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Ghost in the Shell Major 2017 Review Ghost in the Shell Major 2017 Review

Movies/TV

Ghost in the Shell: A Beautiful Film Fans Will Despise

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Ghost in the Shell was finally released to audiences worldwide on Friday March 31st 2017. Fans had long been attacking and shaming the production team as well as Paramount Pictures for taking liberties with the story as well as white washing Major. As fans of the 1995 film there was an immediate buzz within the NerdLifeTX staff when the film was announced. We ferociously devoured any bit of info released to the public on the upcoming feature. But I had been burned before. A long time Aeon Flux fan forced to watch his beloved franchise go up in smoke by a mishandled live action adaptation. Was GITS to see a similar fate? Accompanied by Z3r0Png we made it a priority to see the film on opening day. When the film concluded we recorded a podcast to discuss our initial thoughts. Is Ghost in the Shell a complete failure?

Our Initial Dive

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They Aren’t Like You

Ghost in the Shell is a beautifully made film. The aesthetic borrows heavily from both SAC as well as the 95 version. Fans will instantly recognize scenes, scenarios, and heavy handed visual nods to GITS ancestry. The cityscapes are alive with motion and sound. Everything feels chilled and the use of cold green and blue hues give the sensation of a chilly rainy day. The city we see in Ghost in the Shell is most reminiscent of the 1995 film version of the city. Several large 3D projections can be seen advertising all sorts of products which helps to give the city more depth. The soundtrack is an incredible mix of light electronic mixed with tracks by Kenji Kawai. This film has a unique style of folding bits of the source material in with a more updated and styled version of itself.

I Am Major Mira Killian and I give my consent…

The elephant in the room since the beginning has been the selection of Scarlett Johansson as the iconic Major. Fans were frustrated that their beloved Major would be portrayed by anyone who wasn’t of Asian heritage. Ghost in the Shell handles her character in a new and unique way that stands out against the backdrop of the pre-existing GITS universe. Portraying this new version of the Major, Johansson’s abilities as an actress shine through. She is forced to walk a line between cold and calculating cyborg soldier and fighting demons from her past that continue to plague her psyche. ScarJo manages to tame her emotional reactions and mimic a perfectly broken lifeform that struggles with what it is to be alive. Ghost in the Shell predecessors have a long history of similar battles. Johansson’s Major is very much original to the series with deep roots in GITS past.

Major wasn’t the only character that found a recast in the new GITS universe. All of Section 9 underwent a similar treatment. Receiving an updated look including changing the ethnicity of several characters. With the exception of Batou and Aramaki, Section 9 gets little screen time leaving their appearances around 5 or so total minutes. Aramaki, portrayed by Takeshi Kitano is brilliant, strong, and intelligent. Pilou Asbæk’s Batou shines as a spot on representation of who Batou is. Although cold, his emotions shine through for the well being of his team and his job. Asbæk stays true to Batous roots and will feel familiar to fans of the series. Michael Pitt’s Kuze falls in line as a beautifully orchestrated villain. Well portrayed as a distraught and highly memorable mirror image of the Major.

Ghost in the Shell 2017 Kuze meets Major

…next time you can design me better…

The story portrayed in Ghost in the Shell is exactly like the visual style and character design, all its own while remaining familiar. The film is more of a love letter to the franchise than it is a reboot or a retcon. Creators pulled stories that spanned the immense universe and adapted portions of character development to make them fit. Fan frustration will spawn from these changes needed to make the universe cohesive. However, respect is shown to the source materials by faithfully recreating some of the most iconic scenes in GITS history. The story is interesting and although I found myself frustrated with the first half hour I grew to love the new Major. Weaving in relationships and connections between characters helped shine new light on old favorites.

Fandom is an immensely personal thing. When you find a comic, film, or book you identify with it becomes a sacred thing. The anger towards Ghost in the Shell is understood but unwarranted. The film is beautiful and competently made. Using stories from across the franchise to breath life into the film was tremendous undertaking. Ghost in the Shell feels like a film crafted lovingly by fans of the franchise. Fans who put their favorite stories into a new timeline and made the film they wanted to make. If nothing else this version of Ghost in the Shell is a more accessible and easily consumed version of the GITS lore. Fans of sci-fi or people looking to get into the series could use this version as a great jumping off point.

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