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

The Best DC Movies! | Wonder Woman (2017) (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

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Official Movie Poster; cr: IMDb

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Full Team! (l-r: Saїd Taghmaoui, Chris Pine, Gal Gadot, Eugene Brave Rock, Ewen Bremner); cr: IMDb

Long time ago, ladies’ roles were underestimated by the global. They assumed that ladies should be at home, doing their duties as a housewife. But for Diana Prince, it’s different. Since she was a little, she had always dreamt to save the world, but she never knew that there will be a lot of threats that will take her life someday.

That’s what she always thinks. A girl who was born in Themyscira Island, home of the Amazons. All of these happen from a tale which is told by her mother–Queen Hippolyta–about how was the Amazons created by Zeus after his son Ares, God of War, destroyed humanities with evil zests. If this still continues, then there will be an infinity war. Because of this, Zeus decided to kill Ares and created a weapon that can kill Ares (when he returns one day). That weapon is called The Godkiller–and apparently it’s a sword.

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Little Diana (Lilly Aspell) & her mum (Connie Nielsen); cr: IMDb

With age, Themyscira Island suddenly has a human guest named Steve Trevor, an American spy who is assigned to seek some information about what are the German’s armies doing in Turkey. He arrives with a (stolen) plane which has been shot and fallen into the sea together. Because of this, Diana intends to help him by carrying him into the coastline. But, who knows that his presence makes the Amazons asking his reasons, so they entwine him with Lasso of Trust (a magic rope that can make someone says the truths) onto him.

The reason that Steve tells to the Amazons is the same as the tale that her mother told to Diana–and she believes that this doing is Ares’–so she decides to go to the human world with Steve to stop the mess (and bring The Godkiller).

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In the human world, Diana will meet some new stuffs that she had never known before, like putting on a (ethical) outfit, trying new food (like ice cream), slow dance, etc.. Not only that, in human world, Diana starts to reveal the real identity of Ares–which is a speaker of peace on the Imperial War Cabinet named Sir Patrick Morgan–and her true self.

After DC Comics fans waiting for +70 years long, this summer Wonder Woman is officially aired in whole world cinemas. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the movie is adapted from a comic by William Moulton Marston with the same title. And for those who have already read the comic, there are big differences between the movie and the comic for sure, for example Diana’s outfit when she is in London.

Talking about which era, the movie’s takes place when the World War I (between Axis Powers and Allied Powers) finally comes to an end. With the World War I as the time setting, Jenkins wanted to show the audiences how are the situations back then. Starting from the situation at the front line war, and the people’s conditions there. Jenkins also added a little of Old Greek myths in the movie.

The question is, how will DC elevate Wonder Woman’s movie quality while the last DC Movie, Suicide Squad, can be said as a failure?

Diana Prince is just a girl full of curiosity and ambitions. Her curiousness is the entertainment material for the audiences. How come that Diana herself is a descent of the Greek God, and she enters the human world. She must adapt there for sure, but how she’s doing it is such entertaining. One of the scenes that successfully made me laugh is when Steve tries looking for a new outfit for Diana because her outfit that she wears is a little bit naked until she must cover herself with a long black coat. For your information, while Diana trying her new outfit, she assumes that those are battle outfits (and as you guys can see that those are tore widely).

While her ambition is already seen from the beginning of the story. Her wish to join the martial art training with the other well-trained Amazons has already made after she often sees their training. Because of that, her mother’s sister Antiope intends to train Diana quietly–until her mother finds out. Other than that, her wish to stop Ares’s doing–which Diana believes that he’s already came back–makes her going to the human world until her mother overwhelmed to stop her.

And, the appearance of an American spy Steve Trevor changes Diana’s life. His patience combines Diana’s curiosity. For example, when he wants to prove Diana that he really tells her the truth by using Diana’s Lasso of Truth. Aside from his patience, Steve is a (very) careful person. He doesn’t want Diana to run away while running on the mission. But behind that, he actually doesn’t want her to be hurt on the mission.

And as the story goes, the chemistry between these two characters keeps growing until they decide to continue it to the next level. Because of this, fans started to ship (fandom’s language) them. It is so romantic that when the story reaches to an end, they finally separate at the take-off field and Steve gives Diana his dad’s watch as a sign that he really loves her.

The end story of Wonder Woman is such a plot twist! At first, Diana thought that Ares was the general of war from Germany Erich Ludendorff. But, it was totally wrong and the real Ares is Sir Patrick Morgan. Also, there’s a gaffe near the end of the story, which is where Patrick’s (Ares) statement to Diana about the formation of a new and better world after the humanities are destroyed by themselves. So confusing, don’t you think?

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Overall, the movie is beyond my expectations. I always state that the DC Movies are way worse than the Marvel Movies, yet somehow Wonder Woman deserves five thumbs up. I even got touched while watching a scene where Diana uses her shield to protect herself from the Axis Powers’ rain bullets.

 

Movie Title: Wonder Woman (2017) | Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, War | Adaptation: Wonder Woman (DC Comics by William Moulton Marston) | Director: Patty Jenkins | Producer: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle | Screenplay: Allan Heinberg | Composer: Rupert Gregson-Williams | Cinematography: Matthew Jensen | Editor: Martin Walsh | Production Company: DC Films, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films, Tencent Pictures, Wanda Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures | Country: The United States | Language: English | Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Saїd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya, Lilly Aspell, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Ann Wolfe, Ann Ogbomo | Release Date: May 15, 2017 (Shanghai); May 31, 2017 (Indonesia); June 2, 2017 (The US) | Running Time: 141 minutes | Rating: PG-13 | Score: 9.0/10.0

 

 

Another Train of Feels | 聲の形 (2016) (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

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Directed by Naoko Yamada and based on the manga with the same title by Yoshitoki Ooima, the movie focuses about a relationship of a normal boy–who is already a jerk from the first place–and a deaf girl–who is already a shy from the first place. And my question is, “How?”

It all starts back when a normal boy named Shouya Ishida (Miyu Irino; Mayu Matsuoka as the kid version of Shouya) was a sixth grade student. Once, he had a lot of friends–he even formed a gang consisted three members (including him). His friends always joined him jumping into the water from the bridge, playing video games at Shouya’s house, and more. His life was so perfect, until his class was unexpectedly visited by a new student named Shouko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami). She is deaf as you can see, but you can communicate with her by using her own communication book. Simple! Shouko writes what she asks and you just tell her about it. In the end, she will write ‘Thank you!’ This made her classmates wasn’t hesitant to be friend with her, until one day when her class was having a practice for the choir competition. She sang badly that her classmates and the choir teacher shocked. Because of that, her class lost the competition! From this incident, her classmates started to bully her slowly.

From all of them, Shouya was the most severe. Shouko’s communication book was threw away to the pond, she was watered by the water from the hose, she was deliberately made stumble, and more. And the most brutal action that Shouya had ever done is he damaged and threw away her eight hearing aids–until her ears was bleeding. Thanks to his doing, her life became more miserable–so as her mother and her little sister, Yuzuru Nishimiya (Aoi Yuuki). And thanks to his doing too, he must paid back for ‘the tail’. Shouya’s mom had to close her bank account just to pay compensation for Shouko’s eight hearing aids (fyi, a pair of hearing aids can cost around US$ 1000 to more than US$ 4000). Moreover, Shouya had to lose all of his friends and got bullied in the same way as Shouko. While growing up, he felt that he must paid all the compensation which was already paid by his mom, so he sold everything and started part-time jobs.

High school period starts and he’s still being alone in school. He becomes an anti-socialist, every person’s faces in his school are covered with a big ‘X’ symbol–except his family. But, after his meeting with Shouko again, Shouya sets out on a path of redemption by trying to befriend again with Shouko. Moreover, he also starts his very-first relationship (in high school) with a fat-ugly student–who appears to be his classmate–named Tomohiro Nagatsuka (Kenshou Ono) after saving him from a student’s threat by lending him his own bicycle.

In the end, Shouya helps Shouko by losing all of her shyness and calling some of their sixth grade classmates, Miyoko Sahara (Yui Ishikawa), Miki Kawai (Megumi Han), Satoshi Mashiba (Toshiyuki Toyonaga), and Naoko Ueno (Yuuki Kaneko). Not only that, he finally learns something about the true meaning of friendship–which is more beautiful than being alone forever.

Although the movie is slightly different from the manga–a part where Shouya and his new friends are making movie for the bunkasai (cultural festival–usually holds in schools/universities) movie competition and I believe there’s more that I can’t say here–I must say the movie is really good that the story itself successfully makes me cry a lot. Shouya who has repented after the sixth grade incident and tried to be a better person for everyone sake. Shouko who always struggles to run her life fully and befriend with someone though she has a deficiency.

For me, starting a relationship with others may be easy, may be hard–depending on how aboveboard I have to bring myself as a good person and be generous to them. And one moral message that I got from Shouya, “Not every person in the world have negative thoughts about you, if you never try to do something that will make them happy for you.”

Movie Title: 聲の形 (read: Koe no Katachi; A Silent Voice) | Genre: Drama, School, Shounen | Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes | Country: Japan | Language: Japanese | Director: Naoko Yamada | Adaption: Manga (Yoshitoki Ooima) | Music: Kensuke Ushio | Character Design: Futoshi Nishiya | Production Company: Shochiku, Pony Canyon, Kodansha, ABC Animation, Quaras, Kyoto Animation | Release Date: September 17 2016 (Japan), February-June 2017 (Worldwide) | Rating: PG-13 (13 years old or older) | Score: 9.3/10

2017年5月18日

New Atmosphere of the Timeless French Fairy Tale (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

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“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.” – Narrator

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The Official Movie Poster

From the adaptation of French fairy tale, La Belle et la Bête, the movie director Bill Condon had successfully showed (even fixed) us the real side of this fairy tale–which is way different than the animated version. This March, I had experienced the remake of this Disney’s animated movie and it really made my childhood vibes grew again in my head. Although the plot is the same as the animated version, I felt like the remake is way ripping than the animated one.

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Belle (Emma Watson) is an enchanting girl who lived in a small village, but being called ‘a freak’ by the villagers due to her interest in reading. Although she is ‘a freak’, she is very kind to her father named Maurice (Kevin Kline). When her father got imprisoned by The Beast (Dan Stevens) in an abandon castle, she helped him by replacing him and told him to go back to the village. Not just her father, she is also very kind too to her new friends (the household objects) in castle–especially The Beast. She helped them find a way to break the curse after she knew about the curse. But on the other side, she also felt sorrow after she knew about her mother’s death cause. Belle is an independent woman and inspiring us to be like her. And, Disney chose the right person to play this character–we know that Emma is also an independent woman and inspiring us (e.g. as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador).

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Belle’s New Friends (left-rigth); Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), and Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)

Then there was once The ‘Greedy’ Prince, who liked raising taxes and buying all the expensive objects for the castle. After he turned into a hideous beast by the beautiful enchantress, he did not accept his physical appearance and received a magical rose to warn him that he had to learn to love others. If not, he would remain forever in his beast form. Also–an extra condition–The Prince must earned a woman’s love to break the curse.

At his first met with Belle, he could not control his attitudes and always got angry at everything – especially when Belle sneaked into the West Wing and saw the magical rose. But while the story goes, The Prince attitudes suddenly turned 180 degrees–maybe after Belle helped him after he defeated the wolves who attacked Belle. With his new attitudes, he tried to show everything he had in the castle to Belle, especially the library which is Belle’s most favourite place. He also accompanied Belle walking around the castle and played snowball with her. And, the most favourite scene is the dance scene with Belle–which is the most romantic scene along the story goes.

Different from the animated version, before The Prince asked Belle to dance, he already fell in love with her. But, he kept it really quietly before the right time came. Unfortunately, he let Belle to leave the castle and help her father–which made him really heartbroken. But on the other side, he believed that Belle would come back and ask her how she felt about him. His wish came true and Belle loved him and he turned back into human.

Last is Gaston (Luke Evans), a handsome-charismatic hunter – also a former soldier – who live in a same village as Belle. After seeing Belle’s beauty for the first time, he decided to marry her and unfortunately, she refused. But that did not make him stop to find another way to win Belle’s heart. When Belle’s father left, he visited Belle’s house while he deliberately stepped on her vegetables field and made Belle more disappointed with him. “You will never marry me, Gaston!” she said approximately.

Although Belle had already refused his proposal, when Belle’s father came back to the village (to find someone who can save Belle from a hideous beast in the castle), Gaston volunteered to help him finding Belle – in order to propose her again I think. But in the middle of searching, Belle’s father could not find the way that towards the castle and made Gaston disappointed because he had been tricked. When Belle’s father asked Gaston why he helped him, Gaston said that he wanted to propose Belle to be his wife and her father said the same line as Belle before–which made me laughed and felt poor with Gaston.

Felt defeated by both of them–Belle and her father–Gaston’s bad attitudes became more bloom and hit Belle’s father and left him in the woods so he could be eaten by the wolves. When Belle showed The Prince (in a beast form) to the villagers while saving her father, Gaston and the villagers felt threatened so Gaston encouraged the villagers to invade the castle and kill the beast with their own hands. Gaston had nearly killed The Prince (successfully) while one of the castle’s part (where Gaston stood) started crumbling and made him died.

As I had been written before, I really like the remake one than the animated version. In the live action version, more songs released and sang here, and they completely made me really moved–especially “How Does a Moment Last Forever”, “Evermore”, and “Days in the Sun”. They also made the remake version from the animated songs, like “Belle Theme Song”, “Gaston Theme Song”, “Be Our Guest”, “Something There”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “The Mob Song”, and to be honest I really liked hearing those–especially “Gaston Theme Song” and “Be Our Guest” ones.

For its visual, I prefer the live action one because it shows the real side of the fairy tale than the animated version. A nightmarish atmosphere from the beginning until the end of the movie (well, not all of them actually)–I know it is not child-friendly while you can hear many children crying on the cinema. And, like I mentioned before, the movie director had fixed some mistakes from the animated version because it does not make any sense at all. Watch here to see the mistakes.

Overall, this movie makes my mind blown away–I did not expect that the movie will be this good after watching the trailer. I really enjoyed watching this movie and I want to watch this once more since it makes me really moved–especially the songs. I hope you guys also enjoyed watching this movie too. 🙂

 

Movie Title: Beauty and the Beast

Genre: Musical Romantic Fantasy

Running Time: 129 minutes

Country: The United States

Director: Bill Condon

Narration: Hattie Morahan

Music: Alan Menken

Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures & Mandeville Films

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson

Release Date: March 17 2017

Score: 9.0/10

 

ps.: sorry for my bad grammars, guys 🙂