GHOST IN THE SHELL (film review)

Anime has had a massive influence on my art, mainly my use of color and lighting, as has the cyberpunk genre has influenced my writing style. I do these little film reviews for a small group of friends on Facebook who seem to enjoy them and thought I’d post this one here since it had an impact on my art which of course relates to War Dogs.______________________

 

(this one’s a little long-ish) was nowhere near as bad as some made it out to be, but it was not as good as it should have been. It’s not Blade Runner but its also not Super Mario Bros bad. Might get a little Spoilery…

PROS
The visuals are exceptional. Amazing, stunning, pick your favorite term and go with it. The director was smart enough to pluck the most iconic moments from the original anime and re-create them faithfully, almost note for note.

The color scheme is dynamic and vibrant with lots of shadowy areas creeping in at the edges. It gives the impression that advertising in holographic form took precedence over human life/ The corporations generate their artificial daylight while the people skulk around in the darkness beneath buy and selling illegal cyber enhancements the way they do with drugs nowadays.

The action is slick and fast and there’s more of it in this film than the anime but there is also a fair amount of discussion amongst side characters about the nature of the soul, human reality, cyber life and things of that nature but nowhere near as in depth as it was in the anime where the seemed to wax poetic about cyber life every chance they got.

As far as the look goes, its top notch stuff.

Now…

CONS
Its like a hot girl or guy, who read METAPHYSICS FOR DUMMIES once and now wants to have a deep discussion with you about it but doesn’t really understand what he / she is talking about.

The plot is superficial and has tiny glimpses of emotion but flees from them quickly without allowing them to settle in your mind before the next shootout / chase scene occurs. You can’t argue that its the film’s time-frame that prohibited this because the anime ran for a shorter length of time and did explore the topics much more efficiently. Its definitely dumbed down for American audiences.

The film is sleek, fast, and sexy as all hell but ultimately devoid of any depth. They got all the skin right and very little of the heart.

As far as the white washing controversy goes, /i don’t think its applicable here after seeing the film, especially right after re0visiting the anime the night before. There are, I’d say, an equal number of Asians in the film as in the anime and Major looks white in the anime.

Once Major finds out the truth about her past and memories being faked just to inspire her to kill terrorists and she sets out to meet her real mother, a Japanese woman living in a tiny Tokyo apartment, we experience one of the few moments where some heart begins to shine through but before you can feel something, its over and we’re off to the next thing.

There is a definite acknowledgment to who Major really is towards the end when she visits her own grave and meets her birth mother there that could have been a real tear jerker moment but NOPE, gotta go! Things to do, revenge to seek, people to shoot.

So, for visual style alone GiTS deserves a 3. for story content and emotional depth – 1.5. And no, you can’t combine those and give it a 4.5 🙂

Depending on what you want out of the film; action or drama with a healthy amount of dialogue revolving around the soul and cybernetics and the like, make your choice, spend your money, or wait for it to hit Netflix.

I think it will find a following once its streaming.

Admiring my friends from overseas

Received an FB messenger call from one of my friends overseas and always appreciate and admire their American English no matter what level it’s at. It’s way better than I could do at their language and find it charming.

I hate it when people mock people from other countries when they have any difficulty with the language here. Those people can go fuck themselves.

Go to someone elses country and try to speak their language and see how well you do.

I think most people in this country don’t realize what an honor it is for someone from another country to speak to you in a language YOUR most comfortable with.

They’re stepping WAY outside of their comfort zone to interact with you ion your language and are respecting the country they’re in at the time time by doing so, all at the risk of being mocked by some ignorant American who wouldn’t have the balls to do the same.

I try and pick up some words in Chinese, Korean, Kazakh, basically any country where I have some friends I’d love to speak to in their native tongue but my brain is too full of stuff it seems. Still, I keep trying now and then.

To all my friends from other countries, never stop trying and never be embarrassed. You guys are awesome.

My first article on Hmoodle.com

I was recently asked by the good people at Hmoodle (an Asian entertainment and lifestyle website) to become one of their contributors. This is my first article for them.

http://www.hmoodle.com/canadas-hidden-gem

Die proud

No one with any brains or sense of reality gets into comics because they think they’re gonna make a fortune. That’s just crazy talk. You do comics because you HAVE to do comics. You HAVE to tell stories no matter how long it takes, how frustrating it can be putting it all together, how stressful it can all get when the Self Doubt monster comes nipping at your heels late at night when you’re trying to write a scene and imagine how everyone in the scene is reacting while making sure important story information is being conveyed without sounding like a Star Trek episode packed with exposition.

It might not be as physically demanding as hammering nails into wood or carrying 80 lb bags of cement but it is hard work nonetheless. Physical labor takes no thought, only strength. There’s very little room for failure. You hammer the thing your boss tells you to hammer, you move the boxes where you’re supposed to move them, whatever the case may be, and every two weeks you get your thanks in the form of a paycheck. There is no threat to your ego, your sense of self worth…nothing of the kind.

But at the risk of sounding like a pretentious artist, there is much to be said about having a sense of pride in what you do. Something that cannot be given to you no matter what they tell you or how much they pay you.

I love comics. I grew up on them, but I also love animation and film and music and ALL of those things have worked their way into War Dogs.

If I NEVER get to make a film I can still die proud knowing I made this graphic novel series. Everything I’ve learned from studying film on my own has made its way into these pages. Whatever I’ve learned about story-telling from the masters, either through podcasts, articles, or DVD commentaries, has made its way into the story.

And some personal pain as well. This graphic novel took a lot out of me and I never saw it coming. I thought I was just going to tell a cool gangster story in the vein of the Asian action films I’ve loved, illustrate it all, and be done. You know, pout it out there for sale and see what happens and not worry too much.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

These characters are all based on real people; design wise, but some of who they are in real life has been worked into the dialogue. It’s mostly me but it’s still partly them.

I wanted to quit so many times during the writing phase because I lost confidence. I thought I was wasting my time. Thought Asians would look at this thing and wrinkle their noses. Feared it would just go ignored and I’d have wasted a few years of my time on it.

But the creative process changed at some point and went from being stressful to being fun and exciting and full of surprises.

The feedback on the teaser (available in the Gallery) couldn’t have been better if I paid for it. So I’m taking it as a good sign for the future.

And still, no one has done anything like this yet…not with / for Asians.

To anyone who’s read the teaser and been hooked right away, I guarantee you, you have NO idea what’s coming. There’s some serious character development and some fucked up shit goes down with Xue and the rest of the cast.

You will get mad at certain characters and your loyalties may switch before the book is done. In the end this story will stay with you and will feel like you just watched an intense Asian Action Drama like Oldboy, No Tears For the Dead, or The Raid; Redemption.

You will be moved.