Readers’ Recommendations: “Ghost in the Shell”

ghost-poster-835357967Hey everyone, it’s Friday, time for another entry in the Reader Recommendations series!

The Reader Recommendation series is intended to help me formally pursue all the great films that commenters bring up each week in discussion which I’ve never seen. If there’s a movie that comes up that I haven’t seen, but you think I should, email me @ fogsmoviereviews@gmail.com or let me know in the comments that you’d like to participate!
 
ErikThis time up, our recommendation comes from Erik Sebok of Erik’s Movie 140, who’s recommended “Ghost in the Shell”. Along with “Akira”, “Ghost in the Shell” is one of those anime titles that you can’t escape hearing about, so I’m excited to finally check it out!
 
Click through to see what we had to say!
 

My questions in bold, Erik’s answers below!

 

1) Do you remember when you first saw the movie?

It must have been 10-11 years ago when I was around 18. As a kid I was really into Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon so as soon as I got internet at home I went online and did some research on the genre. Ghost in the Shell was (and still is) one of the most recommended anime alongside Akira, Ninja Scroll and the well-known Ghibli films so I got a copy as soon as I could and watched it. It was a life changing experience, totally blew me away. Back then I didn’t know stuff like that existed, it was something I had never seen before.

2) Why do you think that it’s recommendable? What do you like about it?

If you are into cyberpunk and sic-fi it is definitely a must!

First it looks like just a cool sic-fi with a great story, plenty of breathtaking action, robots and cool gadgets however it is actually much more than that.

It is also seeking answers for philosophical questions like what makes us human or what is the connection between body and consciousness. I can guarantee that this film will keep your mind busy even long after the movie is over.

I suppose it is needless to say that the animation is absolutely stunning, even after all theses years I am still amazed by it and the soundtrack is excellent, works perfectly well with the film.

3) Is the movie underappreciated, do you think? Or does pop culture have it fairly rated?

I think it is a well-known and very much liked anime. It has received excellent reviews everywhere and if you do some research on Google you can see that it is noted as one of the most influential and best anime ever made. Obviously, as we are talking about anime here, there are still many people who haven’t seen it but most of them have heard about it one way or another (mainly because of The Matrix).

It has been shown on TV plenty of times in many countries and also a long running TV series, a few standalone films and a sequel have been made so yes, in my opinion, it has received the recognition it deserves in the last 18 years.

4) Is there any particular reason you thought I should watch it, or were you just surprised I hadn’t seen it?

The main reason is obviously the fact that even though it was made 18 years ago it is still one of the best anime ever made. It is a perfect example to show how much the Japanese are ahead of the rest of the world. It simply mops the floor with most of the sic-fi films Hollywood has done so far.

I also thought you might want to see the film that inspired The Matrix visually and philosophically as well. I am not saying the Matrix is a rip-off BUT the resemblance is significant. If you like the film you should definitely check out the manga it is based on as well.

5) Have you written about the movie yourself? (Insert plug here! LOL)

No I haven’t, my blog focuses on the latest releases. If it didn’t I’d definitely review it!! :)

Thanks Erik! My Review is below!

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“Ghost in the Shell” takes place in a sci-fi future where technology has discovered a way to augment or repair the human body, including the brain, with cybernetics. This enables mechanized humans to connect neurally into cyberspace. Unfortunately, it also leaves them vulnerable to hacking.

In the fictional city of Niihama, Japan, a security bureau called “Section 9″ uses cybernetic operatives to track a hacker codenamed “The Puppet Master”, who has hacked into the mind of a high level government official’s translator – a crime that threatens national security and international relations. However, chasing the Puppet Master has unexpected consequences for cyborg operative Motoko Kusanagi. What she will learn of the hacker’s origins and motivations will have a profound effect on her. Once she tracks him down, her life will never be the same.

“Ghost in the Shell” is a gorgeously animated film. It’s highly detailed and colored with a washed out sort of scheme that really makes the entire film fascinating to watch. The story is dense. Not in what happens, per se, but in the world-building it does. The film establishes the local bureaucracy, the characters, the cybernetic rules, the situation with the Puppet Master, it just felt as if the characters were almost constantly explaining things, especially early on.

Normally I would knock a film much more for that, but “Ghost in the Shell” is telling a pretty fascinating tale, and exploring some themes that mankind will have to face in the very near future. The line between man and machine has nearly vanished in this film. It raises questions about augmentation, what it means to be human, and what kind of souls AI beings possess. As a story of action and espionage plays out, we’re simultaneously treated to a film that examines “I think, therefore I am” in-depth.

Between the incredible animation and the weighty sci-fi material, I found “Ghost in the Shell” to be an enjoyable, thought-provoking watch!

A-

Daniel Fogarty

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38 thoughts on “Readers’ Recommendations: “Ghost in the Shell”

    • LOL. That’ll happen someday, but I’m not looking forward to it! :D

      The folks have taken very good care of me so far, only recommending high quality stuff, Chris. It’s usually all A range material!

    • Sorry, Brik, I dont allow people to link to their own sites in the comments anymore. It got out of hand.

      I’m actually halfway through your High Noon/Rio Bravo rant right now :roll:

      Nothing personal, but I needed to clamp down.

      • Boo! Anyway, I find GITS to be extremely slow, and focuses more on the director’s massive pretentious ego than anything else. All of his movies are exactly the same. If you see more of them, you will realize the guy is essentially remaking the same movie over and over again. The GITS TV series (with a different director and set in a different continuity) is over 9000 times better. There is a hilarious Youtube video of Conan O’Brien dubbing the GITS movie. You should definitely check it out.

    • I’ve never heard anybody not liking this movie. I guess we are all different. :) I am with you on the series, it is indeed very good!

  1. I enjoyed this Mamoru Oshii directed anime of the manga series. Pretty stunning visually and, for the time, shaped thinking for those exposed to it. Certainly it was a precursor and influence on the Wachowski siblings and ‘The Matrix’. Fine recommendation.

    • Yeah, I thought it was fantastic looking too. The Matrix definitely has a similarity or two along the way, there’s no doubt about it.

      I, obviously, was not into this stuff when it was first coming out LOL ;) I imagine it must have carried a much bigger impact when it was new, and before the world had seen dozens of imitators…

    • No problem Erik, thank YOU for the recommendation! I was pretty much a total stranger to anime when this series began… by the time its over I’ll be decently versed at least! LOL

      Definitely as you said in your Q&A, this is one of those HUGE anime titles that people have heard of even if they’re not into Anime… so it was great to check it off of my “to see” list! :D

  2. To be fair, The Matrix borrows from A LOT of films, lol. Also, I am sad to know that Ghost in the Shell is 18 years old now. Damn, I’m old. :(

    But in any event, I remember enjoying this one well enough. Haven’t seen it in a while, though, so it’s probably due for a rewatch. Nice write-up, guys. :)

    • Merci!

      LOL, I know that feeling. all the movies I love are turning into “Classics” and shit. I’m like wait… WTF! “Classics” are for OLD Movi— oh.

      Ah well, it happens.

      Meanwhile, this is a pretty short flick so it wont take much of your time to check it out again… just sayin’ ;)

  3. This may have been the first “anime” I heard of aside from Akira. Still haven’t seen it, though. So far as far as “not spending money” sources, I’ve only been able to track down the remake the director did a few years ago. Which, after all, isn’t what everyone was raving about.

      • Eh. If I wanted to BitTorrent it, I’m sure I could. But I prefer to get things legitimately, you know? It’ll come available one way or the other sooner or later, I’m sure. I’m in no rush.

        And yeah, the director did a version a few years ago with new 3D CGI graphics. That one is up on Hulu. *eye roll*

  4. Great review of a great movie Fogs. You make me proud. So glad to see you embracing this genre after all these years.

    And I do agree with Brik – the series kicks you-know-what.

    • “Well, I’m very proud of YA!”

      Yeah, you were well on the record recommending this stuff. There’s certainly great films to be found… I’m actually really looking forward to “Spirited Away”, which’ll be next week. ;)

  5. I always thought of this movie as somehow simultaneously engaging and boring. It’s stylized visuals are striking… but that’s all I remember about the movie other than being thoroughly unimpressed with the story. My take-away from it ended up being:

    a) About 50% of the striking and memorable imagery of The Matrix was a little bit more than just an homage to this film.

    b) The tank cover arm rip thing was ridiculawesome (That’s something so ridiculous it’s awesome, not something ridiculously awesome, FYI), and the only non-Matrix stolen borrowed thing I remember about it.

    c) Very rarely do I enjoy the story of an anime.

    • I think people may be going a little overboard with the Matrix connections. There are certain similarities sure, but its not as if the Matrix was a rip off.

      The plot here was simple, I’ll grant you that Spike, but the concepts were pretty cool. Combined with the stylized, striking visuals (your words ;) ) it was enough to make a winner out of this for me! :D

      • I don’t think you can go overboard with connecting it to the Matrix, if other than the tank lid arm thing the only thing I really remember about it are many visual moments in the Matrix were nods to this.

        Granted, I watched it twice in 2001… when we were still watching The Matrix on a monthly basis in theatres. I haven’t watched either in a good 8 years. (Midnight showings of movies were a huge craze then. Our local theatre had two each weekend, one would be a recent big theatrical hit–Matrix or Fight Club usually–and the other would be a cult classic.)

  6. Hi Fogs and Erik:

    Good work all the way around!

    Superior detailed work in regard to characters, tech and weaponry. Really like the cloaking mode and preponderance of V-22 Ospreys and their many variants for air transport. The crab like, mobile, weaponized Tachikomas are a nice touch, too.

    Here’s a link to the assorted and massed firepower used on both sides of the law.

    http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Ghost_in_the_Shell

    • Thank you! :) Firearms database?That’s new to me…I am so left behind. :) Thank you for the link and the kind words.

      • Hi, Erik:

        I found the Internet Movie Firearms Database (imfdb.org) quite by accident, but it is the Mother Lode for weapons used in film and television.
        Have the origin, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ on DVD at home. Several other tales as well.

      • Hi, Fogs:

        Minute detail down on the ground of huge, crowded cities is close to a trademark with the artists involved. The attention given to the jammed together pier side markets and aerial points of view can astound when you freeze a frame and take a closer look. Incredibly meticulous stuff!

  7. I quite enjoyed this, the first movie in the series, but I thought the sequels really sucked. Very disappointed there.

    The main thing I liked about Ghost in the Machine was also my strongest ding against it: It watches like a novel, not really like a movie. It is strongly referential to other genre sci-fi, specifically cyberpunk, and feels like it is paying too much deference to some very specific genre tropes, That being said, if you happen to enjoy those sort of books, you’re likely to enjoy this movie… and I did. :D

    • Well, being free of the knowledge of all the things it borrowed from, I was free just to watch and enjoy. I liked the fact that it took its time to show off the art, though some of the exposition segments wore on me a little.

      And, of course, I have no knowldege of the sequels, so I cant comment on their relative suckitude… ;)

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