Blade Runner Final Cut It’s The Unicorn

Movie review

Date of Release:

Director: Ridley Scott

Genre: Science fiction

Degree of Cyberpunk: Moderate

Rate: 9/10

 

At last, after 25 long years of waiting, Ridely Scott is going to release The Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Obviously, there is a massive difference between the Director’s Cut in 1992 and The Final Cut to be released.

A unicorn.

There is a unicorn dream sequence that can be spotted in the Director’s Cut but now it’s extended and much longer. Deckard’s daydream of a unicorn jumping around, in a super slow motion, in the forest is the pivotal scene that left the audience wanting for more.

Ridley explained this scene before. He said that in the end. Gaff couldn’t find it to like Deckard, and the reason is still unknown. He stated that Deckard’s life span is still unknown and he is slowly becoming a human. Gaff, on the other hand, left behind an origami, a silver paper that people can usually found in a pack of cigarette. Therefore, the unicorn in his dream just indicates that it would be unusual for Deckard to talk to anyone about that thing. However, if Gaff has any idea about this, it’s just his way of telling that he knows everything and read the file already.

Compared to its 1997 version, the Blade Runner film and audio are both impressive. Instead of the original negatives, the digital print of the movie dramatically changes. Also, the 2019 dystopic landscape of Los Angeles is equally impressive. Their opening sequence involves some sort of flames leaping towards the sky from the darkness is a good way to catch the attention of viewers.

The soundtrack is good as well. It was composed by Vangelis and it’s very likable than before. It complements the story very well, all the intense and speedy scenes to the slow and breath-taking scenes, the soundtrack is enough to send you chills.

Notice how the Blade Runner introduces the decaying world where multicultural inhabitants are all struggling to survive. They live mostly in the abandoned office buildings and struggle in the busy city streets as well.

I notice two exotic dancers with hockey masks and a lot of interesting things about this movie—making the entire footage appealing. The scenes are well-played. For instance, the death scene of Roy Batty features a dove flying peacefully in the sky. But there are some scenes that should be included in the movie, are missing. For instance, the first encounter of Gaff and Deckard in the noodle bars. There are also lines that are completely different from the earlier versions. Whether it’s to improve the dialogue or it’s a failed attempt to change some of the story’s plot—that I don’t know. For instance, the line “One of them got friend running through an electrical field” is changed into “Two of them got fried running through an electrical field.”

Conclusion: While it can’t be hard not to compare the earlier version of the Blade Runner, you cannot deny the fact that the latest version is much better. While there are scenes that are removed and dialogue that were tweaked, it’s still a good movie that you shouldn’t miss at all.

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Initial Impressions Review of Solid State Society

September 12, 2006

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Introduction: I recently saw Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Society in its original Japanese without Subtitles. At a cost of over $3.2 million, this lavish continuation of the Ghost In The Shell saga is a feature length movie of the successful Stand Alone Complex TV series. Because I haven’t seen it with subtitles, this will be a different type review than is normally posted here. I don’t speak Japanese, but thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s hard to get across just how different this feature-length film is compared to what’s come before it. There’s a lot more atmosphere and quiet calm about it, with less emphasis on action.

~Ste McNay

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Overview: Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society premiered on Japanese pay-per-view television on September 1st 2006. Eagerly anticipated by fans, it is exclusive to its native country. It is not scheduled to reach America and Europe until sometime in 2007! The DVD in Japan is set to be released on November 24th. There’s been no indication of DVD specs. but sales to other countries will sky-rocket, depending if there are English subs or English dub that predates other regions’ releases by up to six months.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The Story: The story takes place two years after the events in Stand Alone Complex 2nd GiG, after Kusanagi left Section 9. Section 9 has expanded to a team of 20 field operatives with Togusa acting as the field lead. They are confronted by a number of mysterious cases that lead them to the main culprit, a super wizard class hacker – The Puppeteer – but all is not what it seems…

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Into The Shell: As an English viewer with no grasp of Japanese, watching Solid State Society was quite a satisfying experience. Good filmmaking and storytelling is supposed to be about images, and this illustrates that you don’t need to know the language to understand what’s going on. We are shown and we see, and we are part of the whole viewing experience. I’m an avid fan of all things Ghost In The Shell and I was keen to set my sights on seeing Solid State Society. This is what I think of it after seeing it twice. It’s a film that gets inside your head and will leave you thinking about it, pondering the meanings for days to come with its advanced visuals.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The Sound: Amazing layered soundscapes with movie-style FX that sound really cool. It gives more than a few Hollywood blockbusters a run for it’s aural senses. I’d say that DTS is definitely the order of the day for the DVD. We have digital sound effects that add to the realism, but it’s the little atmospheric details that really blew me away.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The driving scenes are a perfect example of the impressive sound design that has gone into Solid State Society. It may not have had a theatrical run, but the theatrical nature of the film is evident in the sight and sound of every shot. The confrontation of characters in the middle of the film is a perfect example of the use of direct sound, when, at one point, two bullets go head-to-head, in-shot, in-flight – a moment of suspended time that will send shivers down your spine, heightened with standout sound design.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The Visuals: Beautiful backgrounds. Light reflections on the characters bring this animated film alive and in a league of its own. Think Blade Runner style upped a few notches, transferred to anime, and you have the “look” of the film. It’s beautiful! It’s clear a lot of effort has gone into making Solid State Society.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The cinematography has a green look to it, very reminiscent of The Matrix, but used more expressionistically with more skill. Gone is the yellow-amber look from the series, and the grungy look from the previous Ghost In The Shell films has been replaced with economic realism of a modern Japan. Prominent throughout is the theme of identity, emphasised symbolically with duality shots through most of the film. We have characters reflected in windows and glass, and there is the stark contrast of characters on their own contemplating their fate.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

There are a ton of computer user-displays throughout and each one has been hand-animated and these are a sight to be seen. They clearly rival any of the transition scenes in The Matrix sequels and look a whole lot better than their CGI counterparts. Some of the angles used are very impressive and we get lots of different perspectives and point of view shots. This is a more immersive experience than the Stand Alone Complex TV series, with more movement and attention to detail that a hefty budget brings.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The Style: We get a couple of Nissan’s concept cars thrown in for product placement, and they look very stylish and not over-the-top as you’d expect them to be if it were made anywhere but Japan. The last scene of the film features, I suspect, a product placement for a well-known Japanese soda, but I haven’t a clue what it is!

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

There are a couple of freeway scenes that are simply stunning and I forgot I was watching an animated film! It’s hard to tell whether these are digitally cell-shaded, but I suspect they are, as the movement is very natural and realistic, and the reflections on the cars have a photorealistic dimension to them. That being said, this amounts to about 1% of digital art, the rest is pure traditional animation, and it is perfect!

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Many of the shots look like paintings and there are lots of dark hues in the background. The attention to detail is paramount here and a lot of care and attention has gone into each and every scene. This, for me, is where Anime excels over live-action. Films just don’t look as good as this. Quality is what Solid State Society has in spades.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

There are over a dozen action scenes and set pieces, each one vastly different than the last adds to an adrenaline-fuelled experience. There is lots of shooting, which is to be expected, and a lot of running around and race against time moments. It’s suspenseful and very, very stylish.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The Cyberpunk: Well it’s all going on here and we are served up a host of subjective cyberpunk antics. We have ghost dives a plenty that rival any of The Matrix hijinks with their internal interface unit that is nothing short of a digital trip.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The visual aesthetic of cyberpunk is put to good use with more than a few scenes coming into their own with a more contemporary cyberpunk look, rather than an impossible future. It’s reminiscent of Blade Runner’s native film noir style and would be totally acceptable in present-day living.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The corporate world is emphasised with the conglomerate companies’ domain in the WTC Twin Towers style buildings, or the Tax Tower, depending on your cultural standpoint. Politically, this shows Japan’s strength in social and political terms. The power of a corporate group over the will of individuals, at times unsettling, but emphasised as the less of two evils in the modern way of Japanese life.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The pursuit of information is the key to Solid State Society. Each character holds information that is necessary to the balance of the future, and Section 9 is after the information to keep a stable balance on their Solid State Society. The Puppeteer serves as a great example of this as the action hots up and we go into techno. overdrive.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Fans v. Fansubs: I.G. Entertainment, the producers of Ghost In The Shell: Solid State Society have made their film in Japanese, unlike the first Ghost In The Shell film. Bandai Entertainment are taking care of US distribution in 2007, but have already made it clear that they will take legal action over any fansubbers subbing the film on the internet.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

This is quite bizarre, as fansubs don’t make a profit from subbing a film and putting it on the Internet. They only serve, as fans, to spread and promote Anime to English-speaking people; much like a screener is promoted to film bodies for approval. It increases interest in Anime and is nothing more than free promotion. Solid State Society does not yet have English subs, but it’s only a matter of time until a fansub is done. Two days after Solid State Society premiered, it appeared on the Internet. If Bandai hadn’t made an issue of it, it probably would have taken a lot longer for it to hit the net., but now it’s out there for people to see. The subtitles are probably being gloriously translated with devious glee as I speak.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

East v. West: If the original idea of the first Ghost In The Shell movie was to introduce Anime to a wider, Western audience backfired – at the time – it has grown in popularity and influence, due partly to its level of style as well as achievements in storytelling; mainly the contrasts between East and West cultures, and how Japan sees technology in relation to human development. Notably the synthesis between man and machine. There’s maturity in the themes of Solid State Society that I’ve not seen in any Western cyberpunk films, or indeed, most Anime films to date.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

A Post-Matrix World: In part, Solid State Society is an answer, and an antidote to the three Matrix films. We’ve all seen how Hollywood used the first Ghost In The Shell movie as a template/influence/borderline rip-off, and I’m sure Japan was impressed, but they’re not one to let Hollywood outdo themselves.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Instead of letting themselves be influenced by The Matrix’s, they’ve gone in a completely different direction: a logical extension of progress and science fiction – the human element of what it means to have an identity as an individual, rather than as a whole. Instead of “The One”, there is everyone as a team. Very much Japanese efficiency and all it has achieved.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

This Is Not The End: Solid State Society is is not meant to be the end of Ghost In The Shell and it’s very much a movie of understated style that is a new beginning rather than a means to the end. Yes, the slam-bang action and visual splendour and spectacular set pieces are still here, and is set to impress, but it feels different to the movies and the TV series, and in parts comes across in areas that we don’t see in the Stand Alone Complex episodes. This has pushed Ghost In The Shell into a new direction that is very exciting and is fresh and invigorating to behold.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Anime v. Live-Action: When most live-action films – of any country – are all starting to look the same, with blurred CGI sequences, it’s a pleasure to see traditional Anime like Solid State Society stand out from the crowd. No live-action film could replicate this film. It’s not a film that will influence Hollywood, because they won’t “get it”. It’s one, I think that will largely be ignored until it gets the critical attention and acclaim it deserves.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

Something Old, Something New: As a Stand Alone Complex, it does exactly that. If you’re new to Ghost In The Shell, this movie may perplex you more than entertain you, so I suggest you at least watch the series before watching the movie; to get an idea of what it’s all about before seeing the continuation of ideas and ideals. This is very much a higher level of storytelling in relation to the characters than previous episodes of S.A.C. and the GITS movies.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

A High Level of Art: The style of animation in Solid State Society is a world apart from the first Ghost In The Shell film, and more a fusion of understated effect than excess, compared to Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence. We get a perfect blend of the Stand Alone Complex style of Anime in a feature-length form that is nothing less than a revelation in every scene. I cannot emphasise enough how different this Anime is from what has preceded it. I’ve given it 10 stars as it deserves it for the sheer audacity of what it accomplishes in the Anime art form and the world of cyberpunk entertainment.

Ghost in the Shell (GITS) Solid State Society Screen Capture

The Bottom Line: If you like the Ghost In The Shell movies, the Stand Alone Complex series, Japanese cyberpunk, or Japanese anime in general, then there are lots to take away from this feature-length spectacular. Solid State Society is a solid piece of entertainment that works on many different emotional and spiritual levels, and I think each viewer can appreciate the many different aspects of human endeavour and emotion that the characters go through. It is a genuine masterpiece that deserves repeated viewings just to take it all in and appreciate its inner-workings. It doesn’t get any better than this, and I doubt it ever will.

This post has been filed under Upcoming Movies by Ste McNay.

Upcoming Movie – Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex!

 

March 26, 2006

 

 

 

Screencap

 

 

Anime News Network is reporting that the next installment in the Production IG’s GITS: SAC world will be a movie entitled, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society:

 

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society, a full length movie based on Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex is currently planned for completion in the summer of 2006.

 

The production announcement does not specifically state release format, or date. The movie is being produced in Hi-Vision, a format used by Japanese broadcast networks to support wide-screen televisions. The same production team, including main staff, will be carried over from the TV series. The budget, while not specified, is said to be higher in order to achieve a cinematic level of production.

 

The 100-minute (tentative running time) movie takes place in 2034, two years after the refugee riot incident. A significantly larger Section 9, with over 20 new officers, investigates terrorist actions related to a wizard-like hacker “Kugutsu Mawashi.”

 

(Kugutsu Mawashi translated into English is roughly “Puppet Master.” Kugutsu Mawashi is not the same as the “Puppet Master” from the first Ghost in the Shell Movie. In Japanese, the “Puppet Master” from the first movie was called “Ningyo Tsukai” which can also translated into “Puppet Master.”)

 

The production committee will comprise Production I.G., along with Bandai Visual, Bandai Entertainment, Dentsu Corporation, Nihon TV Broadcasting (NTV), Manga Entertainment, Tokuma Publishing, and Victor Entertainment.

 

GITS SAC is definitely one of the best animes out right now (review forthcoming), with the second season being better than the first (should I review the two seasons separately?). The transition of GITS: SAC to a movie format will be interesting.

 

 

This post has been filed under Upcoming Movies by SFAM.