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January 26
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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.


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:icongojira387:
gojira387 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014

Someday someone is going to have to construct a point-by-point analysis of a "Film Adaptation" (and by inference Remakes) but for now here is a few thoughts.


(Disclaimer: I have never watched more than pieces of GitS, Avatar, Dragonball or most of the other examples here. You can therefore consider me objective or ignorant, it's up to you.)


Let's take your three points:


1. Racebending. This has become a bit of a tired argument. I personally believe it's incredibly small-minded to think that people in America, one of the most ethnically & culturally diverse countries in the world won't pay to see a film starring an Asian lead, in fact it's insulting but is that going to change anything? No, we're still going to have white teenagers playing Asian superheroes and British actors playing Jewish historical figures. The reason I think has less to do with race than simple star-power. Studios want NAMES to plaster their posters with, names like Pitt, Cruise or Keanu and they are completely uninterested in anyone who doesn't come with a recognition value attached to their name. So why don't they develop other people to have that name recognition? Only they can answer that question.


Conversely it's also just another part of the Translation process: the Japanese make films and series with recognizably Japanese characters within an understandable context of Japanese culture. Americans make films and series with recognizably American characters within an understandable context of Japanese culture. So when the Japanese adapt an American story, like Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, it's with Japanese actors inside a Japanese context and Americans do the same thing with films like Seven Samurai. This also proves it's not impossible to do justice by a great film in making another great film, no matter what the actors look like.


2. The gender question probably has the same answer as the first point but let's consider something else. Despite what EVERYONE in the media and here on this site seems to believe, unless you're Gina Carano most women are simply not convincing as a badass. Isn't anyone else tired of watching ninety pound stick figures laying waste to hordes of enemies? Isn't this what everyone is complaining about with Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman? The other problem is that many of these actresses strut around and say the lines but they never really SELL it, no matter what they do in the film to prove their status as a tough chick you just don't believe them. The Japanese in both anime and live-action are just as guilty of these problems as anyone, maybe more so.


3. This one is really a case of unrealistic expectations and a misunderstanding of the limits of different mediums. Films work best with simple direct stories, that's why the best film adaptations are usually from short stories or novellas. Large novels or a complex T.V. series adapted into a film can only really work if the entire story is stripped down to the absolute bone till you're left with only the essence of the story. This is why a lot of people are usually disappointed with such adaptations because they feel like a recipe reduced to a single ingredient.


There also seems to be a real misconception about what the limits are within cinema. The Hollywood establishment (including directors like James Cameron) seem to believe there are no limits to what can be achieved within the celluloid frame of the live-action film. Yet visually fantastic series like Avatar and hell every anime ever made continue to prove them wrong, there are things that can only be done on the canvas of an animated film. I'm increasingly convinced that any adaptation of an animated fantasy is doomed to failure and that the Hollywood establishment is only going to continue developing more of them, for a couple of reasons: They are desperate for properties. The big companies have pretty much abandoned developing original ideas for the mass consumer in favor of buying the rights to properties that have a proven audience, no matter how small. Second, arrogance. Their previous failures don't mean anything, since animation is STILL the red-headed stepchild of the cinematic arts (in America) every live-action adaptation is going to be looked at as a flattering gesture of benevolence to a poor handicapped art form meant only for children and forty-year-olds who still live in a basement. If anything, they'll believe the failures are proof of that.


There are other issues of course but I'm stopping because this comment is big enough as it is.


Thank You for Reading.

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:iconchronorin:
Chronorin Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Gina Carrano stole me heart in Fast and Furious 6.  So awesome.
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:icongojira387:
gojira387 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014

And CRUSHED it in her iron fist right?

(Yes, she was awesome)

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:iconchronorin:
Chronorin Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Those were my exact words as my friend and i were riffing on it.

"You broke my heart, L'il Chunky!  You broke my heart!"
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:icongojira387:
gojira387 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014
Because That's how a REAL woman does it!!! :D
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:iconchronorin:
Chronorin Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hmmm, maybe they could get Rinko Kikuchi, since everyone loved her in Pacific Rim? ......and i'd like to know more about these girls drenched in motor oil.
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:iconmachsabre:
MachSabre Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Google with the safe search off "Masamune Shirow" and "Galgrease" and you'll have you answer. 
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:iconchronorin:
Chronorin Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Holy shmolt... those are terrible. Its like Exhibit A of the phenomenon that if you try to make a drawing as sexy as possible, it will become extremely not sexy. The realistic pornstar bodies combined with little girl anime faces is just... creepy.
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:iconmachsabre:
MachSabre Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yup, pretty much. The frustrating thing is that this guy used to be one of the most amazing illustrators ever. His B&W line art hold their own against many of the greatest. (Orion itself is a mindboggling romp of detail and over the top cosmic action.) But to see him basically settle on this? The worst part is... If you look over it all, there's an actual story somewhere in there that actually sounds kinda intriguing. But we don't get that. We get showers of lubricant. 
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:iconrandommode:
Randommode Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
All we can do is boycott their crap. That's what I do. 
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