Movie review: Ghost in the Shell 2017

I can still remember watching the animated version in the 90s. Back then it was a mindblowing experience, especially for the early teenager I was back then. I never felt at home with anime, but this was different: bold ideas, bold questions and a paradoxical ending. And now I have the possibility to rewatch this in movie form – what could possibly go wrong?

Sadly, a lot. The movie tries to follow the original very closely, at least visually, initially also the original narrative, but at the cost of dumbing down the whole thing.

Examples ( hurray spoilers ):

-The villain of the original anime is some AI gone rogue. The ultimate sin of the movie was to replace him with some emo hippie.

-The real villain of the movie is a joke. Acting in the name of the government, yet always alone without any superiors. I guess they labeled him generic bad guy in the script.

Well, they have gotten the visuals right ( must be impossible to mess them up with such a budget ). But for the rest, expect a hollow shell without any ghost.

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Movie review: Passengers

Trailer

Finally decided to give this movie a try. It offers opulent and truly creative sci-fi visuals, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt trapped in what is supposed to be a romance setting in outer space, that’s about everything that is good about this movies summed up in one sentence.

The biggest issue with this movie: It cannot really decide what it wants to be. We have moments of utter abandonment in outer space ( the drama part ), attempts at the obvious romance ( the romance part ) and later some heroic action ( the action part ). Neither of them are convincing and fall short of their possibilities.

Here’s the plot: An engineer on a spaceship travelling to a distant planet is accidentally resurrected from long-distance travel stasis by a malfunctioning system and discovers that he is the only human being on the ship who came out of stasis, and that 90 years too early.

It is easy to comprehend that his reaction is pure and unfiltered despair. Getting back to sleep is impossible and his only company is the robotic bartender. The camera follows him wandering around the ship, enjoying all of its luxuries while still yearning for human company and slowly turning into a complete slob with a castaway-style beard.

This part of the movie could be exploring the human condition and cosmic loneliness, but no, no insightful philosophical monologues, no plans except for trying to smash the door to the bridge, just an average guy slowly degrading into a total slob.

Then he discovers sleeping beauty Aurora and develops an unhealthy obsession, reading her files and believing he has found the perfect woman without ever explaining why? Strangely enough, he does not care at all about the other 5000 passengers.

By now the next steps he will take should be obvious to the viewer and we get transported directly from the despair part to the romance part. If you thought the first part was wasting its potential, you will agree that the romance part is equally bad.

The creepy side of the guy is never explored, which might have more interesting than boring the audience with the intricacies of courting. Their love abruptly metamorphoses into hate as the robotic bartender tells her the truth. But then, we still get no real drama, some superficial tears, broken hearts etc but not more.

Then enters the action part: Something in the ship is broken and they have to fix it or face inevitable annihilation. Well, nothing to add here. Why all the red light on a spaceship when an alarm goes off? Is it one of the unwritten rules of the sci-fi genre or just careless imitation? Who cares.

Then there is an ending. A really bad ending: The guy saves the spaceship, finally dies and the girl brings him back to life by mashing all the buttons of the medical tube. Now that the guy has come back to life, all his misdeeds are forgiven and love enters the stage again. Congratulations, he finally got away with his plan. They lived happily ever after, never touching the dark side of their relationship again.

There is one thing missing completely from the whole movie: depth. Everything, the characters, their dialogs, their actions are shallow and artificial. Well, one can enjoy the visuals and the acting, but this still does not compensate for the messed up plot and the cheesy dialoges.

My verdict: 3 stars out of 5. Watch it, if you are a genre enthusiast or die-hard fan of one of the actors. If not, stay away from it.