Ghost in the Shell (1995)

  • If it were not for this movie The Matrix would not exist, it's that simple
  • Another example of animation/anime being the perfect medium for this type of story to thrive
  • The detail of the animation is great, mostly the finely detailed backgrounds
  • The irony of humanity choosing to move away from their typical 'human shell' and into an artificial shell
  • How do you define life?
  • The nickname 'The Puppet Master' is flat out awesome
  • Camouflage technology
  • The spider-tank battle at the end of the film is a brilliant and beautifully directed scene
  • A landmark in the science-fiction genre

  • The story is very difficult to follow at times (possibility because of the limited subtitles)
  • A derivative origin story involving The Puppet Master
  • I hate the amount of importance the government plays in the story
  • The movie is only 83 minutes long, I think the narrative could have used a bit more time to fully develop

Score: 6/10

Ghost in the Shell is one of those movies that I really wanted to like more than I actually did. While I enjoyed the animation (greatly detailed and knowing no bounds but the illustrators imagination), the story itself was a bit too predictable for me. Normally that's not always a bad thing, but this story seemed to rely very heavily on the reveal of the villain and his motives (both of which I saw coming a mile away, unfortunately). But leading up to the revelation there were some interesting ideas floating around about the mind/soul of a human being. What makes us human? Do people really care about their 'souls'?

That being said, my biggest gripe with Ghost in the Shell had to be the Puppet Master itself. I knew exactly 'who' it was and what his goals would be. It felt way too familiar from a cyber-heavy-narrative standpoint (but the big thing is the movie was released in 1995, so the ideas were a bit more original back then). Both how he came to be and what he wanted felt all too familiar. Again, that might be a bit unfair to say when watching this two decades after its release but the fact still remains. But if you can get past this aspect of the story, there is a lot to like.

The action scenes are great, particularly the ending scene involving the spider-tank. A quick burst of action followed by a few shots of the rain falling down on their tiny battlefield really created a unique, tranquil feeling. There is something eerie yet poignant about the scene. Also, the idea of 'ghost-hacking' and the camouflage are two very interesting ideas that gave Ghost in the Shell some more memorable moments (it'll be interesting to see how the live-action version handles the camouflage idea).

You can easily see the importance the movie played in the science-fiction genre, specifically involving The Matrix or any movie involving cyber-science vs the human soul. Had I seen this movie years ago, I'm sure it would have been a more enjoyable experience, but the story seemed too played out for me. And as for the age-old question that gets asked (not really that old, but often brought up), which is better Akira or Ghost in the Shell? I'm definitely team Akira.