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Dreamworks Acquires Rights for Ghost in the Shell 405

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-thinks-they'll-wreck-it dept.
Anonymous GiTS fan noted a Variety story informing us that DreamWorks has acquired the rights to Ghost in the Shell and has plans to produce a "3D Live Action" version of the popular anime. This happened apparently because Spielberg is a fan. He says "'Ghost in the Shell' is one of my favorite stories ... It's a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks." I hope they add a talking donkey.
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Dreamworks Acquires Rights for Ghost in the Shell

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  • They've stolen your eyes!
  • Plot Feel (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:04AM (#23089712) Journal
    Does anyone else get a sort of Outer Limits/Twilight Zone feel when they watch Ghost in the Shell? I've only been exposed to what's on Adult Swim but for some reason I liken each episode to those shows. Something odd or peculiar is happening and there is a startling revelation at the end of the episode. I know on the surface it's just a police thriller with sci-fi themes of artificial intelligence and robotics but I still get this feel. I also get the same feel when reading a Philip K. Dick or some of Ray Bradbury's short stories.

    Then again, when watch Cowboy Bebop I feel like it's modern day Clint Eastwood western with the shiny veneer of space. And I just read The Watchmen for the first time last week and it felt more like a philosophical analysis of power than a simple graphic novel.

    Despite what many times goes wrong with movie adaptations, I welcome this as it will expose the Ghost in the Shell themes to younger people without the insane licensing fees I've come across when trying to acquire this anime.
    • Re:Plot Feel (Score:5, Informative)

      by blanks (108019) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:35AM (#23090206) Homepage Journal
      If you haven't seen the original version of the first ghost in the shell then you should find a copy of it and watch it. The SAC mini series is great; but the surreal feeling you are talking about from stand alone complex is minimal when compared to the full original movie :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Maavin (598439)
        That's true. (Well.. it IS a Mamoru Oshii movie..) BUT! SAC ist way more true to Shirow's style than anything else.
        • Re:Plot Feel (Score:4, Informative)

          by badasscat (563442) <`basscadet75' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:26AM (#23091148)
          That's true. (Well.. it IS a Mamoru Oshii movie..) BUT! SAC ist way more true to Shirow's style than anything else.

          Well, the original movie really was not like Shirow's style at all - the manga does not have that surreal "Twilight Zone" feel in the slightest. It's very dense and packed with info and it's one of those graphic novels where you've got to sort of immerse yourself in this world that he's created and consider all the problems we're going to come up against in the future and that's what makes it interesting.

          Oshii's film is interesting in a totally different way, in that it's less about the world itself and more about this larger question of what life actually is. The world is only really featured as much as it needs to be to support that question and present arguments. That question was there in the manga too, but it was just one of many issues the manga raised. Oshii boiled down the manga to what he thought was the central question, and he stripped everything out that he thought got in the way of that. And that's what left him room to sort of explore the inner workings of the characters a little bit more and create that surrealness, which of course only served to support the theme too.

          The second movie, though, was terrible. That was more like masturbation on Oshii's part. I don't think I've ever seen a sci-fi film that's more slowly paced... and that includes 2001: a Space Odyssey (which Oshii clearly uses for inspiration).

          Whenever somebody talks about doing a new adaptation of GitS, the question is always whether they'll adapt the manga or the original film. I personally think the manga is basically unfilmable (as a standalone feature film) and whatever film is made then has to basically do what Oshii did and take one element out and focus on that. Maybe there's a different element that can be pulled out than the original film did, but I don't think Shirow's manga can ever really be boiled down to a 2 hour movie. It's probably a mistake to try, and luckily Oshii saw that and made something original and unique on its own. Hopefully Spielberg is that smart.
      • Re:Plot Feel (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:33AM (#23091282)
        The SAC mini series is great; but the surreal feeling you are talking about from stand alone complex is minimal when compared to the full original movie :)

        Its a matter of opinion, but I like the SAC series better than the movies mostly because its more down to earth or in a sense it strives to deal with modern issues in a new context of a society on the verge of dealing with a technological singularity.

        That and it often follows into more detail about the lives secondary characters like Batou and Togusa.

        The movies are of course better visually and theatric wise, but the SAC series is one of the better Anime series out there to date.
      • Re:Plot Feel (Score:4, Insightful)

        by solios (53048) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:50AM (#23091606) Homepage
        If you haven't seen the original version of the first ghost in the shell then you should find a copy of it and watch it.

        Or better, find a copy of the manga and read that. It's so much better that there's no effective basis for comparison.
      • Graphic Novel (Score:5, Informative)

        by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:55AM (#23091696) Homepage Journal
        If you haven't seen the original version of the first ghost in the shell then you should find a copy of it and watch it. The SAC mini series is great; but the surreal feeling you are talking about from stand alone complex is minimal when compared to the full original movie :)

        They are all good, but then again I am avid fan of Motoko. If you get the chance then I highly recommend getting the graphic novels, since not only is the artwork amazing, the stories are good and seeing all the little comments Masamune Shirow puts in really helps understand some stuff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by andphi (899406)
      I'm extremely wary of this and rather unconvinced that it's even necessary. There are already two GiTS movies. They were both really cool. The pacing on Innocence was very different from GiTS, but the slower pace gives the artists space. The whole thing is really a wheels-within-wheels plot, as another poster has said. Hollywood will either make it quickly and shoddily or take six years (like they did bringing A Scanner Darkly to the screen).

      But to answer your question, I see it as a police/geopolitical thr
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233)
        One thing that is interesting in the setting is that the very existance of the agency the heroes are in really depends upon the sort of corruption they are trying to stop.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by xenocide2 (231786)
          Counter-terrorism and anti-cyber warfare? That's the official mission of Public Security Section 9. [wikipedia.org] Fighting corruption is a personal mission of Aramaki, who perhaps directs more resources to cases under his jurisdiction when it's possible that corruption is the root cause. That's why Aramaki selects Detective Togusa to serve in Section 9 even though he's not trained in counter terrorism or cyber warfare. Togusa's record of fighting his superiours on ignoring damaging cases suggests to Aramaki that he'll be
      • Re:Plot Feel (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:36AM (#23091360)
        There are three GITS movies. 2 TV series (possibly 3?) and countless Manga/books.

        The movies are
        Ghost in the shell
        GiTS2 Innocence
        GiTS Solid State Society

        The TV shows are GITS SAC 1 and 2 respectively, and at least as good as the first movie when taken as a complete set.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by enoz (1181117)
          Actually, there were two standalone movies:

          Ghost in the shell
          GITS2 Innocence

          And then following the GITS:SAC TV series' there are three more "movies" that are compilations of episodes with possibly some new scenes:

          GITS:SAC The Laughing Man
          GITS:SAC Solid State Society
          GITS:SAC 2nd GIG Individual Eleven
  • by jimbobborg (128330) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:04AM (#23089718)
    I don't know. On one hand, sounds like a good idea. On the other, some crappy Hollywood writer will find a way to fuck it up.

    • Good idea? The person responsible for the suger-fest that was A.I.? Watch out for the new Ghost In The Shell version where aliens give her a human body at the end and the bullets never actually hit anyone.
      • by Darundal (891860)
        Yeah, although I disagree with your use of AI as an example (sorry, liked it, although the less enjoyable bits were supposedly the ones written by Kubrick) I see no way that Spielberg will keep the originals ending, and the long conversations probably won't be reworked to occur in bits and pieces throughout the movie (or their points preserved through any other means) but probably tossed altogether. I foresee something more along the lines of T3 coming out of this.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by DaveV1.0 (203135)
        I think the OP means that a live action version is a good idea, not necessarily a Spielberg version.
      • by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:34AM (#23091290) Journal
        I don't know if I would have called AI a sugar-fest. The best description I've heard of it was that it had all the warm characterization of a Stanley Kubrick film, coupled with the hard-nosed realism of a Spielberg flick.
  • it is way more popular and has a large fan-base in america
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:07AM (#23089752) Homepage
    When I first read this, I thought "Cool!" I'm a big fan of the anime. However, with a series like Ghost in the Shell, one almost has to worry that Hollywood will take the signature wheels-within-wheels plot lines will and severely dumb them down for us "simpleton audiences" on this side of the big pond. Hopefully not; we'll have to wait and see.
    • by Jerf (17166) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:14AM (#23090924) Journal
      It would be neat to see them try the main arc of the first season of Stand Alone Complex, to see the world's premiere meme factory fuck up a story about an prolific, errant meme. Some sort of irony or something.
    • by miscz (888242) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:20AM (#23091050)
      That's because every anime is so fucking deep. Japanese cinema has about the same amount of crap produced as Hollywood and animations are no exception, I'd dare to say that it's even worse - how many ninja schoolgirls fighting alien invaders with gigantic robots while exposing their panties can we watch?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:25AM (#23091128)
        ..how many ninja schoolgirls fighting alien invaders with gigantic robots while exposing their panties can we watch?

        That's a rhetorical question, right?
      • I remember visiting my cousin and watching her subtitled Sailor Moon movie. I noticed two things:

        First, it sounds a lot less retarded in Japanese. That's probably partly because I can't understand what they're saying, but probably also because it seems to be the same exact group of voice actors doing every single English dub of Anime. Kind of ruins it for me to have Shinji of Evangeleon sound exactly like Goku of DragonBall Z.

        I do feel better about it being a reasonably large company getting the rights, tho
  • yesh (Score:2, Funny)

    by nawcom (941663)
    3d bewbs -n- bullets ftw.
  • sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:09AM (#23089806) Homepage Journal
    as a GitS fan, I should be excited by this, but why do i have a feeling that Hollywood will water-down, bastardize and destroy everything that makes the original great?

    (and yes, i am talking about the beautiful nude scenes with the stealth suits breaking off. it was beautifully done.)

    please, be faithful to the original.
    • Re:sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:31AM (#23090140) Homepage

      as a GitS fan, I should be excited by this, but why do i have a feeling that Hollywood will water-down, bastardize and destroy everything that makes the original great?

      Well established precedent?

      Seriously, until recently any treatment of a comic-book or video game inspired subject was done completely badly by Hollywood. X-Men and some of the better ones seem to have done a good job by being true to the material. But, you still get some pretty badly done adaptations as the one studio decides that since another studio did well with a good comic adaptation, they should be able to get away with one too.

      The problem is, sometimes the people adapting the material don't understand it, don't respect it, and don't know what to do with it. The result is something that the core fans don't like, that the people who have never heard of it can't figure out, and generally turns out to be a crappy movie.

      I have no confidence whatsoever that Dreamworks can capture the feel and mood of Ghost in the Shell. I think you'll end up with some POS film adaptation which will be overly clunky and gimmicky, and it won't be able to tell a story. Some things are best left in anime since you have so much more freedom with the medium.

      This all comes down to who does it -- get Bryan Singer or someone who has been able to deal with some of the Marvel stuff well, and you have a chance. Get Uwe Boll, and we're all screwed. :-P

      Cheers
      • Re:sigh... (Score:4, Informative)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:36AM (#23090218) Homepage
        Actually, looking more closely at TFA ...

        Avi Arad is at the forefront of comicbook-based material, having produced the three "Spider-Man" films, the three "X-Men" movies, the two "Fantastic Four" picss and the upcoming "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk."

        Those are the ones which seem to have actually been able to understand the material and do it well.

        There could actually be some hope for this if they get a production team who is capable of being true to the material and writing a good story.

        Cheers
        • by Sciros (986030)
          Most of those are rubbish, though. If you want someone who's enthusiastic about the character and not just capitalizing on the "superhero craze" (Rise of the Silver Surfer? good grief that was horrid, to say nothing of X3 or Spiderman 3), you need to go with someone else. Nolan did a decent job with Batman Begins, Singer did a good one with the first 2 X-Men (but not Superman Returns), but neither can work alone. Singer's been saved by fantastic editing in the past (Usual Suspects I give credit almost entir
      • My problem with superhero movies is that they stay *TOO* close to the original material. Things that look good and cool on a comic book page often look silly in live-action (like most superhero costumes, which just look goofy in the real world). And stories that fit right in the cliched, soap opera-level world of comic books are horrible when translated to a more sophisticated cinematic world.

        Basically, the vast majority of superhero movies are filled with cliched, one-dimensional heroes and villains; wit

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          My problem with superhero movies is that they stay *TOO* close to the original material. Things that look good and cool on a comic book page often look silly in live-action (like most superhero costumes, which just look goofy in the real world). And stories that fit right in the cliched, soap opera-level world of comic books are horrible when translated to a more sophisticated cinematic world.

          Well, I would say that some of the recent ones have been pretty good. The X-Men series and Spiderman for instance t

        • More and more I've come to the conclusion that The Incredibles is my favorite super-hero movie. Granted, it was done in CG so they had much more latitude than a live-action movie. However, the story line was great and you got a sense of depth to each of the characters that you just don't normally see. If it wasn't for the fact that Pixar is too firmly in the 'family' movie camp to be able to get away with the boobies/violence in Ghost in The Shell, I'd think they could do a really interesting movie set i
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:10AM (#23089820) Homepage

    How about releasing a version of GiTS2: Innocence that's dubbed into English first for those of us who want to be able to look at the art and not have to read all the subtitles?

    • by mdarksbane (587589) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:54AM (#23090576)
      Happily, when they can actually release a dub with quality voice actors - as in, sometime around never.

      Voice acting for big releases in Japan pays well and is a huge business - think of the star quality you get in a Disney movie.

      Dubs of anime films are usually done by studios specializing in bringing as many anime films over as possible as cheap as possible, and use voice acting roughly on par with cheap children's programs.

      It's like watching Star Wars with Sir Alec Guinness's award winning voice replaced by some guy just out of community college theatre, who is also doing the voice of Leia using a bad falsetto.

      Combine that with the consistent problem of bad obnoxious translations ("Believe it!") and the core, unavoidable issue that different languages have entirely different pacings to them (ie, trying to fit the whole english translation of a sentence into the same amount of time as the japanese sounds ridiculously forced and unnatural) and you can see why quite a few people would really prefer subtitles. With a little practice you can read it fast enough to go watch the screen at the same time. I've noticed it's only people who have only watched one or two subbed movies in their life who seem to have problems keeping up with it -- but most of them pick it up fairly well by the end of a series.
      • by MBCook (132727)
        I understand. But the Ghost in the Shell movie (the first) was dubbed, and the two series (Stand Alone Complex 1 & 2) were also dubbed, all with the same actors (those who seem to be responsible for half the Anime that hits the US). It's not like they don't have decent actors.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Read faster?
  • by EXTomar (78739) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:11AM (#23089838)
    Sure Ghost in the Shell is quality hard edge cyberpunk style sci-fi but as far as I can tell there is nothing left in the story to tell. This probably means that anything Dreamworks makes will be a rehash of previous material which isn't automatically bad but not something some will automatically look forward too.

    I predict some cyber-gang up to cyber-shenanigans vs Public Security Section 9 with a ethical/philosophical twist. It can work but they better not slack on the quality or they'll risk alienating the mainstream and the hard core fan base.
    • by Smidge204 (605297)
      The TV series takes place in a different universe from the movies, and had a lot more going for it IMHO. The slightly more episodic storytelling gives a new life to it. (Plus everything was well-lit so you could actually see what was going on.)

      What I'm trying to say is the story is only dead-ended if they try to stick with the movie setting. They could do something new with the characters without killing the whole thing.
      =Smidge=
  • Oh lawd (Score:2, Funny)

    by TSRX (1129939)
    Why do I get the feeling that Tom Cruise is somehow gonna get cast in the movie?
  • by jockeys (753885) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:22AM (#23089994) Journal
    Great, now she's gonna be running around fighting baddies with... a RADIO. And they will be shooting back at her... with RADIOS.
  • I'm not worried about what Dreamworks may do to GitS, and that's because last time I checked they had optioned the rights to Casshern, and haven't done a thing with that, either.
  • Donkey? (Score:5, Funny)

    by UncHellMatt (790153) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:26AM (#23090056)
    "I hope they add a talking donkey."

    Sorry, but I believe Hillary will be on the campaign trail for at least a little while longer.

    /me ducks
  • Who's going to play the Tachikoma [wikipedia.org]?

    I'm hoping the Original Actor [kokaku-s.com], seen here having fun in Japan.

    I don't know if this is one that Jim Carrey could pull off.

    Ryan Fenton
    • by Kamineko (851857)

      Who's going to play the Tachikoma?

      Ryan Fenton

      I'm not exactly sure that would work. Don't let me discourage you; you should definitely audition.
  • Audience like me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by madsenj37 (612413) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:29AM (#23090110)
    They may not go after the anime audience, expecting them to watch weather or not it is good. If they do this right, many people will go see it. It has very deep and Matrix-like ideas (I believe Ghost came first). I am not a fan of anime, but I have seen the first Ghost In The Shell movie and enjoyed it. I watched it in a college film class on movie theater equipment. It all has to do with marketing it properly.
  • Just what we need (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blanks (108019) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:32AM (#23090160) Homepage Journal
    Another amazing anime story line that will be destroyed with American directors dumbing it down to be a blockbuster hit.

    I don't expect this to be a good thing in anyway. A great example would be what hollywood did to the aeon flux comic book / cartoon.
  • I think this is a fantastic idea that has tons of potential...so long as they stick to the animated movie.

    Don't get me wrong, I prefer the tone and happenings and style of the Manga over the Movie, but I think the style and tone of the movie makes for a better movie.

    Much of the humour and style in the original manga would be damn near impossible to duplicate on the screen. They could easily do things super-serious and philisophical, which is the way I hope they end up going.
  • Well, I suppose we needed some good news to balance out the news that the world is coming to an end in 30 years. [slashdot.org] :)
  • Just give it a sub-title:

    "Ghosts In The Shell - from the animation style that brought you 'Marine Boy [wikipedia.org]'

  • by atamagabakkaomae (1241604) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:40AM (#23090304) Homepage

    3-D live-action feature
    A CG 3D render movie?
    A 3D vision movie you watch through red-green glasses?
    A 3D first person shooter?
    All of the that? None of that?
  • by noewun (591275) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:43AM (#23090360) Journal

    "Is there anything Hollywood won't shit on?"

    So, let's see: Tom Cruise can play Batou. I know Batou is suppoed to be a big dude, and Tom Cruise is 4' 10", but I'm sure Cruise's face can easily be CGI'd onto a big, special effects body. Maybe they can also CGI in some acting ability. Jessica Simpson can play the Major. I know she's not Japanese--hell, she's a blonde--but what does that matter? We can wrap her in some tight, revealing costumes and no one will notice her from the neck up! She's made for the part! And instead of Japan, it can take place in L.A. And instead of hunting criminal, they'll hunt terrorists. Or maybe people who are mean to puppies. Or they guy who yesterday put whole milk instead of skim into Spielberg's latte.

    Now, please excuse me while I got stick forks in my eyes.

  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:47AM (#23090426)
    > I hope they add a talking donkey.

    Slightly O/T, but this brings up an interesting question: can't anybody in the world use Jar-Jar Binks without legally infringing on Lucas' copyright, since Binks is a pre-packaged parody of himself? (The same would apply to the donkey in Shrek, though perhaps more so since he's just Eddie Murphy and is the same character in so many things it would be hard to argue a new copyright existed just because he was a talking ass.)

    --
    IANAL. This post is a joke. If you use it as legal advice, you probably deserve to get sued.
  • hollywood manga? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:52AM (#23090516)
    *puts on vader helmet* DO NOT WANT!!!!!!!\
  • by thewils (463314) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:54AM (#23090562) Journal
    I watched GiTS in the original Japanese, then I started to watch an episode overdubbed in English. Man the voices sucked. For me GiTS is nothing without Atsuko Tanaka's rendering of the Major. If they switch to English they've gone and lost at least one customer.
  • I hope they add a talking donkey.

    I hope they add lesbians! Or rather, add them back (the manga spent a little time on the Major's "preferences".)

  • Oh god, it's Saban Moon [youtube.com] all over again!
    They already did a live action version, it was called "The Matrix".

    Frankly, going from the political surreal subtlety of Oshi to the Feelgood whack you over the head style of Spielberg is terrifying.

    Back away from the property Steve, and get something better suited to your talents like La Blue Girl. (He could do wonders with a CGI Nin-Nin)
  • I hope they add a talking donkey.
    Thanks but no thanks. If I want to watch talking donkeys, I'll flip channels to CSPAN.
  • by Sepiraph (1162995) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:35AM (#23091322)
    As a GitS fan, I am exciting but at the same time worried about what 'Western' adaption of GitS would look like. Also although the original GitS movie was good, the SAC season I and II series are superior in the sense that fully a full 26 episode season really allowed the story and its universe to be examined in detail, something that a movie can never truly do.

    With that said, I'd still be eager to see Hollywood version of GitS, even if I may very well end up hating it.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:49AM (#23092508) Homepage

    The idea shortage in Hollywood continues. As Harper's pointed out, more than half of the top-grossing movies of 2007 were sequels where N > 2.

    Cartoon (not comic) to live action translation hasn't been that great. "Boris and Natasha: The Movie" (1992) was something of a flop, as was "Dudly Do-Right" (1999). A third try, "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" (2000) was a dud, too, although it was at least funny. "Underdog" (2007) is the most recent dud.

    "The Flintstones" (1994) was one of the few successes. "Casper" (1995) was a success, mainly because CG animation had become good enough to be used convincingly with live actors. Those had the novelty of a cartoon as live action. But that's been done now, and the novelty has worn off.

    Comic books have been a more fruitful source of material, enough so that Marvel now has its own movie studio.

  • by MythoBeast (54294) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:49AM (#23092510) Homepage Journal
    We've talked with the people at Dreamworks, and here's a quick list of the improvements that they hope to bring to the latest installation in the Ghost in the Shell franchise:

    10. Cute kid to follow everyone around and ask a lot of questions
    9. Helpless female with nasal voice that screams a lot and has to be rescued over and over
    8. Less edgy animation so that American audience doesn't find it quite so jarring
    7. Speaking of jarring, do you think we could borrow Jar-jar from Lucas?
    6. Deep philosophical conundrums replaced with pop psychology and Jedi aphorisms.
    5. More clothing to avoid the R rating
    4. More senseless violence to fill in the parts we had to take out.
    3. A properly evil villain so people know who to hate.
    2. Good old-fashioned technobabble.
    1. A talking Donkey (Nice call, Rob!)

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