Video game auteur and creator of Metal Gear Solid Hideo Kojima recently shared his thoughts on Rupert Sanders‘ interpretation of Ghost in the Shell, which premiered in Tokyo on March 16 and was released in theaters in the United States on March 31.
Kojima found the film to be, “extremely successful at fitting into the shell of a Hollywood blockbuster” by interpreting the original story’s “ghost,” and noted that this is a good adaptation of the series for anyone who wants something less philosophical than Masamune Shirow‘s original manga or the anime.
He also described Rupert Sanders‘ adaptation as, “surprisingly loyal to the original anime,” drawing a comparison with the Marvel cinematic universe, in which, “the shell (the look of the movie, the setting,the modernized performances and presentation) and the ghost (the characters’ identities, the themes)” are often altered for the sake of the film.
When the trailer for the new Ghost in the Shell film was released back in November 2016, IGN began streaming a video comparing the new film side by side with the anime, and the resemblances were striking even then.
However, Kojima went on to say,
“Even with all the latest visual technology, though, the film basically boils down to a series of faithfully recreated scenes from the anime. This is not a bad thing per se. As a fan of the manga and anime, it was a pleasant surprise, and the respect that the movie shows in mimicking the anime is unquestionable. As a real fan of the original works, though, I can’t help but feel that the production was trapped in the shell of the original, and as a result, it fails to come into its own.”
Kojima concluded that the film, “lacks the wide-reaching influence of the manga and the sheer impact of the anime,” saying that after leaving the theater, “the characters stay behind, locked in their ‘shell,’ unable to break free.” However, he also noted that this may not necessarily be the movie’s fault, since the world is a very different place now than it was when the original work was released.
The original manga was serialized in Kodansha‘s Young Magazine beginning in 1989 and was first released in the United States by Dark Horse in 1995. Back then, the internet was, “a mysterious, brave new frontier,” while now it’s become a, “known quantity.” Whispering Motoko Kusanagi’s line, “the net is vast and infinite,” can’t have the same effect today as it did back then.
The film has underperformed at the box office thus far, tracking with a loss of US$60 million. It had an estimated gross total of $31,573,450 as of the second weekend in the United States and opened in Japan and China on April 7. According to the Paramount distribution chief, the film’s reviews may have been affected by the whitewashing controversy over the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the Major.
Kodansha and Production I.G have announced a new Ghost in the Shell anime to be co-directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) and Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed). The format and release date have not yet been announced.
Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions are currently working on the upcoming video game Death Stranding. The game will star Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead and feature character models based on director Guillermo del Toro and actor Mads Mikkelsen. Kojima has hinted at an anticipated release date in 2018.