Hey folks, Harry here... GHOST IN THE SHELL. Mamoru Oshii wasn't kidding when he made that towering work in 1996... specifically March of 1996. Just a couple months B.A.I.C.N GHOST IN THE SHELL was rocking my world. I'd never seen any sci-fi quite like it. It was hard science fiction. Existential and more badass than John Woo when nothing was fucking cooler than John Woo. Except maybe Ringo Lam. And DEREKs. What did 1996 Harry geek out talking with Robert Rodriguez or Guillermo Del Toro about? GHOST IN THE SHELL was one of those movies. EVERYBODY was just blown away by it. Read James Cameron quotes about Mamoru Oshii. AVATAR heads up, neural drives... it's there.
As it happened, after the footage that was screened today, I came home to a package from Anchor Bay - a Mondo - SteelBook of Oshii's GHOST IN THE SHELL. I flip it over... "Mind-Blowing Hard Science Fiction That Live Action Has Yet To Match!" - Harry Knowles, Aint-It-Cool-News. I have to say, it's a helluva thing to see that quote come back and slap you straight in the face, as you came out of. So obviously, it's a sign. A sign I must go home and watch GHOST IN THE SHELL instead of Donald Trump. Who am I to question my particular wheel of existence. Like Chaplin in MODERN TIMES, I must watch the film.
But before that, I saw 15 minutes of Rupert Sanders' GHOST IN THE SHELL tonight... twice. I was asked to introduce the screening kinda last minute, and I figure, a life long GHOST IN THE SHELL fan from day one oughta prepare an audience. I'd say, one third of the audience knew the Anime. Everybody else was there for a free poster and Scarlett Johansson. There were some geeks to be sure, but it was a mixed audience. One AICN reader came up afterwards to tell me, "That shit was fucking dope!" And indeed it was. That's why I, unlike about 90% of the audience, stayed for a second showing. A good many filed past me seeming quite excited - and I hope that's a good thing.
What'd I think? Um, yeah, I can swim in this movie. I love this... almost touchable science reality, but still science fiction filmmaking. Mamoru Oshii gave us a brilliant work or art. I love it completely. I listen to the soundtrack. It is a favorite anime. Personally, I've been wanting Rodriguez to make this fucking movie for years.
Ok - so here's what played.
It looks like they're giving us a glimpse at Major (Scarlett) before the transfer of consciousness into the character we know as Major - an astonishing construct of a super robot... a weapon with a soul. Now... my fear was no soul... and too much soul. How is Scarlett playing this. From what I saw today, no nonesense and badass. We don't actually get a good look at pre-Major... it's a surreal scene on a gurney - you get the idea she is an Alex Murphy style cop - shot to fuck (but we don't see viscera) but it is described by the doctors attending... you don't really see these people, like I said - this sequence is a bit subjective feeling. She is dying. But they've a use for the brain.
We then see the creation of Major process... it's kinda magic. Not, obviously. Really fucking scienced the shit out. I mean, magic nanotech stuff that she'd have to be, but watching it come together... is magic. Cuz this shit, I don't think is happening yet. We're in the GHOST IN THE SHELL universe. What I saw was tonally on. After her creation, we see a stunning fly over the rooftops of this sci-fi... kinda fucking awesome paradise if you ask me. I mean, as a science fiction fanatic... We're getting close. Nanotech is changing materials that can do amazing things. We're gonna get to wetworks soon. Once wetworks get here and you can port like in the Matrix and learn... anything... everything...
From what I saw, the film is at the very least dealing with dazzling near existent tech, but it is really fucking dope.
You know the Geishabots? That scene - it's got fucking Michael Wincott in the middle of it! Love this man on screen. His voice is like ear candy! Love that bass. Here he is playing man doing buisness with an African President regarding his company's latest robotics and wet works. The vision for the world is there. And there's subtitles... like when fricking Beat Takeshi shows up with the right crazy hair... and just seeing him. Takeshi Kitano - in GHOST IN THE SHELL. SO BLEEDING PERFECT.
Now - reality check. What I didn't see. Though I saw stunning vfx, badass tech action, the bullet hits on bots in 3D IMAX are seriously dope as shit! But what I didn't see was the meat of the movie. All the rest. You know... the brilliant fucking brain of the anime. How HOLLYWOOD is this? Everything I saw was on the level fucking cool as shit. It's real cool. Or at the least it feels like it.
What convinces me this could go all the way? WETA's involvement. Clint Mansell's involvement. That Jess Hall the DP of HOT FUZZ is part of the film's DNA. This film comes from great stock. Just starting with what Mamoru Oshii gifted us. Great starting point.
The question marks mainly lay with Rupert Sanders for pulling the accomplishment actually all the way off. With SNOW WHITE & THE HUNSTMAN - it was a whole world to create - he did a lovely composed film, I prefer it to the second film. But there's still that part of me that also feels... Did that story need to ever be told that way in the first place?
The screenwriter here is Jamie Moss. His one script made that we've seen is STREET KINGS which was a pretty fun film. But not GHOST IN THE SHELL. His other script that is in production is HUNTER KILLER about a U.S. Nuclear Sub and a SEAL Team that is going to rescue the Russian President from a coup by a Russian General. LOL - it's got Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman in it and is directed by the man behind SPUD 2: THE MADNESS CONTINUES. I'm so excited to learn about that project. It's like the Anti-Reality movie or a preview of a future mission, where Trump sends a Seal Team Six to rescue a Russian buddy. WOW.
Knowledge is dangerous. But the point is... in digging into who is making this, there's reasons to get excited and reasons to wonder... how's it all gonna come together, and nobody can tell ya that right now. I can just say... DAMN IT IS LOOKING GREAT..
The Wincott Geishabot sequence... worth the price of admission. When the Geishabot face Mimic opens up and cyber tendrils port into the back of Wincott's neck, and you see his biomechanical eyes go grey and creepy as living shit.... I felt the film kinda working in its small pieces. I also hope for the best here. I love this story. I wish more people knew the story. This is the kind of science fiction that we as a soceity should be discussing. How far will tech go? To upgrade and sell your services to governments or corporations or crime lords... I mean, we all have jobs, things we do that we'd rather not be doing. Is that the same thing? Only - if you leave the company, they take their memories and your tech back leaving you... pretty fucked really. Indentured servitude in a new future. Fun stuff to discuss.
God I love GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995) - Hoping for the best and impressed by what I saw today. They had this head there by the way:
It is so damn cool looking in person.
Keep it cool,