TechCruch – who got the name Spiegel wrong – is going on and on about whitewashing Asian characters, and how this casting is an improvement. Though I never got the idea that Spiegel was an Asian name. Who knew?
7 Things you didn’t know about the anime movie, Ghost in the Shell.
OK, I am one of the 15 people world wide who actually liked the Scarlett Johansson live action version‡, but the anime movie is still the best. And part of the reason is the attention to detail, when it comes to firearms. (Quite a feat for a production done in Japan, where private firearms are illegal.)
The video below is queued up to the portion that talks about shooting. (But feel free to watch the whole thing.) And it is followed by a bit on the original Matrix that is almost an exact reenactment of the scene from GitS. You probably don’t care about the other 5 things.
‡ If you haven’t seen the live action version, you might be interested in the opening jump scene. It is a riff off the original anime jump scene and the Geisha cafe scene from the 1st episode of the TV show (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which was produced after the movie, but was sort of a prequel.) It’s a kick-ass action scene, and I love it.
Can’t be worse than some of the other drek coming out of Hollywood. They have been talking about an Overwatch film for a while. And one of the Overwatch characters showed up in the latest trailer for Ready Player One. Though the record of good films being made out of games is pretty poor, especially when Hollywood (and suits who never played a game) are involved.
They say it’s an idea based on the success of the animated short films. Like I said, better than a lot of the stuff coming out of Hollywood.
As for the one movie I actually own that is based on a game, it wasn’t produced in America. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. And most Americans don’t get it, since it is a Japanese story told by Japanese artists.
(OK, so it isn’t exactly Anime. I don’t have a category for computer games being made into films.)
Fullmetal Alchemist has been around for a long time. A Manga (Japanese comic book for those of you who don’t know) from 2001 to 2010. Two anime series, and 2 feature-length anime movies. So now we are getting a live-action version from Warner Bros. Japan. Not until December.
If you aren’t familiar with this story, well, all I can say is web-searching is your friend, I won’t try an summarize it here.
Principle filming was apparently complete last year, but special effects work continues. Of two minds on this one. The production quality looks to be very high, and there is definitely no white-washing (the big complaint with this year’s Ghost in the Shell) but I never liked Fullmetal Alchemist especially, though I never read the manga. Will have to see how it looks as we get closer to release.
So I finally so the New Ghost in the Shell movie. I liked it. (My thoughts on it after the trailer.)
Critics panned it, though I have a hard time believing that many of them saw and liked the original as much as they are saying. In 1995 Anime was not a subject taken seriously by the critics or by Hollywood. The new movie has gotten a generally positive review from the folks who’ve seen it. (At least as reflected in places like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.)
It managed to pull some of the best bits from the original movie, and some of the cool parts of the animated series, Stand Alone Complex, without being slavishly tied to either.
I wish there was more time devoted to some of the secondary characters, but by US standards of today, it is a relatively short movie. It runs 107 minutes, a bit more than an hour and a half. Superman Returns – from several years ago (chosen not quite at random) ran 154 minutes. An extra 47 minutes is not insubstantial, though I thought Superman Returns was way too long.)
They did show Togusa with his Mateba Model 6 Unica autorevolver. (Click the image to enlarge) It is an interesting weapon. And though you only see it in one scene, it is there if you know to look. As is Saito with his cyber-enhanced sniper’s eye. Batou is there in form including the eyes. And Arimaki comes across as someone not to mess with. (I imagine a lot of the critics were bothered by the fact that Arimaki only spoke in Japanese. Suitable subtitles provided. But Americans hate foreign languages.)
There were some interesting bits. I won’t give any spoilers, but from the trailer you can see that the world they inhabit looks more like that conjured up for Blade Runner by Ridley Scott than what was in the original anime. Though there are some bits lifted straight from the original, including they use the original theme song at the closing credits, which was a nice salute to what Mamoru Oshii did with the original manga by Masamune Shirow.
After the break – 7 things you didn’t know about (the original) Ghost in the Shell movie. Continue reading →
I know most of you probably don’t go in for comics or graphic novels, but I’ve been revisiting one I really like. FireBreather, by Hester, Kuhn and Crabtree.
In this post-Rowling age — where every publisher wants you to rip-off Harry Potter — Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn take the young Potter formula and kick it off a cliff, turning the entire concept on its tail.
Like a lot of these stories the origin is a little thin, but Duncan is half-human and half-dragon. And he looks it. Comments made behind his back (though he hears them) include “monster” and “orange iguana.” Of course the bullies underestimate his strength.
Duncan doesn’t find relief at school, just the usual parade of bullies, and stoners and maybe a friend or two. His differences alienate him from pretty much everyone.
Duncan isn’t heir to a magical heritage filled with lollipops and cotton candy dreams. He doesn’t get a magic wand and a sweet pet owl. He gets anthracite and iron ore. And that’s his lunch. On top of that his dad is a monster (literally) who makes his entire life miserable. [Both quotes are from the Forward by Brad Meltzer.]
A more realistic portrayal of High School you won’t find anywhere, and finding it in a graphic novel is a special treat.
If you search for FireBreather on the web, you will find copious references to the fairly bad animated movie by The Cartoon Network. It is a poor adaptation of the graphic novel, it is badly animated, and it is poorly directed. It still manages to have a couple of really fun scenes, though overall I can’t recommend it.
And that gives us this week’s Musical Interlude – “Lithium Flower” written by Tim Jensen and performed by Scott Matthew. This is the song which played as the credits roll at the end of season 1 episodes. (Well almost at the end of the episodes.)
The opening scene of the movie is one of the best parts of the movie, and at 4 minutes, it is worth your time. (The gun that Spike Spiegel is using is a Jericho 941 from Israeli Military Industries. It is once again in production.)
Final Fantasy has a special place in the hearts of many people. I had just moved across the country, and started a new job and didn’t have much time to devote to video games at that point in my life, but it was interesting. Final Fantasy VII is out for Android now (A lot of people say it was “great.” I think that may be a function of looking back on the “good old days.” It was good.)
There are few bugs, and 16 bucks for an app, so probably not something I will dive into. I still have a DVD copy of FFVII Advent Children around here somewhere… maybe I can dust that off.
So for no real reason I can think of (except that I really like it) here is the fight between Tifa and Loz from FFVII Advent Children.
Most Americans can’t stand Japanese story telling, and this is based on a video game, (witness the “flash step” that Loz deploys in the fight) so the movie tends to confuse a lot of people. But it is visually stunning. (The fight between all the heroes and Bahamut Sin is worth a look if nothing else.)
So a conversation with a friend reminded me of anime… a guilty pleasure, to be sure. Cowboy Bebop, the Movie was released in 2001, after a few seasons of a series.
Cowboy Bebop isn’t the best, but it is likely the most accessible to western audiences. The English dubs are often a bit rough. (Japanese and Chinese cinema – even anime – is best viewed in the original language with subtitles.) Though I don’t hate this dub of Bebop.
The guilty pleasure of anime is the weapons. The guns in Cowboy Bebop were (almost) always real. See the Internet Movie Firearms Database. The gun Spike is twirling at the end of this scene is an Israeli Military Industries Jericho 941. The gun Jet drops at the end is a Walther P99.
And in case you want more of the theme song.
Cowboys are futuristic bounty hunters. Bebop is the name of their space ship. Jet Black is an ex-cop. Spike Spiegel is a reformed crook. You’ll have to watch the whole thing to learn the rest of the characters.
Ghost in the Shell is a piece of classic (at this point) anime. It was released in 1995, and aside for the dates (it was set in the 2030s?) it is very watchable.
It spawned one sequel, and an animated series that lasted at least 2 seasons.
I won’t try to explain GitS, that is done better elsewhere.
Unfortunately it is being produced by Avi Arad. He has had much to do with the string of Marvel movies, so I predict that the new Ghost in the Shell, will have little to do with the original material, be completely predictable, and not come close to the original movie.
I hope I’m wrong, because this could be a really good movie. It will probably be very forgettable.