Ghost in the Shell Film
Yes, this has been much anticipated!
This film has been on more than one person’s radar for a while. It seems to appeal to a wide, demographic base, upon my “Woman in the Field” conversations with everyday people.
- Brandon, who says that he grew up with this character, and saw the Anime series, but not any of the Animated films. He’s going to be seeing it at the 16-plex.
- Various Aunties and Uncles, who were forming a line at 930am, plunking down their hard-earned money at Friday’s opening. Wow, I’ve never seen the Box Office so busy for a Friday 10am show! In fact, my Ticket Greeter was kind of freaked out that I was early for my MovieTimes. (In the words of Patrick Stewart, “Don’t be late for cinema.)
- A visitor from California, who was exiting the first matinee showing from the ATMOS Luxe theatre, as I was going in, said he wasn’t familiar with any of the Anime portion, “thought it was a good movie, and he would give it a B-minus.” He says he’s more into Independent Film titles, which is shown at the 8-plex. My film recommendation to him was The Devotion of Suspect X, which I had viewed on Screen #3, and was transitioning to Screen #10’s Ghost in the Shell.
- Older cousin, who was about to be seated for the 3D+ showing of Ghost in the Shell. When I say 3D+, this is the 3D Dolby Digital ATMOS Luxe. I found myself not giving away spoilers to him!
So if any representatives from Dreamworks SKG or Paramount Pictures are reading this column, these are actual testimonials.
Behind the Scenes Featurette
My Overall rating
I thought the filmmakers did a good job of translating the Graphic Novel onto the Big Screen, for mainstream audiences to enjoy an adaptation of Shirow Masamune’s work. Yes, the Major is not played by a Japanese actress, although I had no problems with Scarlett Johansson in this role. In fact, I don’t think there was another actress who could have pulled it off as successfully as she did.
- Margot Robbie was considered for this role; you might remember her as Harley Quinn, from last summer’s Suicide Squad. Coincidentally, one of the movie trailers before Ghost in the Shell will feature Margot: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (tentatively scheduled for 7-21-17 theatrical US release), which is a GN, too.
While reading The Ghost in the Shell Volume 1 (a Mature Graphic Novel), not only did I find myself taking notes, I found I really liked the character of Batou. For his one-liners, general attitude and his relationship with the Major. On-screen, actor Pilou Asbaek plays Batou.
Actor Matthias Schoenaerts was also considered for this role.
The character of Hideo Kuze was played by Michael Carmen Pitt, although Sam Riley was in negotiated talks for the role.
- Having a great film face, Michael’s scenes were really good. Being draped in a cloaked hoodie made the character more convincing. His pivotal scene with the Major was also well acted, as was the Final scene.
GN to Film Translation
Okay, you knew it was coming! But, I give it to you straight-up (If you’ve been following my Hubs, you already knew I was a Bartender).
The character Major Motoko Kusunagi has been renamed as Major Mira Killian, for several reasons:
- Broader audience appeal, if you can judge a character by her name.
- For the film story, Mira is her current ghost, but she used to be Motoko (a former ghost in the current shell).
- Her connection with Hideo Kuze, the film version’s hacker, is a backstory to this film. In the Final Scene, this relationship is definitely confirmed. “You will see me again, as I’m a part of you.”
- There is no appearance of The Puppeteer. Yet.
All characters from Section 9 were present in the film. So, yes, not only is the Major present, there’s Batou, Saito, Ishikawa and Boma. There is another female member, Ladriya, and Han (Togusa equivalent).
Aramaki was even better than I could have imagined. He gets in on the action! And you thought ‘ole ApeFace was only an old man, huh?
- Actor Takeshi Kitano really K.A.’s in a modern style, akin to the “Old Western” and a byte of Seven Samurai where The Old Man uses his sword once to kill the Marauders, who are pillaging the village. (yes, that was an intended typo, after all, these are Cyborgs we’re dealing with)
The President of Hanka Precision Instruments as this film’s Antagonist, called Mr. Cutter. (gee, how appropriate!) His scenes are pretty good, for being the Main Bad Guy, he’s got some cybernetic moves!
The screenplay and source material was based from Arthur Koestler’s philosophical concept called “Ghost in the Machine.”
For the true Otakus
If you’re looking for a direct Graphic Novel to Film version, this is not the film to watch. I could tell that several GN scenes were edited out from the Theatrical release:
- When the Major solicits a Human prostitute from the street corner, and taking her back to her apartment, and peeling her mask off, while touching her lips and undereye area. Based on seeing the Red Band Trailer (shown in Titan XC Dolby ATMOS theatre a few months ago). This scene was cut short, and The Kiss between Women was not shown in the Final Theatrical version. Possibly too controversial, as the initial Costume release of Scarlett Johansson caused an upheaval in the Asian community.
- If all of the GN action scenes were to be filmed, there would probably have been more to clean up on-set.
- Conversely, most of the essential Action scenes were captured, as well as some of the Lingo.
- The Cyberpunk idea and societal themes were definitely well captured.
- I’m not sure if there will be a Director’s Cut of this film, as there had been with Blade Runner, as the Ending is left open-ended.
Y’all, I will pose these questions during my webinar with Jason Roberts, the Second Assistant Director for this film, on the weekend of April 8th and 15th, space still permitting. And I will find out answers as best as I can!
On a positive note: If you’re able to get a Japanese version of the current film, there are three original actors from Ghost in the Shell, return as Voice actors in this film’s dubbed version. They are Atsuko Tanaka (the Major), Akio Ôtsuka (Batou) and Kôichi Yamadera (Togusa).
Rila Fukushima is the actress, who was behind the Red-Robed Geisha.
- Speaking of… the Secret Meeting scene, the Geisha’s were real; full-on masks worn by the actors and extras, and not CGI’d! Weta Workshop in New Zealand created the Geisha masks, in the style of Rila Fukushima. Whom you might remember from The Wolverine, where she played the sword-wielding sister, and Wolverine’s guardian-sidekick. What made the scene great was, literally, the explosion of the mask by the Major’s gun.
- Talk about having an on-set Medic. And a serious Armory.
Some BG info
Initially, Touchstone Pictures was involved in the project, but when their contract ended with Dreamworks SKG, then Paramount Pictures picked up the theatrical distribution rights. Paramount is handling distribution in UK, USA and non-USA markets.
Please see my table below for specific distribution by country, so you, too can view the movie when it debuts in your area of the world.
Country of distribution
United International Pictures (UIP)
Greece, Indonesia, Norway, Singapore, Netherlands
Finland - all media -
USA, UK, and non-USA
Aloha to my friend Josh, for composing a new Coca-Cola jingle. This one features a Girl-meets-Boy-on-the-Airplane, and wants to return to the Coca- Cola World by the end of the 0:30 commercial spot.
Kokua to the 16-plex Theatre staff and management for handling the sudden Matinee rush! Hoping the remainder of the Friday was equally busy for them.
Until the next film review, Pam
© 2017 Pam Freeman