Ghost in the Shell, the controversy that wasn’t.

  It took me a couple weeks but I was finally able to check this film out despite the angst and vitriol spewed at it in the wake of Scarlett Johansen being cast as the Major. I liked the original anime released back in 1995 directed by Mamoru Oshii based on the manga series written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow, neither of which had a problem with the casting by the way. If you’re unfamiliar this story follows the exploits of a leader of an elite team called section 9 who is basically a brain housed inside of a fully synthetic android body. I believe the brain, or “ghost” of the woman who is in the body is definitely Japanese, but the body can be modeled after what ever race you want. Also interesting to add that many anime characters often have European features but the Japanese still consider them as Japanese or Nihonjin in their eyes. Most of the uproar occurred here in the U.S. where it’s at approximately 31 million in revenue yet 96 million worldwide and doing well in Japan. Go figure. That’s not to say I think whitewashing doesn’t happen because I know it does. I just don’t think that was the case with this film.     Getting back to the plot the Major in the anime and loosely in this film is always questioning her existence and searching for a past she only vaguely gets bits and pieces of through flashbacks they call glitches. The film is visually stunning with plenty of CGI but not so much that it gets overwhelming. Where it...

Kong Skull Island, old trope with a slightly new twist.

                                              I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to go given how many times the source material has been used over the years. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised with both the execution and the prospect of expansion they teased with the end credit scene. I won’t spoil it for you but if have yet to see the film stay for the credits. They went away from the old storylines where they take Kong from his home and bring him back to NYC to climb the empire state building and swat planes. I like this latest rendition better than the Peter Jackson version because it strayed from the usual plot line and it placed an importance on Kong not present in other iterations. Kong in this film is more than a huge mindless overgrown ape, and its refreshing. Not to mention that they waste no time in introducing him to the viewers unlike the latest Godzilla film, but it that films case I agreed with it to a degree because that’s what they did in a lot of the Godzilla films. John Goodman plays a survivor of some old attack on a ship from years past who has put together a team of researchers that are looking for a mystical island that for some reason (insert Bermuda triangle cliche) they cannot easily find and travel to where the thing that attacked the ship now resides. With the help of a politician he finds passage and...