In a few weeks time, the live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell will make it’s appearance in the movie theatre. Steeped in controversy, because of the “whitewashing” of it’s principal character, there has been a lot of debate amongst anime fans of whether or not this movie will be any good. Honestly, I am not going to adress that issue, as I think there has been enough talk about it. I do have to say that I am quietly optimistic for it. The trailers that have been released for it are seriously awesome, and Scarlett Johansson really looks the part in her role as the Major. Ofcourse throughout movie history there have been so many good trailers for a film that in the the end turned out to be utter rubbish, that this really does not say much. Still I am keeping my fingers crossed for it, and am looking forward to the end result. One would almost forget that the original Ghost in the Shell animated movie, is now 22 years old. With the live action adapatation lurking on the horizon, I thought it would be the perfect time for me to revisit this classic movie.
Ghost in the Shell takes place in the year 2029. Humanity has changed a lot and has become dependant on cybernetic bodies that can access a vast network that pretty much connects the entire world. In this very dark and bleak world, Major Motoko Kusanagi, a female cyborg together with her partner Batou are part of an organisation called Section 9. Section 9 is entrusted with the public security, and receive numerous missions to take out those who threaten the safety of humanity. When a mysterious hacker known only as the Puppet Master makes an appearance, Motoko is entrusted with the case. Just who is the Puppet Master, and what does he want? Kusanagi is about to find out the answers to these questions, and the truth might be more incredible than she first expects it to be. It all comes down to one thing in the end: what makes someone human?
Ghost in the Shell is an animated master piece that everyone who even remotely likes Anime should see at least once in his or her life. Even though this movie is now 22 years old, it has not become dated even one bit. The animation is still absolutely breathtaking. Crisp visuals, with amazing backgrounds make this a movie that you want to watch over and over again, if only to spot things you might have missed the other times. The storyline in the movie, might not be for everyone. It is multilayered, and has so many different aspects to it that makes it at times hard to follow. Even repeated viewings might not answer every question you might have. But that is also part of it’s appeal, as this is a complex puzzle, that is a lot of fun to figure out.
The heart of this movie though is the character of Major Motoko Kusanagi. She has been and always shall be my alltime favorite anime character. I just love the way how she can both be seriously badass, and incredibly vulnerable at the same time, as she struggles with trying to find her own humanity. And it is a very fascinating struggle to watch. This review would not be complete without mentioning the absolutely amazing soundtrack by the hand of master composer Kenji Kawai. The haunting opening theme sets the tone for the movie, and still sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. The music is a very important aspect of this film, and the movie is not the same without it.
After all these years it was an absolute joy to revisit this classic anime movie. It is a film that still impresses, and one that I highly recommend. Sure it isn’t perfect, but it comes pretty close to it.
I give Ghost in the Shell a 9 out of 10 score.