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QUICK REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Howdy ladies and gents, I’m back for another film review and today I’ll be talking about the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. Now I had been apprehensive about this film for a while now, and I’m sure a good number of people across the world have been too. This western adaptation of the original manga and anime film from 1995 is one of the most talked about and respected films in the eyes of a lot of critics and film fans, so remaking it was always going to be uphill battle. Now I know there’s been a lot of talk about the white-washing of the main character and I don’t want to get into that, the main reason I wasn’t keen on this film was because of the director, not only because I didn’t think he was the right man for the job, but also because of his foolish adulterous actions in the past. But yeah that shouldn’t come into play when we’re talking about this film. So how is Ghost in the Shell? Well read on and find out!

So the story can be summed up as the following:

“Cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander The Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force Section 9 thwart and humiliate criminals, hackers and terrorists. Now, they must face a new enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage Hanka Robotics’ artificial intelligence technology.”

I thought the story had a lot of interesting ideas of about what is to be human, freewill, the future of technology, the pros and cons of being cybernetically enhanced and so on. If you’ve seen any sci-fi film involving robots and technology then a lot of the themes and concepts this film presents will feel familiar, and while this film does do a good job of presenting some of these elements, I don’t think it had the right writers or director necessary to make think and feel on that deeper, dramatic and more emotional level. It is surface level material that’s fine but you’ve seen it done better in other films. For the most part the film was pretty interesting, but it did have a few moments where it really slowed down and some of the information the characters were going on about just didn’t matter to me, it felt like pointless jargon that needed to end quickly. Oh and don’t expect me to do any comparisons to the 1995 film, I haven’t seen in around 9 years and I wasn’t too keen on it, I thought the sequel was much better, so I only noticed some visual similarities but I couldn’t confirm them for sure.

As for the cast I thought they were fine, though only a handful of them stood out. Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian was fine, she handled her material the best she could, at times I felt like she was getting into that Lucy territory where she couldn’t express any emotion because of the nature character, but for the most part she was fine. Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki was pretty cool, Kitano has a nice screen presence and I loved his tone of speaking and how imposing he was, but I feel like he was a little wasted in this film. Pilou Asbæk as Batou was nice, I enjoyed his performance and Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouélet had some good scenes and interesting scenes with Johansson. Michael Pitt as Hadley Cruz was pretty intriguing and had some of the most captivating material in the film, also seeing Chin Han around as Togusa was fun and he had some nice scenes too and finally Peter Ferdinando as Cutter was just generic and not as engaging as he should have been.

When it comes to the presentation it was easily the best part of the film. From a visual standpoint the film was great, the world that the special effects team created for this film was clearly inspired by not only the original film but also Blade Runner, it is colourful, large in scale, layered with all sorts of details from the design of the robotic humans, to the various holograms dotted all over the city. It was all very impressive and pretty to look at. The action scenes were fine, some stood out more so than others, but I feel like the creativity went the visual style of the film and wasn’t applied to fight scenes which felt a little bland and lacking in creativity, oh and some of those uses of slow motion were unnecessary too. The film score from Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe had some interesting moments especially when there started tapping into the otherworldly nature of the original film’s music, but overall it was decent.

In the end Ghost in the Shell was alright, as someone who wasn’t expecting much it ended up being better than I anticipated. Now I’m not saying the film is great, but it wasn’t total rubbish either. I enjoyed some of the action, the visuals were pretty cool and some of the themes were intriguing, but in the end it didn’t have the depth and direction necessary to make it anything more than just an okay film.

So have you seen Ghost in the Shell and if so what did you think of it? And how do you feel it compares to the original? Please drop me your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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The King of the Monsters is back in this Godzilla review!

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and thank you for taking the time to read this review. Today I am going to review one of my most highly anticipated films of 2014, Godzilla. Now we all know who Godzilla is and the incredible presence he has in the world of pop culture, but outside of the franchise fan base he’s not that well-known. We had one attempt to bring Godzilla to life with the 1998’s Godzilla and we all saw how that one turned out (shit basically). So there has been some apprehension about there being another western adaptation being made, but all the trailers and interviews has suggested that this will be a different and better instalment. So how has Godzilla (2014) fared? Well read on and find out!

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So the story goes something like this:

“The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.”

The story for the most part is very interesting, there’s a nice balance between the humans and monsters and while it is primarily about the humans and their means of uncovering the truth behind these monsters and how to defeat them, at the same time there is a lot of monster fun to enjoy too. While the story doesn’t reach the emotional, traumatic and melancholy levels of the 1954 original, this film is the first attempt in a while to create a serious story that harkens back to the earlier films and has a balance between the  humans and monster madness. The main problem is that human side of the story doesn’t hold up as well, while it starts off fairly promising in the 30 minutes, after a certain event in Japan, things really start to drift, drag and become not nearly as enticing as one would have hoped for and I wish the scriptwriters had written better material or used the older films as reference instead.

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As for the cast they’re pretty good and their characters are pretty nice even if the actors talents aren’t used to the fullest. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the main hero of the film and as Lieutenant Ford Brody I thought he was pretty good, he was heroic, courageous and had a nice presence throughout the film. Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ichiro Serizawa was really interesting as this scientist that knew the history of Godzilla and the nature of the monsters, and I really liked Watanabe but then I like him in anything because he’s awesome. Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody was nice, this is my first Elizabeth Olsen film and I thought she did well given the material she had to work with, she and Johnson had good chemistry together and I thought they had one of the better human elements about the film. And then of course there is Bryan Cranston, Heisenberg himself as Joe Brody, and I loved him in the film. Just liked in Breaking Bad this guy brings the intensity and badassery of his acting from TV to film in a way not many actors can. Unfortunately there wasn’t nearly as much Cranston in the film as I would have liked, there can never be enough of that man in anything.

Juliette Binoche as Sandra “Sandy” Brody, Ford’s mother, a nuclear regulations consultant at the Janjira nuclear plant. Sally Hawkins as Dr. Vivienne Graham, a scientist who works along with Serizawa was pretty cool and I didn’t expect her character to have as much screen time as she did but she was interesting. Juliette Binoche was nice as Sandra “Sandy” Brody however she was severely under-used. David Strathairn as Admiral William Stenz was good and enjoyed his role in the film but wasn’t used nearly as much I would liked because I really like the guy. Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody, Ford’s father, a nuclear physicist and former engineer at the Janjira nuclear plant.

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When it comes to presentation it is incredible. Visually the film is incredible, there is some beautiful cinematography, wonderful locations and an interesting use of colour too. But it is the CGI that is truly worth talking about. The way the visual effects artists have brought these monsters to life is very well done, all of them look cool and very detailed, but most importantly Godzilla was done SO well. The dude is BEASTLY! He’s huge in scale, totally badass and happens to have such an awesome presence on-screen. He is just a fanboy dream come to life. I guess the only disappointing aspect of Godzilla in the presentation department is that there should have been more monster fighting and Godzilla, however I’d rather have Godzilla in small amounts and be good, than in large amounts and be pants. As for the soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat I thought it was very interesting, it was moody and had several moments of awesomeness that stood from beginning to end.

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In conclusion Godzilla is honestly as good as I had hoped and then some, it takes the source material and reinvented things but still keeps a lot of the pure nostalgic elements intact. For me I haven’t geeked out and felt so much joy since Captain America: The Winter Soldier and this is definitely one of my favourite films of 2014. There could have been more Godzilla and Bryan Cranston, however for me this film was total satisfaction on a level that I don’t get that often. Anyone who wishes to argue against me comment below and fight you with words!

Rating: 8.5/10 (Pure fanboy fun)

So what did you think of Godzilla? Have you seen it or are you gonna watch it? And for the Godzilla fans out there, did you like this version and how do you think it fared when compared to the previous Toho films? Whatever your thoughts, be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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