Let start off by saying I went all out for this one. It has been a while, so I went for the IMAX 3-D version of the film. After watching some previews, I remembered why I don't do 3D movies - eye strain issues. In my old age, my brain may be having a bit of time processing everything. Still, it was interesting seeing it in 3D. I will be seeing it again in regular 2D with my son in a couple weeks. But enough about me, lets get to the movie.
Side Note: Took the first show and it was only about 15-20 of us in the whole theater. All were guys in their late 20's to middle age like me. With a few exceptions, most were by themselves like I was. Kind of creepy, but somewhat expected. A couple guys in front of me were talking about computer systems which didn't surprise me.
Rating for Visuals: ★★★★★
This kept extremely close to Masamune Shirow's vision from the manga. Of course, there was some directorial additions to her being 'born'. Watching her get constructed at each step was nice as it added some extra parts not in the manga.The Geisha robots are spot on what he would design and it was wonderful seeing everything brought to life. The three dimensional advertising was spectacular, especially with the swimming fish. Watching scenes from the manga being brought to life was the best part. From the city scapes, vehicles and just interior shots of the city, it was wonderfully rendered.
The ending is what I was waiting for actually which many previews showed. Her taking a dive off the building and you see her fade looking at the camera. There is another jump, but this one was the one that reminded me the most of the manga.
I have to say that you will need to see this movie a several times to get all the visual eye candy.
Rating for Story: ★★★
This may cause some backlash, but here is how I saw it.
Remember, every time they make a movie adaption, certain things are added or changed for the greater viewing public. Some of it was good, while others were like 'WHY!'. I wished they used more of the music from the anime, but know that licensing can be a bitch.
They threw too much of the Major's background into the story. I thought they felt like they needed to give the story a 'human' feeling of loss and personal discovery of 'who I am'. They decided to give you the Major trying to find who she was in between the scenes. This caused them to take liberties with the Puppet Master story and made him her ex-boy/friend(?). She also finds her Mom at the end and then gets her name????
Other things that didn't jive with me, Batou doesn't get his eyes until later in the movie as well. Weird seeing him without them and his other augmentations. I also wasn't keen on Daisuke Aramaki being the only one that spoke Japanese. What was that about as everyone else spoke English? I guess they had their universal translators turned on. You get to see all the other characters make bit parts which was good. Togusa made the most of any of the other characters with Saito making a good cameo near the end sniping the Spider Tank.
Overall Rating: ★★★★
Being a fan since the beginning, it was a joy to see this finally brought to life. Outside of the obvious hype about 'white-washing' and not keeping to the manga, this was very enjoyable. Though I did find the side story of the Major finding her true identity distracting at times and really unnecessary. I am hoping that they continue with the Laughing Man series. This would make a good second movie for this series.
Let me know how you feel about this finally being brought to life. Just drop me a comment below as I want to see how you feel about this movie.