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GHOST IN THE SHELL, a controversial remake


One of the most controversial graphic novel adaptation of the year has made its way into the cinema. Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt and a few others try to keep the 90s anime classic alive, but according to many press folks out there, they fail.

"ow do you improve on one of the greatest anime films ever made? The groundbreaking 1995 original Ghost in the Shell, directed by Mamoru Oshii and based on a manga series by Masamune Shirow, was a masterpiece. Its influence was far-reaching – most notably on The Matrix. But Ghost in the Shell was a challenging watch. For every shot of a generously breasted naked cyborg plummeting from the top of a building, there was a scene in which characters grappled with knotty philosophical questions. What is the nature of identity when the brain is souped up with cyber-implants and the soul is reduced to a series of electrical impulses? (Incidentally, the question of why a cyborg would need a gigantic pair of knockers in the first place was left unanswered.)" (The Guardian)


"If the "ghost" of anime classic Ghost in the Shell refers to the soul looming inside of its killer female cyborg, then this live-action reboot from director Rupert Sanders really only leaves us the shell: a heavily computer-generated enterprise with more body than brains, more visuals than ideas, as if the original movie’s hard drive had been wiped clean of all that was dark, poetic and mystifying.

Not that it’s easy to follow in the footsteps of Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 Japanimation masterpiece, which remains a cornerstone of the genre and sits somewhere between Blade Runner and The Matrix, but Sanders and his team have clearly opted for a sleek, watered-down version that eschews much of the first film’s A.I. existentialism for a futuristic shooter that never digs deep enough. Abetted by a few cool set-pieces and a gun-toting Scarlett Johansson, this Paramount release will see strong box-office returns before disappearing from most of our minds." (Hollywood Reporter)


Illustration by Sébastien Plassard / via New Yorker

"When Ghost in the Shell reached theaters in 1995, it was one of the sci-fi film genre's only iconic combinations of high-action setpieces and "how tech influences our lives" plots. That, of course, changed once The Matrix entered the film lexicon, but Ghost in the Shell really nailed it first—and as an anime, it never quite reached the heights of popularity it deserved.

A live-action reboot seems like a solid way to right that wrong, and the film's decades-old template still feels topical: humans toy with robotic upgrades; governments and major companies embrace the robotic future a little too much and get burnt as a result; characters mull the impact of how life is changed by a fully connected world. But this live-action reboot doesn't just miss the subtle interactions, buried beneath the basic-plot surface, that made the original such a remarkable film. It also nukes the entire plot structure." (Ars Technica)

"Oshii’s movie was, like its protagonist, a hybrid. The firefights and chase sequences made way for unhurried ruminations on the malleable fate of the self. No surprise, perhaps, since the title echoes “the ghost in the machine,” a phrase deployed by Gilbert Ryle, the British philosopher, to cast aspersions on Cartesian dualism. The idea of Descartes settling down with a tub of Gummy Bears to watch Scarlett Johansson is certainly appealing, and he might well approve of the new film, which is modelled—sometimes shot for shot—on the 1995 version, and which proposes that minds can indeed be popped in and out of bodies like batteries in a flashlight. Sadly, as the plot proceeds, Sanders begins to duck these bothersome concepts. He picks a more sentimental path, which leads Major, following the example of Jason Bourne, on a quest to discover who she truly is. [...] Here’s an irony: if anything preserves the unnerving quiddity and strangeness of the Japanese movie, it is Johansson. Major slots into other recent roles of hers, in “Under the Skin,” “Lucy,” and “Her,” to create a buzz of impatience with the merely human. Lay aside racial identities for a second: think alternative species, digital personalities, and robots—otherness of the most radical variety. Such is the zone that Johansson patrols, and nothing is more haunting, in “Ghost in the Shell,” than the scene in which she picks up a woman—tall, black, and stately—on the street, and takes her home. Each is unsure whether the other is false flesh or the real thing. “What are you?” the woman asks. That is the question." (New Yorker)

Check out the trailer below.

Tags:   news, sci-fi, trailer, film news, Ghost in the Shell

Related:   Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell



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