Ghost in the Shell

Last night I saw the movie Ghost in the Shell. I went in with a poor attitude because of all of the reviews I had been hearing.
I thought it was a very good movie. I’ve seen the original, although I’ve forgotten many of the details. And this is Hollywood doing what Hollywood is very good at; they dumbed it down for the North American audience. This is not a bad thing. With many Japanese Anime movies I’ve seen, I’m often left with the question as to what was going on. I still have no idea what happened at the end of Princess Mononoke, and don’t even get me started on Akira. This movie, I could follow what was going on. It made sense.
They had good action scenes, but they also knew when to not show the action, but just the aftermath. It’s a nice touch, especially when you can get zoned out with too much violence.
I have two complaints. First, the villain was too villainous. He did evil things for very shallow reasons. At times it seemed he was doing things just because he was a villain and did not have a practical reason. The second is that they didn’t have to be so faithful to the original; I did not care for the fact that there were huge holographic displays the size of buildings all over the city. They did not add to the story, and I kept thinking about how they were going to cause distracted driving accidents. Especially when a holographic fish the size of a minivan is apparently allowed to swim into traffic. (And don’t say self-driving cars when you see characters holding steering wheels as they are in the vehicles.)
I don’t feel it was whitewashed. Scarlett Johansson was a very good actress, and she was able to do things that made it feel she wasn’t quite human; she looked odd, the way she held herself. And if you are creating an artificial body for someone, wouldn’t you make them look like one of the most beautiful people in the world? Heck, if I was given the option to look like Scarlett Johansson, I’d probably take it.
The one thing I’ve now discovered in Vancouver is that you have to be careful about discussing a movie while in the theatre. You may discover that you are being overheard by someone who actually worked on the film.

Man Up

When I was in Edmonton, I had a regular Monday movie night. In Vancouver I don’t have that luxury. Even if I did start having one, I wouldn’t have any regular attendees. I don’t know many people here, and even if I did, downtown is not a place that is easy to do a quick commute to. Either you have to take a train, or the parking is expensive or you already live there. In any case, I don’t have a regular movie night.
There have been consequences of this: Without the threat of incipient guests, there is less pressure to keep the place clean and tidy; Since I can no longer rely on people to eat excess chocolate I am not buying any for myself.
The most immediate factor is that I don’t have an outlet for decompressing after watching the film. It’s nice to discuss a movie. If it is a good one, you want to commiserate with people about it. So, now I have to do it via my blog.
On Monday, I watched the movie Man Up. I liked it. The premise is that a woman steals another person’s blind date. There is only one point where I felt that the idiot ball had appeared. Surprisingly it wasn’t when the woman steals the date; that part flowed logically and I could understand how it happened without disliking her for her actions. It was more when she was being blackmailed awkwardly but it was over quickly enough. The “villain” in the piece was more stupidly selfish than anything else, which is a trait I can plausibly believe. I even liked the person who had the date stolen; she handled it in an a way that helped the movie.
And I always like a movie where a single person has a crowd of strangers help him achieve something wonderful. Simon Pegg did it in Run Fatboy Run and he does it again here.