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Ghost In The Shell (2017) - SPOILER discussion

So, reviews are out for the new Ghost in the Shell, and they seem reasonably positive, although occasionally a little mixed.

Looking forward to seeing it tomorrow. Given the interest in the movie here, I thought it was worth its own thread.


I might go see it tomorrow. It’s something I’m interested in, but it’s not like I have enormous expectations.

I’d like to be surprised though.


I really want to see this.

The visuals are incredible from what I’ve seen in the trailers, which may get me past an iffy plot.

If I’m feeling better by the weekend I’m going to try nip out to the local cinema for a couple hours and catch it.


I dunno, I went to see both the original movies in the cinema, and while I’ll probably check it out eventually, I’ve no burning desire to go see this right away. Good reviews are heartening though


I saw this last night and enjoyed it quite a bit, although I don’t think it’s going to go down as a classic or anything. The visuals are probably its strongest point: it succeeds in creating a believable, textured alternate world without making it the focus too much - there are one or two sweeping shots of the city, but it mostly comes through in the great background and incidental detail.

The story itself is fine. I can see why people are calling it a ‘remix’ of the original animated film in particular, as it tells its own story but still lifts a lot of its setpieces from that movie. I was interested right through to the end, and didn’t always know where things were going.

SJ is pretty good - her slightly blank performance actually works well for the character - and she looks impressive in her action scenes, with her ‘nude’ body-costume working well to emphasise her inhuman nature without feeling needlessly titillating.

Most of all though it’s the visual flourishes and designs that lift this movie a bit above the average. The story never really goes anywhere daring or feels like it really has time to explore the philosophical ideas of GITS, but it’s a decent enough conventional-actioner take on the concept.


I just saw it and I have to say it’s far far far better than it has any right to be.

For fans of the series this borrows far more liberally from the TV series and first movie then the manga (sort of like the TMNT films, I guess) and it’s definitely not a straight up adaptation of the Individual Eleven storyline. Also, Section 9 aren’t really in it outside Aramaki and Batou (who are both, I have to say, really really good).

Some of the script is a bit clunky and I thought making Hanka Robotics such a big part seemed to come from a more western “anti-corporation” bent then from anything in the actual series. I would say this is the films major downside because The villains in both the films and TV series are generally quite inspired, so I felt like they should have been more ambitious on this front.

The Mira Killian / Motoko Kusanagi twist was very welcome, and I more ore less knew this would be an origin film but I still didn’t see that coming until it did. It’s actually a very good origin for the character, despite Major’s origin only being very loosely referenced in other media, but it never really feels like it’s an origin that does a huge disservice to the character in anyway.

Visuals are brilliant. It’s the type of stuff the Wachowskis would get up to if they were still making films like The Matrix.

The general GITS existentialism is touched on here, but not in any hugely profound way. It was good to see it not ignored though.

Action sequences are brilliant and I think this film should cement Johannsen as one of the top action stars in the world -m male or female. The opening sequence, I think is the films best and I’ll admit to feeling like they should have done a bit more with the tank sequence in the climax, which also annoyed me as it was piloted by Cutter to make him so obviously the villain . These are all fairly permissible complaints though, and as I said at the start: this is a far, far, far better film then it really has any right to be.

EDIT: I should also point out that I saw this in a cinema which seemed to be filled with lots of different people - young, old and very old, guys, girls, nerds and not. I doubt everyone there was a fan or even knew about the franchise but there was a lot of satisfied noises when the credits started to roll. I didn’t hear one disgruntled or sarcastic comment at all, which is rare for movie-going experiences near me.


I did feel as though Cutter was a bit of a cookie-cutter villain. I don’t think we ever got a really strong sense of his motivations, which made him a bit difficult to really care about.

Still, the scene in which he got his comeuppance was satisfying, although largely because Beat Takeshi was so good (as he was throughout the movie).


Also, I’m not familiar with the TV series - which parts of the story were lifted from that? I’d be interested to know how much (if any) was original.

Cutter was the worse thing about the film by a long-shot.

I thought all the other characters were pretty good, especially Juliette Binoche.

The film gave a fairly faithful rendition of Hideo Kuze, which was nice to see, but without the Individual Eleven storyline that brings him into play in the TV series, his whole motivation is pretty boring. I think, because of that, Cutter needs to pick up the slack as the threat and it seems a bit half-assed. I’d bet he was a character added in a rewrite.


Yeah, Binoche was good.


Kuze is the main antagonist in a plotline called “The Individual Eleven” which is the second series of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series.

He’s mostly portrayed the same. He’s linked to Major because he was her childhood friend who died in a plane accident and part of the same experiment that made her cyber-enhanced, but his experiment wasn’t completed like hers was and it left him with a body but a porcelain face. The general visual portrayal of him in the film, by Michael Pitt, is more or less accurate aside from the face . So there’s a lot about that character that they do get right.

The story in the TV show is about a virus that gets into cyber-enhanced people (via a downloaded political manifesto) and forces them to commit suicide. The broad-strokes motivation for this is to incite anarchy / political revolution; although there are other elements to it that are more related to encouraging cyber-enhanced people to “ascend” to the network to avoid the chaos of the real-world .

It’s that type of plot that works in long-form story-telling as a TV show but would be hugely convoluted if it was compressed into a film, I think.


Thanks for the info. Seems like a lot of the plot came from the TV series then.

I didn’t know Pitt was in it ahead of time, so it was a nice surprise when he turned up (I enjoyed him in Boardwalk Empire and Hannibal). He was pretty good I think - although his glitching occasionally veered into Max Headroom territory.

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I knew Pitt was in it and who he was playing, because I’ve been keeping tabs on the production.

I would say that the film borrows from the first 1995 film, and some from the Individual Eleven storyline, but it mostly does it’s own thing. Hanka robotics are something from the Manga but they’re portrayed totally different there, and, I believe Cutter is a completely original character for the film, as is Dr Ouelet.

One of the liberties the film takes with the source material, which is totally new is the idea that Major is the only one of her kind - that’s never really explicitly stated in any of the source material to my knowledge, and the idea that she’s the “next evolution” of humanity is also something that’s new for the film. There’s obviously a lot of philosophizing around that idea, but the GITS universe is broadly just a standard cyber-punk one, and the major just happens to be one of the few examples with a wholly robotic body .


That’s what I thought. I’m only familiar with the first manga and the two movies so some of the stuff from the TV series was new to me.

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I’m just back from the cinema and I really enjoyed this.

It’s visually spectacular and it’s been a while since we’ve had something creative like that to push the boundaries. Most blockbusters have become bland, lazy and products of comittee.
This felt a bit more singular although it has the clear benefit of plenty of material to source from.

The plot, dialogue and acting were all a bit from the 90s. It reminded me a bit of the early Metal Gear Solid games and 90s Sci movies. But I don’t necessarily mean this as a criticism, I enjoyed the slight familiarity of that and to be honest I miss movies like this.

Logan and Ghost in Shell set the benchmark for the blockbusters for the rest of the year, and we have a potentially amazing year ahead with the new Alien and Blade Runner still ahead.


I saw this today and don’t really know what to think. Overall I guess I’m a bit disappointed.
It did look great, and Scarlett was everything I thought she’d be. All of the references were nice (and I mean the subtle ones, like the Basset Hound) but it didn’t seem to be as original as I wanted it to be. I guess being a grab-bag of setpieces and playful homages makes it closer to Arise than Oshii, which is fine in the end but not what I hoped for.
I hope it does well nevertheless, and that we get a sequel that can really push itself in new directions.
IMAX 3D was worth it for this one.


The Basset Hound got quite a murmur of recognition in the screening I was in. :slight_smile:


Coming back this point, which I think is a fair one, I think it’s always inevitable with these kinds of adaptations that fans of the comics and anime are going to feel a little short-changed in this way, already being familiar with stuff that is necessarily being introduced to most of the audience for the first time. There’s always going to be a slight sense that you’ve seen it all before to some extent.

But I think ultimately you really have to judge these things on their own terms - in this case whether the film’s story worked in its own right, rather than how closely it emulated its source material.

I remember feeling quite ambivalent coming out of the Watchmen adaptation, because I ended up feeling that it worked quite a bit better as a film in its own right than it did as an adaptation. Looking at it through the eyes of someone who knew the comic, I found some elements of the film were a bit redundant, some parts missed the point, and some of the deviations from the original were quite poor creative choices. But in its own right, it was still an alright movie.


The Basset Hound thing is interesting in that it was a signature of Oshii that he put in all of his films, and now here it’s been appropriated by Ghost in the Shell.
I guess it’s similar to how the guys stepping off the train in Trainspotting was originally a Butch Cassidy reference, but then with Trainspotting 2 it was seen as a pure Trainspotting moment and featured heavily in the marketing.


The doggy was great.