Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ghost in the Shell (Kôkaku Kidôtai) (1995)

Today's film is Ghost in the Shell.  Think of it as a film that not only has robots, but has some deep philosophical thoughts.  This month I have focused on films that I have never seen before, but I have watched the Ghost in the Shell anime series, plus the Stand Alone Complex series, so I am very familiar with Major's character.

Major Motoko is a cyborg cop, who along with her mostly human partner, Bateau, is searching for a powerful hacker known as the Puppet Master.  The term "Ghost in the Shell" refers to a human spirit or conscience that resides in a robot's body or brain. It alludes to the Ghost in the Machine, a book written by Arthur Koestler and is way too complicated to write about here.

 Major wonders just how human she is.  She knows that she has emotions, imagination, and memories, but how much of that makes her a human.  Bateau is mostly human with cybernetic eyes.  How much of a cyborg needs to be actual human in order to make them a full person? 

The puppet master manipulates different cyborgs and gives them false memories.  One victim believes he has a wife and daughter, but he has been a bachelor for years.  He has to have his memory restored, but since they don't yet have the technology to fully restore, he may have the false memories of his "daughter" for the rest of his life.

A lot of the scenes are Major being naked, because that's how she uses her cloaking technology.  Everyone else uses a cloaking jacket. Cause that makes sense.  Pretty much every other scene is robot nipples. 

The universe of this movie looks just like our present, the only difference is that a lot of people have cybernetic parts.  Even the guns are the same as the present.  You would think with all this robot stuff, they would have laser guns or something.  Major and Bateau work for Section 9, a special group of cops that have the best technology available.  They find out the Puppet Master is not a person at all, but some ghost created by Section 6 that can infiltrate any network.  Going from network to network, it eventually became self-aware.  Major becomes obsessed with getting to know the ghost of this Puppet Master, to the extent of destroying her cyborg body and messing up her own mind.  But what does she gain from it? 

This movie was beautifully animated, from long panoramic scenes to realistic human movements.  It is a very well done anime.  I will give it an 8/10

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