'Ghost In The Shell' Video Essay Illustrates How Not To Adapt Beloved Source Material

It's no secret that Paramount Pictures' adaptation of Ghost in the Shell did not make a splash at the box office in the way executives had hoped. The film pulled in $169.8 million worldwide on a budget of $110 million, but that's not including the massive, expensive marketing campaign, and the movie was considered a failure in the film industry.

It's easy to attribute the failure of Ghost in the Shell to the fanbase that turned its back on the sci-fi adaptation due to the whitewashing of much of the cast, including actress Scarlett Johansson in the lead. But a new video essay breaks down the various ways that Rupert Sanders' adaptation of the beloved anime falls short, including aesthetic choices and a misunderstanding of the significance of the visuals from original anime that the film attempts to mimic throughout.

Watch Nerdwriter's Ghost in the Shell Video Essay

Nerdwriter makes a compelling point about how the original Ghost in the Shell uses the backdrop of a futuristic Hong Kong to make a point about identity by using the surrounding city to visually explore the relationship between the city and the people in it. As explained in another video essay, the story is about what it means to create a personal identity in the age of cyborgs. Plenty of the shots and sequences in the anime hit home that thematic element, and while the new Ghost in the Shell adaptation mimics some of them as homage, it appears to lose the meaning behind them.

Going hand in hand with this misunderstanding of the visual significance of the original anime, the video essay constantly points out the lack of colors and high contrast lighting, something that makes the new Ghost in the Shell feel much more drab and far less interesting than its predecessor.

However, at the end of the day, for anyone who hasn't seen the original Ghost in the Shell or just doesn't care for anime, this is something that may be lost on general audiences who were just looking for a compelling new sci-fi movie. Unfortunately, since so many other sci-fi movies borrowed ideas from the original manga and anime, the narrative and everything that comes with it still ends up feeling stale.