
The only thing I can fault the movie for is being kind of boring plot-wise. The movie felt like it was just rushing through all of the story just to get to the interesting parts. In the end the movie left me feeling like there was just to much left out, and it felt like i had just watched a really long pilot episode of a series (who knows...maybe that was the point).
I won't be going back to watch this movie any time soon, but i'm definetly glad I saw it. (My Score: B)