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Ghost in the Shell Movie Review (2017) | A Mediocre Adaptation of the Popular Anime

We are no strangers to the fact that Hollywood helms bad adaptations when there aren’t great directors to back a good story. Ghost in the Shell movie is one of the latest victims to that. It goes without saying that the popular eponymous anime which we discovered in the year 1995 was a benchmark hard to beat. Even so was the manga that gave birth to that very idea. The truth is Ghost in the Shell isn’t utterly disappointing but it is simply mediocre. Something we did not expect this unique heroic sentient tale to be. It’s fine, to be honest, but not good enough.

Ghost in the Shell was destined to end up being a surefire misfire with all the controversies that it kept raking in the moment it went into production. The first splinter in the eye was Rupert Sanders of the Snow White and the Huntsman fame who had decided to helm it. Snow White was a disaster even though Rupert worked hard in order to make things work somehow. Weird enough he hasn’t improved his storytelling skills. Maybe he needs to hire good writers to heave his climaxes.

Scarlett Johansson as Mira Killian

Then people complaining about the usual whitewashing scene in Hollywood is one of those ongoing issues that we are yet to overcome. Even though the script demanded Asian faces, the studios decided to galvanize it with their own set of actors. Hollywood needs to understand this crucial fact – While you trying to rope in one enclave of the globe, you are losing potential fan audience from the other.

That being said I wouldn’t be surprised if Death Note fails to deliver as much as we expect of it. Apparently with the trailers out and everything it is evident that it has been whitewashed too.

Even though Scarlett Johansson didn’t seem like a good fit for the role of Mira, she takes everyone by surprise. To begin with, she dons a unique gait, bringing about a robotic look and feel to her character. The way she stands, the way she walks, it is all just very convincing. Even though it was hard to imagine her as the ghost in the shell, she proves that she was a befitting choice for the role proving every critic wrong in that area.

still of Scarlett Johansson as Mira Killian in Ghost in the Shell movie

I would blame the writers of Ghost in the Shell movie for not giving her ample lines given her potential. Apparently, that’s an allusion I make at the impoverished screenplay of the story. The script demanded profundity at times, but everything gave an impression of being fabricated so much that it was hard to ‘connect’.

Plot of Ghost in the Shell Movie (Spoilers)

In a distant futuristic world where parts of human bodies can be mechanized, Hanka Robotics has taken over the robotics front. Headed by Cutter the CEO of Hanka, played by Peter Ferdinando, and operated by Dr. Ouelet played by Juliette Binoche a secret project of using human brain inside a resounding ‘shell’ is brought to fruition. The brain of Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), a terrorist attack survivor was brought into usage since her body was damaged beyond recovery. She is at once put on the field to operate as a counter-terrorism operative by Cutter.

We cling to memories as if they define us, but they don’t. What we do is what defines us.

A year after she has quickly become a major and is a part of Section 9 working under Chief Daisuke Aramaki. As part of her mission to foil a terrorist attack, she heroically kills a mechanical geisha only to find it hacked by an entity named Kuze played by Michael Pitt. She ‘dives’, meaning goes into the stored memory of the dead robot, to discover the truth about Kuze which leads her to a night club. On reaching there with Batou (Pilou Asbaek) following a lead, they end up realizing it to be a trap. Batou loses his eyes in an explosion with Mira encountering major damages.

Project 2571

It is soon realized that Kuze is bent on killing people linked to one particular project named 2571. Realizing the next target of Kuze to be Dr. Ouelet, Mira and Batou (with a new pair of Hanka eyes) intercepts the invasion of two sanitation workers who are hacked by Kuze from a safe location. Tracking down the captive worker’s signal, they are able to track the original location of Kuze.

Mira is captured by Kuze who tells her that he was a failed project of Hanka (2571) and it was the same project that had created her. He frees her asking her to trust her memories before running away. On confronting Dr. Ouelet for answers, she gathers that there were 98 failed test subjects before her and that her memories were implanted. With Cutter keen on shutting Mira down, Dr. Ouelet decides to help her escape slipping an address in her palms. Cutter kills Dr. Ouelet fake advertising that it was Mira who had killed her that she had turned rogue.

Identity of Mira

Meanwhile, Mira visits the address Dr. Ouelet had passed on to her, to find her true identity (Mokoto) and her actual mother living there. On her way out she calls Aramaki to tell her about Cutter, which Aramaki lets Cutter listen to. With orders to kill Mira, Cutter sends his men to kill Aramaki and his men after realizing them going voluntarily in her favour. But the Section 9 team are already a step ahead of him. They retract killing their assassins.

ghost in the shell movie still of human network

Mira reaches the spot where Mokoto was last taken away from by Hanka with the help of her glitches, where she meets Kuze once again. They both try to recall their time together there as anti-augmentation revolutionists. Just then Cutter attacks them with a spider tank killing Kuze, and fatally injuring Mira who rips the tank’s motor losing her arm in the process. She gives her consent to kill Cutter to Aramaki who then executes him.

Reunited at last with her mother, Mokoto continues to work for Section 9. The curtain falls dropping one of the most cliched dialogues you will ever come across in a movie.

You can order Ghost in the Shell Movie here:

More Issues

Ghost in the Shell Movie fails on many occasions to create awe-inspiring moments. You could blame the improper fictitious setup for that. Maybe we have seen a lot of sci-fi futuristic stories before, and that’s why in times like today, things fail to kind of pop our eyes. With the vacuous storytelling style that Rupert Sanders uses there is nothing solid in the movie that manages to blow our hats off. Even the final culminating point shoehorned with a Spider Tank doesn’t feel like a Boss fight.

GITS movie also doesn’t retain the gravitas of a futuristic tale. If you put it against the likes of Blade Runner, you would realize how many times this movie fails to deliver what we expected it to deliver. For a colossal concept of a human brain trapped inside a mechanical armour, a lot of things feel left out. You should really watch Metallo cringe and croon for not being able to touch and feel, if you want to see how it’s done.

Also in Ghost of the Shell movie, there was no explanation whatsoever about anything. It takes the audience for granted to have watched the animated movie or read the comic beforehand, assuming that bringing us to up to speed with what’s what would be a waste of time.

One of those supposedly frantic moments of Kuze meeting Mira for the first time, to tell her about the project takes away all the excitement owing to some poor writing. Kuze explaining her the what’s what doesn’t feel like a revelation at all. Then there is that weird CGI when she takes the ghost form, running around and jumping, climbing walls. That appears really out of place and obvious.

Then there is that weird CGI when she takes the ghost form, running around and jumping, climbing walls. That appears really out of place and quite obvious to be honest.

The Final Verdict

Ghost in the Shell movie starts off with a bang but lacks the flair of a movie with a proper route. The direction doesn’t resort to aggrandizing things Mira Killian could do. Neither does it portray what a big deal diving, cybernetic eyes, robotic ghost body, or Mira’s brain was. It is almost as if there was an innate glitch the movie carried all along, of not exploiting its theatrical quotient.

In a plot to find out her true identity, the protagonist fails to induce pathos. It is one of those paramount issues that was mightily overlooked. Even so, the movie is still quite enjoyable if you switch yourself off to its countless surrounding issues. You can watch it for Scarlett Johansson at least. It is almost as if she does a Lucy once again.

You can check out the trailer of Ghost in the Shell movie here:

Sing Movie Review (2016) | Another Toast for the Dreamers

Sing along your favorite songs with the most adorable bunch of animals! Sing movie is an anthropomorphic take of Christophe Lourdelet and Garth Jennings, a brilliantly scripted venture that tries to edify the lives of animals. It does so effortlessly by resonating us with them in the right proportion. They let humanity seep under the skin of animals to epitomize important life lessons, and the problems every fellow dreamer has to deal on an every day basis.

Plot of the Sing Movie

Although the movie packs in a plethora of cute animals to look forward to, the best and the most prominent one however stays the leader. A Koala bear named Buster Moon, voiced beautifully by Matthew McConaughey, is the guy with the cardinal vision of seeing success dribble in through his theater gates via show business.

still of buster moon the koala in sing movie

He is an optimist who has never learnt to give up. Buster retains hopeful eyes, the ones that are always excited to see new things sieve in. The gleam in them tells you that he is eager to shape dreams into reality, and always ready to deliver.

With his job to hunt down only the best, he possesses the natural flair to always dispense the right judgment. Things that he does are strong enough to often leave you brooding with a poignant sense of regard at your scattered dreams. It contrasts how we tend to give up our dreams with the slightest sign of trouble. With Buster Moon’s efforts to work around things to get things running either by hook or crook, you can feel in your bones the warmth of a never give up attitude that is so crucial to get by.

You know what’s great about hitting rock bottom. There is only one way left to go, and that’s up.

Other Fellow Dreamers (Spoilers Ahead)

Buster Moon’s big aspirations are inspiring. But it is owing to his clumsy accidents along with Miss Crawly, (surprisingly voiced by Garth Jennings himself) that sets the Sing movie on wheels. Paths get paved for aspiring singers when promotional fliers of $100,000 for a singing competition accidentally overrun the whole town. Though it was intended originally to show a mere $1000 and came up straight from Buster Moon, the huge success of it made him play along.

Talented singers from eclectic background show up. Oh! Watch out for their auditions, by the way. They are outright hilarious! When you watch them all auditioning for the competition, their species and their ungainly acts make things even funnier. It would be hard not to crack up.

Aslo, a bunch of girly Japanese dolls (Pandas probably) keep showing up every now and then to perform, assuming they have been selected. Watch out for them as well! So funny!

 

still of meena voiced by Tori Kelly in Sing movie

Among other crucial animals are Ash, Eddie, Johnny, Rosita, Gunter, Mike,  and the exceptionally talented elephant introvert Meena. The latter’s voice has been given by none other than Tori Kelly. Her voice is so beautiful that it would bring tears to your eyes. Also, her side-plot is one of the best the movie has.

So the movie is basically more of a competition where animals from different backgrounds come in the front-line to test their luck. Their lives are intertwined with their domestic issues and concerns that stop them from, in one way or the other, from following their dreams. But it is about beating all odds to come out with flying colors.

Songs in Sing Movie

Taking the movie moniker into account, the primal theme was basically supposed to be songs. So it doesn’t fail in that direction at all. There are around 60 songs shoehorned in the flick that play at various junctures setting you in the right vibes.

Among the most prominent ones are:

  1. Faith by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande
  2. I’m Still Standing by Taron Egerton
  3. Hallelujah by Tori Kelly
  4. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing by Tori Kelly
  5. My Way by Seth MacFarlane
  6. Set It All Free by Scarlett Johansson

You can order Sing movie from here:

Minor Downsides

When you look at the downsides of Sing movie, you could hear some bells knell in its comedy department. It is definitely not that funny, but there are ample jests to keep that flow going. Also, the movie doesn’t have anything huge coiled up waiting at the climactic end. It’s there where you feel all that amped up energy slowly wane. The subplots feel deliberately created to show feigned approvals, and they become really drab at one point.

Also, if you really look at the movie it appears to be more of a cliched tale confined to pursuing something, falling and then rising up again. That is all. So, there is nothing extraordinary apart from that for us to feast upon.

The Final Verdict

Even though the Sing movie’s theme is a tad predictable, it manages to hold up really well. Almost giving you an impression as if you are watching a good reality show. You begin to feel for the characters, sympathize and empathize with them as you might have done for characters in the real world. It makes you appreciate Garth Jennings even more, who also happened to have written the story of Sing.

This latest by Illumination Entertainment is way better than all of its past works so far. It cuts short the snappy humour that it was known for, but still manages to come up with a beautifully crafted animated flick. It has family entertainment written all over it.

You can check our review of other Illumination Entertainment movies as well.

You can check out the trailer of Sing movie here:

 

 

The Jungle Book Review (2016)

Adorable and adhering to the tale.

HISTORICAL IMPORT

The Jungle Book has a special place in our hearts. Some fail to fathom the hype in our heads. We have waited impatiently for this movie to release and jog us down the forgotten memory lane ever since the news broke loose. The sole reason: 1989 show Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli! The dubbed TV show used to be our all-time favourite. Its outspread wings covered more than 20 languages all across the globe, a commendable feat to score even during that span. The acclaim was such that its song would be on every child’s lips. That explains our inane fandom behind it.

Coming across the Rudyard Kipling excerpt was enthralling too as images from the anime would come running down to fill the voids. Every character had a face. Every word had a voice. My fanatic knew no bound when I heard it was going big screen.

THE JUNGLE BOOK DIRECTION

Now that we have finally arrived at a juncture where Jon Favreau has successfully helmed the gorgeous telling story to justify the awesome Kipling book, it is hard not to give him an ovation. With a superb CGI that walks hand in hand with realistic looking animals and endearing voiceovers, The Jungle Book era seems to have finally met a new high. The kind we, as diehard fans, were looking for. Whilst little has been done to mould the plot, which is by the way just perfect, we are racing down to meet exceptional twists and turns in its impending installments. Way to go Favreau!

CHARACTERS BROUGHT TO LIFE

Shere Khan is simply a badass. He carries a demonic mien that will give you the chills looking at him. Idris Elba takes him to fearsome heights. Baloo’s entry is well thought of and perfected by Bill Murray. Ben Kingsley imparts a thoughtful grim demeanour to Bagheera. You cannot ignore Christopher Walken’s perfect voice for King Louie. He puts life into that animal. Lupita as Raksha is magnificent. Adorable wolf-cubs in the movie will fill your heart up with delight.

Screenplay is kind of average, sticking to origins at times, sometimes swaying, but not really that powerful.

DOWNSIDES TO THE JUNGLE BOOK

The parts that I didn’t like much were these trivial insignificant things which I choose to ignore:

Starting off with Neel Sethi, we could have done better. The lad, although great in resemblance, doesn’t really fit the bill. He looks absent emotionally as he if knew he was surrounded by CGI and not the real deal. Favreau fails to milk his emotions enough. Sentient things seemed aloof. Sometimes the CGI would dwindle when showing movements of animals and things would awkwardly move into the animated horizon. But still it all held up pretty fine. The end result we get is The Jungle Book we have always wanted as a kid.

Now that we have a darker version under the anvils (The Andy Serkis version) it would be intriguing to see towards which abyss this tale steers toward.

Lucy Review (2014)

“I don’t feel pain, fear, desire. It’s like all things that make us human are fading away.”

Lucy is shimmering with a beautiful concept. Scarlett has literally touched the other side. All the projects she has taken over the years have inadvertently pushed her above the average 10% human capability, so she proves with her intense fervour as human before the interval and then later as the insentient being wrapped in a superhuman commotion!

Lucy is everything you want to see Scarlett do. Primarily act and then may be shoot some hooligans. The sci-fi flick is an avant garde endeavour to explore our origins in a clever fashion: Through the head of a Brainiac!

Morgan Freeman is brilliant as the professor who expounds the rudimentary in his soothing voice. His theory in resonance with Lucy’s story, whilst Min-sik Choi does what he does best – devilry!

SPOILERS:

Luc carves Scarlett brilliantly, develops her character gradually bringing out her supernatural capabilities one by one with flash cards showing %ages to keep the clueless engaged. What makes Besson an absolute delight is his subtle inclusion of animal imagery to contrast similarities. The wonderful work on pictorial similes is indicative of his brilliant avant garde style of direction!

The movie has a message that stares hard at our soul and laments cruelly on how less we feel, how caught up we are in little things and how easily we overlook vast! It also throws light on the time theory and the meaningless scaling of the incomprehensible!

The finest bit in the movie is when Scarlett flips time to understand stages of Evolution. Time reverses in quick succession and we get a glimpse of our origins. The rad one is when she helms toward invincibility!

What brings the emotional quotient to the movie was the part where Scarlett calls her mother to express how she feels: “I want to thank you for a thousand kisses that I can feel on my face.”

The score is brilliant. Beats are apt. Screenplay is catchy and memorable. Apart from few passable flaws, the movie kicks ass and makes you brood. Good enough reasons for me to like a movie!