This was all meant to be one post originally but I had too much to say about the plot so I decided to break it up to spare you, the reader, your precious energy.
This has to be the best part of the film. Not since blade-runner have I seen a live-action film that so totally owns and revels in 1980's cyberpunk aesthetic. It's perfect and it resembles the GITS world far more than it has any right to. Each scene was filled with colour, wild suppositions of future fashion and holograms, so many holograms (too many if you ask me, but that's nit-picking). Even the cars are largely comprised of retrofitted chassis from 1980's sports cars. Add the shot-for-shot recreations of select scenes from the animation and what you have is something so reminiscent of Masamune Shirow's and Momoru Oshii's aesthetic that it's almost awe inspiring. I was impressed.
|Slick cover bro.|
Like the visuals, the soundtrack is equally appropriate. I'm not familiar with all the sub-genres of electronic music but the soundtrack features music that you would expect from a film that is selling itself as cyberpunk. Bass-heavy ambient synth and remixed tracks from Oshii's original film make for a compelling atmosphere that suits the visuals to a T. Excellent effort. Again it totally feels like GITS.
Characterisation and Casting (Spoilers Abound)
I think it's important to mention that I've started giving the original GITS manga a serious read-through prior to watching the film. Before now all I had really experienced of the GITS universe was the Oshii animation, it's sequel, and a few episodes of Stand Alone Complex (a more recent anime spin-off). I'm loving the manga. It's amazing and it's stupid I haven't gotten around to reading it until now. That being said, the character of Motoko Kusanagi in the manga is pretty cool. She's cocky, sarcastic, and full of quips for her teammates but she's also an excellent operative and genuinely cares about her people. She's a complex, colourful and multi-faceted character. In Momoru Oshii's animation she's quite a bit more subdued and spends much of her time pondering the human condition and having philosophical conversations with her partners Batou and Togusa. The two likewise being converted from hard boiled comic relief, pictured in the manga, to more brooding and introspective strong, silent types. It's an Oshii thing. If the main cast is subdued in the Oshii film, they are virtually, excuse the term, "white-washed" in the Sanders film.
|Like much of the rest of the film, she certainly looks the part.|
|I thought Pilou Asbæk was a pretty good choice at the end of the day, though I must admit, I had no idea who he was until I saw this film. He was in Lucy though, so he's worked with Scarjo before. That's a thing.|
|The still on the right is actually from GITS Stand Alone Complex which has a different art-style than the Oshii film -- the basis for the Sanders film, which explains why the characters look nothing alike.|
|As much as I love Kitano I just don't feel like he's very Aramaki-ish.|
|The section 9ners. I assume this is from a screen test or something because I barely remember the two dudes on the left and there was totally an additional female member in the film. Unless I'm losing it.|
|He looks like a lot of things; not sure if a dude named "Kuze" is one of them. Still he was probably the most intriguing character, especially when first unmasked.|
The other Japanese woman in the film is Kaori Mamoi who plays Motoko Kusanagi's mother . . .
|Kaori Mamoi, pictured here in the 2007 movie Sukiyaki Western: Django, a totally-nuts movie which . . . might be better than GITS(?) (depending on what you're into). I just love this picture.|
. . . wait . . . hold on a sec. You mean Mira Killian right? They changed her name in the movie to avoid further controversy right? Since Scarlett Johansson is white and stuff? Like it would be pretty inappropriate to have a white person running around calling themselves Motoko Kusanagi and trying to pass themselves off as Japanese person in film made in 2017 am I right? Like, it could bring back uncomfortable memories of "less-enlightened" by-gone eras in American film . . . Right guys? . . . Guys?
*Ahem* Alright! Let's look at the plot! . . . in part 3 -- the review comes to a head.