A SOULFUL HUMANOID ROBOT │ GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017) (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

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Theatrical Release Poster; cr: IMDb

Aplenty of skyscraper buildings. Neon lights are everywhere, embellishing the buildings and the streets. Some buildings are running the high-definition hologram advertisements. The population of robots have the same appearance as the population of real humans, even the total of the real ones are actually outnumbered by the total of robots. And the cutest part is when a group of geisha robots suddenly turn into geisha-like spider robots. Those are the visualizations I got from a movie which is directed by Rupert Sanders (known for directing Snow White and the Huntsman) and had the anime version since 1995, which is directed by Mamoru Oshī.

With the time setting of Japan’s advanced technology era–located in Hong Kong–Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson) must accept the situation after the boat which she rode with her parent was destroyed by the terrorists and caused a big damage to her body (except her brain), also her parent’s death. And by the world’s leading developer of augmentative technology Hanka Robotics, Mira’s body is submitted to Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) to create a new mechanical body called ‘shell’. This body is a Hanka Robotics’ secret project and can be worked if the body is connected to the human brain. And such an unexpected event that Mira is the only one of her kind who successes this secret project. Why? It is believed that Mira still has the ‘ghost’ in herself or in other word, it is a human soul.

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‘Major’ Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), cr: IMDb

A year later, Mira has attained a new rank ‘Major’ and placed in Section 9, a group who is led by Daisuke Aramaki (‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano). One night, Section 9 gets a mission to thwart a terrorists attack on a Hanka Robotics business conference in a hotel. But when Mira destroys the geisha robots–which have turned into geisha-like spider robots for some reasons–one of them leaves an odd voice message.

 “Collaborate with Hanka Robotics and be destroyed.”

A big question appears in Section 9 about where does the voice message come from and what is the meaning of it. But, it can be solved quickly after one member named Togusa (Chin Han) finds out who is the culprit with his augmentative technology, and he is a hacker named Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt). And by Aramaki, Mira with her very close partner Batou (Pilou Asbæk) go to the Hanka Robotics and visit Dr. Dahlin (Anamaria Marinca) about her findings from a hacked geisha robot. After knowing that the findings are not as much as expected, Mira braves herself to do the ‘Deep Dive’ into a hacked geisha robot for finding out an answer about Kuze’s whereabouts–even in the end she is also hacked by Kuze.

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(l-r): Kuze (Michael Carmen Pitt) & ‘Major’ Mira Killian (Scarlett Johansson), cr: IMDb

On her effort in finding Kuze’s whereabouts, Mira always gets haunted by her past or in her word is ‘glitches’, yet she tries to ignore it. And while the story is ongoing, Kuze tells the truths when the both of them meet and makes Mira remembering clearly about her past. This takes her to the death of the scientist team in Hanka Robotics (including Doctor Ouelet who is revealing the real truth of Mira’s past), also her little reunion with her mother and his brother Hideo (whom surprisingly is Kuze himself).

I must say that I’m not a big fan of old animes, but this movie–adapted from a manga by Masamune Shirō–catches my attention. Why? Because this movie will take the audiences into the Japan’s future atmosphere, both in terms of city and lifestyle. The other reason is I really love anime, so if the Hollywood movie teams want to make a live-action movie from a/an manga/anime adaptation, they must make it very well and touching otherwise fans from around the world will not respect it. I like the story personally, but sadly I don’t really like with the character development from each characters.

I’m expecting Mira to be a strong and emotional character–as depicted in the story–but it turns out 180 degrees. She is so expressionless–and the way she does ‘it’ is clearly forced (maybe this is how they depicting Mira). Not to mention, Mira’s action scenes in this movie are in counts than Mira’s chit-chatting scenes with Section 9 members (especially with her close-partner Batou). Whereas in Marvel movies, there are countless of Black Widow’s action scenes than chit-chatting scenes with her teammates–that does not go for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, more chit-chatting scenes there and it makes me queasy.

Below Mira are the auxiliary characters that for me are not very important and/or leave us some imposed impressions. The first one is Mira’s close-partner, Batou. Though he is depicted as caring person towards Mira (and his fellow Section 9 members), he’s just the same as Mira, expressionless and clearly forced in some scenes. One of them is when he expresses his longing towards Mira (with mind-com) while on their mission in a yakuza pub to search Kuze’s whereabouts.

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(l-r): Daisuke Aramaki (‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano) & Cutter (Peter Ferdinando), cr: IMDb

Then, there is this Section 9 leader named Aramaki–the only character who uses the real Japanese actor. At first, there is nothing wrong with him until he successfully creates an ambiguous. He is the only Japanese speaker in the movie while the others speak English–especially the figures from Japan (and one of them is Kaori Momoi who plays Mira’s mother). With such a positive thinking, I started to think that in that time, translator devices have been highly developed from I expected, so the Non-Japanese people will unnecessary speak Japanese. Since in this movie the most casts are from Hollywood, so yeah…

Last is Kuze who appears to be the most tiresome character in the movie. Aside from his way of toneless speaking, he doesn’t have a soul (including emotion) like a robot–and that truly makes me sleepy. That goes the same when he is told to express as if imposed and it makes me want to puke.

In addition of liking the story, I also like the visualizations. Though the movie takes place in Hong Kong, I like how the team depicts the atmosphere of the future in Japan. The city which is very identical for the skyscraper buildings, coupled with a thousand of lights, making it very future-like. But the most interesting thing from this movie is the high-definition hologram advertisements–and they run them without projector screens. I don’t know why I like these, but I’m expecting these to happen in the next ten years. Hihi…

Overall, the movie is quite good. But because of the not-so strong enough at the character development from each characters, the movie quality should decrease. Oh and by the way, it feels awkward for me if the Asian fiction characters are played by Hollywood actors/actress. Why? To me personally, it is very difficult to fathom into these characters. They are so unpredictable and (sometimes) full of emotions. That is why all Asian actors/actress are really appreciating their own character and trying to play it well. No offense because that is my opinion.

 

Ps: I know it’s pretty late… but that’s okay (also forgive my grammars)

 

Movie Title: Ghost in the Shell (2017) │ Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller │ Adaptation: Ghost in the Shell (manga by Masamune Shirō) │ Director: Rupert Sanders │ Producer: Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Steven Paul, Michael Costigan │ Screenplay: Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, Ehren Kruger │ Composer: Clint Mansell, Lorne Balfe │ Cinematography: Jess Hall │ Editor: Neil Smith, Billy Rich │ Production Company: DreamWorks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Arad Production, Shanghai Film Group Corporation, Huahua Media │ Country: The Unites States │ Language: English, Japanese │ Cast: Scarlet Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Carmen Pitt, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Peter Ferdinando, Anamaria Marinca, Kaori Yamamoto, Andrew Morris, Kaori Momoi, Michael Wincott, Rila Fukushima │ Release Date: March 16, 2017 (Shinjuku, Japan); March 31, 2017 (The U.S.) │ Running Time: 107 minutes │ Rating: PG-13 │ Score: 2.0/5.0

Getaway on Australia’s Heaven

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Seagulls in Moreton Bay

It’s so fun for having a getaway on somewhere. Feels like it’s my own ‘heaven’.

Is what I felt when I was having a holiday on an island which is located more or less than 30 kilometres from Brisbane’s port by ferry ship. They say that in this island, you can try a lot of activities here, like sand tobogganing (it is basically a sand-sliding), ATV riding, dolphin feeding, and more. They also say that this island has the best beach in Australia (am I right?).

All of these can be found at Tangalooma Island Resort–or formerly known as Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort. Located near the coast of Moreton Island, Queensland, Australia, it has about 300 rooms–as a variety of hotel units, villas, and apartments. And because the resort offers various activities–and an alluring view from the room’s window–it has successfully made guests endure themselves there. Not only that, the resort also sells a lot of authentic souvenirs with affordable prices (though for me they’re not really affordable enough), and opens restaurants/cafés who are ready to serve their bellies.

Like I mentioned before, Tangalooma Island Resort offers a various activities that can guests try. There are land based activities and water based activities. For land based activities, the resort offers Helicopter Scenic Flights, 4WD Car Hire, ATV Quad Bike Tour, Desert Safari Tour (with Sand Tobogganing), etc.. As for water based activities, the resort offers Parasailing, Snorkel the Tangalooma Wrecks, Scuba Diving, Whale Watching Tour, Dolphin Feeding Experience, etc..

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And on one-night holiday in Tangalooma Island Resort, I got a chance to experience sand tobogganing and dolphin feeding.

Desert Safari Tour (with Sand Tobogganing)

This is the first activity I experienced in Tangalooma Island Resort and this happened after having lunch with my tour-group members. To get to the desert, you need a certain vehicle called 4WD (4-wheel drive) and it’s already designed for off-roads (e.g. deserts and swamps). So, the resort staff straightly took us to the 4WD vehicle’s park and had a ride with it. While on the ride, the driver will share you everything about the environment around Tangalooma Island Resort–and Moreton Island (though Tangalooma is the most topic he’s talking about). Oh, the driver will also remind you to fasten the seat belt, because it’ll be a bumpy ride, and remind you to keep your hands/head out of windows, otherwise you’ll get hit by the tree branches.

The ride took about 30 minutes long and we finally arrived at the desert. The desert is so wide, yet so alluring. So, it is very recommended for all instagrammers around the world–since the desert is so wide with the blue sky as the background. And it’s not just a wide desert, there’s also a giant pile of sand which is always used for sand tobogganing.

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Seriously, I couldn’t wait to do this activity! But first, time for the activity briefing by the professional coach. First, he will ask you if you already take your sand board. Then, he will teach you about how to climb the sand pile. “Please step on a track which already has footprints, do not step on a clean track!” is what he said to my group. Last, he will tell you how to enjoy this activity.

“Make sure that your sand board has a smiley face (😊)–which is a spot for placing your face. Then, place your chest parallel to the board, so the board won’t be wobbly. Afterwards, place your arms in position with the face while holding the sides of the board tightly.”

After that, you can climb the sand pile. And to be honest, the climbing thing is very tiring, because the slope reaches around 80 degrees (yeah, I know I’m exaggerating right now). I also suffer the acrophobia (afraid of heights) to be honest, so whenever I reach the high places I’ll be scared (but my acrophobia is not as bad as you/people think). I finally felt relieved after I reached the top, which is the start point of sand tobogganing. When my turn came, I tried to make myself calmer and listen to the coach’s last briefing (again). After that, the coach pushed my sand board and slid down–while the professional photographer took a picture of me.

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Here’s me doing the sand tobogganing 🙂

And my final result, AMAZING!!! I would like to do it again, but can I skip the climbing one? (exaggerating spotted again, lol) Oh, and by the way, you can buy your photo of you’re doing the sand toboganning at the Tangalooma Photo Shop.

Dolphin Feeding Experience

This is the second activity which is held at 6 PM, and guests can join the fun by participating (for those who don’t want to can watch from the bench). After getting some rest, I straightly went to the beach and waited for 6 PM coming, with a super-duper cold air–since it’s winter in Australia.

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Where the dolphin feeding takes place (cr: http://www.travelonline.com)

By the time reached 6 PM, a small group of wild dolphins started coming to the coastline. Yeah, you’re right–wild dolphins. Because they are wild dolphins, there are some procedures that you must follow. Why? Because one little mistake can end the activity on that day. Believe me.

So, before you start feeding the wild dolphin, wash your hand first with a clean water in a bucket. After that, you start picking its food–which is a small fish–from the other bucket and  hold its lower body part tightly, so the dolphin can easily eat it. Then, you must walk slowly to the water, so the dolphin won’t get away. And, give the fish slowly to the dolphin’s mouth. It seems easy, but like I mentioned before, one little mistake can end the activity.

I got nervous when I was about to start. But, with the staff’s help, I could do this activity smoothly. The dolphin liked me, I was so happy. And when I fed the wild dolphin named Rani (who is surprisingly a male dolphin and the leader of the group they say), a professional photographer took my picture. And like the sand tobogganing, you can buy your photo of you’re doing the dolphin feeding at the Tangalooma Photo Shop.

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Here’s me and my family doing the dolphin feeding 🙂

Overall, I enjoyed these two activities in Tangalooma Island Resort. It is true that this resort is a ‘heaven’, and I would like to stay there for a long time (my wallet’s ‘crying’ right now). I think that’s it and thank you for reading this–eventhough I have grammar and vocabulary problems.

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Moreton Bay at sunset

And if you want to know more about Tangalooma Island Resort or have interests to go there, you can check here.

 

ps: I also write this too at creators.co (pls kindly check)