You know, when people were complaining about the Hollywood remake of Akira, Dragonball and even the upcoming Kite movie... I personally was under the opinion that they should just follow the advice of Elsa the Snow Queen and “Let it go”. I mean, even as bad as the Last Airbender movie was, it didn't really hurt the Airbender franchise. The movie's a funny bit of trivia that is only brought up when people want a good chuckle. It hasn't really affected the Avatar series or it's legacy Legend of Korra one bit. Same with Dragonball. Most people even forgot that it existed. When people think of Dragonball, they still think of overly muscled, huge-eyed Goku screaming at Vegeta, who's screaming about something in the thousands. It's just a dumb movie and the worst it'll be is '98 Godzilla movie... Which is still considered a joke to everyone. If Hollywood wants to waste their time and money... Let them. They'll take it as a learning experience to either make better movies or stop adapting things that don't need adaptation.
Now, I'd like to take this moment to talk about Ghost in the Shell and what it means to me. I was exposed to GitS in January of 1995. I remember, because it was an exceptionally warm day in January, and Wizard Magazine had come with this preview book of the first issue of GitS that Dark Horse was putting out. I was familiar with a little bit of manga and anime with emphasis on the 'little bit' part. Fortunately, I'm glad to say, due to my exposure reading other foreign comics from Europe (Thanks Heavy Metal and Cheval Noir!), I never became one of those people who treated American Comics and Manga as separate mediums, pretending one is superior to the other. I saw them all as “comics”. But GitS was my first REAL exposure to Japanese comics. And there was a lot about it to like. While it may look primitive now, the coloring on those introduction pages just blew my 19 year old mind. Bear in mind, the epitome of great comic book art for us was Jim Lee, Todd MacFarlane and Barry Windsor-Smith. To see something so beautifully colored was just awesome for me. And then there was the fact it was a well written science fiction story that didn't resort to the usual of ripping off Aliens or cheesy 50's monster movies. It developed it's own universe. And to top it all off, it starred a female lead who was this competent military leader, which was something that was actually new and interesting for me. Like I said, it was the mid 90's and I was 19.
Of course led into the anime movie, sequel comics, some fun video games, and even the 'Stand Alone Complex' which I hold as my favorite anime of all time. It really pushed the boundaries of science fiction, bringing up philosophical concepts of reality in a believably futuristic world. It was so good, that the (then) Wachowski Brothers ripped it off with the Matrix in 1999. Yeah, the story had it's flaws and of course there's more than a few times it fell into fanservice mode... Which at 19, I didn't mind. At 38, it's a little silly. Even more so now, considering Shirow's recent workload since the turn of the century. (Which I believe is drawing posterbooks of naked girls drenched 10W40 motor oil. I kinda wish I was joking there.) I mean, GitS is not a perfect franchise in the least. The first movie gets by on it's nostalgia wave for being in that initial anime boom, otherwise it's pretentious at times, the second movie is as boring as all hell, and Man Machine Interface was basically 300 pages of Motoko's nude crotch floating in pre-2000 CGI graphics. (And I've heard mixed opinions on Arise, but I need to see it for myself first.) But, like with Stand Alone Complex, when GitS brings it's A-game... It kicks all ass like no one else could dream to. So as far as anime goes, I guess GitS is my weak point. I will always give it a chance. It's one of those things that I admittedly, hold up to a high standard. It was a huge influence on me and still remains so.
So then I found out today that apparently, Rupert Sanders the director that gave us the brilliant masterpiece 'Snow White and the Huntsman', starring Kristen Stewart will be directing the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie. www.deadline.com/2014/01/ruper… And suddenly the irritation that people felt about the Dragonball movie, or Kite, or Akira or the Last Airbender had finally hit me with a moment of clarity. This director currently has one movie under his belt and that's Snow White and the Huntsman... A movie more known for his affair with the living Poser model than anything. I'm not a pessimist, and I try to be optimistic as much as anything. I try to be as forgiving as I can, because I know people DO try their best on these things. It's just sometimes their best isn't good enough...
...Oh my lord, this is going to be awful.
1. We can pretty much expect the usual racebending to happen here: I'm really not fond of anytime when they change the race of characters for the movies and you know they're going to do it here. The cast is almost exclusively Asian characters, save for Batou. (Though honestly, I never really considered Togusa completely Asian either. In all his portrayals, he seemed somewhat Caucasian to me. Just with a Japanese last name. Maybe it's the mullet.)
2. We can pretty much expect Motoko Kusanagi to be relegated into a supporting role: Seriously, unless it's Angelina Jolie, Hollywood has problems with a female lead action star... Much less an Asian female action star. We can expect the protagonist focus to be on Togusa, since he's the youngest and the least cybernetic. Motoko will probably be the romantic interest for him. Because, you know... All that women think about is love and getting a guy. *rolls eyes*
3. Gone will be any interesting philosophical plot points and political drama: It's hard to have conversations about the meaning of reality and of human identity in a cybernetic body if you gotta squeeze in an hour and a half of gunfights and explosions. Also, you can pretty much forget the entire interesting political dynamics that the series laid out, with the American Empire, Siak Republic and China as we don't want to piss off any potential markets. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the movie too place in New York or Los Angeles. (That's a new level of disappointment I didn't think about until I just now typed that sentence.)
I don't even want to think about how they'll screw up the Tachikomas. Then there's the risk of Kristen Stewart playing Major Motoko Kusanagi. And yeah... I'm sure there's an aneurysm in my future.