A good live-action version of 'Ghost in the Shell' may well be possible, but can Hollywood do it without draining all the blood (and electricity) from its veins?
Even while this love story between a human and a robot is sincere and affecting, it's up to the audience to tell if it has one too many twists for its own good
This jet-black comedy about a social misfit is either one you laugh with -- or a test of an audience's limits of tolerance for truly mean-spirited humor
If I had to describe in a single sentence what the underlying meaning of most any magical-girl story was, it would be this: how to remain a good person in a troubled world. Most every magical girl starts off innocent, and the challenge she's faced with is how to preserve that innocence. Not in the sense that some fiend is going to despoliate her, but in that she'll be confronted with all manner of evidence that it's easier to just be a bad person, a power-hungry person, a person who gets drunk on power and never notices the hangover. Her challenge is to continue to believe in the good in both herself and others, even when she has reasons not to.
Two recent popular artists have, in their idiosyncratic ways, legitimized -- or at least commodified -- the macabre and the weird for Western audiences. One is David Lynch, mostly thanks to (or no thanks to) Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet. The other is Tim Burton, and it's impossible to look at a property like Soul Eater and not feel his shadow hanging over it. But I do not say this in a bad way: if anything, the fact his bending sinister seems to have fed into the work makes it all the easier to make a case for creating a live-action version of it -- even if Burton himself isn't the one in the director's chair.
Harlock: Space Pirate is yet another triumph of hardware over software, of slick visuals and high-end graphics taking the place of a strong story. Every year or so Japan puts out a project like this: a feature film based on a well-regarded property or with a high-end pedigree or with both, using computer-generated imagery. The results are almost inevitably a clinker, a glitzy, overpriced turkey that's more interested in being good-looking than being good. It happened with Vexille, it happened with TO, it happened with Dragon Age and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and some (although not all) of the Appleseed productions. Now it's happened again with Harlock, which is doubly humiliating given that Leiji Matsumoto's impassioned space-opera epics are some of the last titles you'd want to subject to such a sterilizing approach. But they went and did it all the same.