Just How Often Can Major Get Blown Up in Ghost in the Shell (2017)?

Ghost in the Shell

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The live-action Hollywood “remake” of Ghost in the Shell (GitS) hardly succeeds in waxing the philosophical from Masamune Shirow’s manga or the anime directed by Mamoru Oshii. While I knew these ideas will be the farthest thing the hive mind planned for the Western adaptation, I secretly hoped for some redemption. A few scenes from the anime were nicely recreated in live-action format, but I wanted more substance than style, to which this film had in abundance. When this movie is partially shot with Alexa 6K (65mm) cameras, I’m hoping the National Geographic IMAX theatre in my hometown gets it during this film’s second run at theatres so I can see this movie proper on a square screen.

While I did not expect much of the Frankenstein-style discourse to exist throughout the film, there were a few moments Major (Scarlett Johansson) tries to understand who she is, why she was created and where her “ghost” comes from. This actress basically got a chance to play a different kind of Black Widow, a person stripped of her identity to become a professional hit-man (woman) and not have “family” to worry about. When she’s the main character, at least fans of this actress got what they wanted instead of waiting for a Marvel Comics Entertainment version.

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DreamWorks Brings One More Animated Product to the Small Screen

According to License! Global, “DreamWorks Animation focus on expansion into TV began with the 2012 acquisition of Classic Media’s property portfolio, which includes The Lone Ranger, Lassie and Where’s Waldo?”

Dreamworks LogoDreamworks Animation is continuously branching out and the small screen is just as important as the big screen for widening the appeal of several key properties. Dragons: Riders of Berk will soon returns with season two, Dragons: Defenders of Berk. And Turbo did well enough to have a television series, Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team), to premiere on Netflix December ’13.

In the past decade, they have brought their theatrical hits like Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Monsters vs Aliens the Animated Series to the small screen. Although they took longer than usual to bring to television, the response has generally been positive. Still in development since 2011 is Future Earth, a project with director Steven Speilberg lending a hand.

“Future Earth aims to be an epic mini-series examining what life on Earth will be like in 25, 50 and 100 years. The mini-series will draw from a vast number of sources, including the leading futurists, scholars and great minds of today, to dramatize and explore how various facets of our daily lives – health and medicine, technology, the environment, the military, the economy and media – will evolve over the next century.”

According to License! Global, “The focus on expansion into TV began with the 2012 acquisition of Classic Media’s property portfolio, which includes The Lone Ranger, Lassie and Where’s Waldo?

Now as for whether or not those old programs are going to be remade, that’s uncertain. Fans eager for Future Earth are still waiting. So what’s just a few more years?

Monsters vs Aliens vs the TV

Nickelodeon and Dreamworks’ low-key promotion for Monsters vs Aliens the Animated Series isn’t helping.

monsters-vs-aliens-post-3Dreamworks’ movie Monsters vs Aliens (MvA) was a great tribute to the iconic monster movies from the 50’s. These creatures banded together to fight space invaders. The two direct-to-video sequels, Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Night of the Living Carrots played tribute to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Night of the Living Dead. They were hilariously well done. Fans could see that the production teams involved in those products clearly loved the genre, and that fondness is evident in how these three tales are produced.

But what happened to that love in the television series? The television premiere on Nickelodeon was barely passable. The team involved in bringing the series to the small screen must not share the same passion that the story creators of this series, Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon, had. The premise of the television show lack punch.

By episode two and three, all the fun drama and humor from the movie and direct-to-video shorts are gone in favor for more derivative product in the style of Spongebob Squarepants. Even when Susan loses her ability to turn into a giant, the depth she expresses for her lost ability is minuscule. Some viewers may well wonder if any of these any decent character development will occur in the series.

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Monsters vs Aliens, A Movie Review

As an action/comedy, all the elements required to make Monsters vs Aliens hilarious is here. But young children will not necessarily get all the jokes.

Monsters-vs-aliens-posterWatch out Shrek! Dreamworks’ Monsters vs Aliens is more than just another franchise in the making. It has now arrived on the boob tube and where the movie fits in is with a blu-ray/dvd video release that delivers a bunch of extra content. The upgrade to the higher-resolution format is worthwhile, and the 3D version on the smaller screen is just as good as the big-screen presentation. And in a combo set, the DVD has extras likes deleted scenes whereas the Blu-ray has an animated extra, B.O.B.’s Big Break in 3D.

While this film does not compare to PIXAR’s movies for depth or meaning, it does keep up with recent 3D trends. The animated short, Monsters vs. Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots became available first on the Nintendo 3DS first, and, of course in 3D, natch! The visuals in both products are very eye popping, and the visual experience is more enjoyable than grating. And the movie experience is a wonderful tribute to the B-movies of yesteryear with a dash of dyslexia mixed in. That is, sci-fi connoisseurs will find plenty of pop culture references of even some current films of the past century to snicker at, but as for Godzilla—he’s a fluffy bug!

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Where Have All the Dragons Gone?

Whatever the reasons are for the live action show or comic book to be delayed, moved or fixed, the wait for where the Dragons of Berk will wake next will be excruciating.

How to train your dragon 3 movieThe appetite for more How to Train your Dragon (HTTYD) products is strong. Even before the end of season one of the animated series, Dragons: Riders of Berk, Ape Entertainment announced a comic book continuation of this particular saga beginning October 2012. Issue #2 was slated for December ’12 release.

Those months have come and gone with no signs or further press from the powers that be—DreamWorks or Diamond Press—about its fate. An inquiry to the comic book producer was met with no response.

Hopefully this comic book is not vaporware—a term borrowed from the computer software industry where ideas are lauded but nothing ever materializes. The television series only further developed the world of Berk, the original novels are continuing with at least two more books in the horizon, and the movie sequel is slated to play after season two ends.

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