Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Movies: Ghost In The Shell - A Defense

(Drivebycuriosity) - It looks like the science fiction movie "Ghost In The Shell" is a flop.  In the first week the film grossed in the US just $24 million against a production budget of $110 million (imdb). According to Wikipedia and other sources the disappointing box office result might have been caused by negative reviews.  I enjoyed the movie and I believe that "Ghost" is underrated. So I had to write a defense.

The movie is based on a Japanese manga and is a remake of an animated Japanese film from 1995.  The first movie became a cult, so every halfwit can now claim that the original film was more thought provoking. What are books for?

"Ghost" is set in the near future where the line between humans and robots is becoming blurred, the plot follows a woman who has her brain placed in a cyborg body to become the perfect soldier, and who yearns to learn of her past (I borrowed this description from Wikipedia because its perfect. You can find a synopsis there wikipedia ).

A film is a film and can never be a perfect substitute for a book. Director Rupert Sanders and the producers did not intend to present a scientific & philosophic study. Instead they aimed to create a solid science fiction action movie. I think they were successful and delivered a remarkable visual experience. I watched the film in IMAX 3D and indulged into its amazing aesthetics. They created stunning visions and pictures full of magic.  The producers rendered Hong Kong`s real skyline and its ultra-dense districts into a fascinating cosmopolitan city of the future. (The dismissive reviewers didn`t care much about the visuals, they rather seem to prefer writing book reviews without bothering to read a book). There were of course strong influences by "Blade Runner", "Metropolis" and many other movies - a part of the evolution of the movie genre.

I was entertained by the plot, cared about its characters and I think that many ideas are more or less plausible. "Ghost" touches a lot of topics which may soon be relevant for our lives: How technology will be integrated with the human body (cyborgs), robots, hacking, high-tech weapons and more.

The pharisees complained that casting Scarlett Johansson in the leading role was inappropriate and  #whitewashing". This is bullshit. "Ghost" is not an Asian movie. Cyborgs, hacking, military-industrial connections are global issues and the plot happens in a cosmopolitan setting. Scarlett Johansson has shown in other roles - as "Lucy", a super weapon in a female body, and as an alien in  "Under the Skin" - that she is the perfect cast for a weaponized cyborg. And she is one of the most beautiful & versatile actresses of today.

I also enjoyed watching Juliette Binoche - God forbid, another "white" actress - as a scientist and cyborg developer, and Takeshi Kitano, finally a "real" Japanese, as "Johansson`s" boss.

The film may have flopped because the plot is much more plausible and more adult then the usual so-called science fiction flick (Star Wars etc). The adolescent reviewers & audience may have disliked that the plot focuses on two strong female characters and they might have missed the usual buddy erotics you can usually expect in an action movie.

If you are in science fiction, ignore the hypocrite critics, go watch "Ghost in the Shell"!

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