Friday, March 31, 2017

90s Class: Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Hollywood has a way of making me watch stuff I already should have.  Today's Film is Ghost in the Shell, the 1995 Anime Film that is arguably the second-most-famous.  If your Live-Action Adaptation doesn't suck, you may overtake Akira.  They keep putting off its Film, so go for it!  Yes, this is the first time I've watched Ghost.  In case it is not already clear, I've never been a big Anime Guy.  In spite of how famous this one is, I didn't watch this one until just recently.  If you don't know, the Plot involves Kusanagi working for Section 9 to find a mysterious Puppet Master.  If Six-Shooter shows up, I'm leaving!  This one has become very famous over the years and copied by many.  Even after all this time, the question remains- do I like it?  To find out, read on...
In the year 2029, Section is trying to catch a mysterious Hacker known as The Puppet Master.  They send in their best agent...
She makes quick work of a Government Agent offering him asylum and shows off her invisibility suit...which sounds counter-intuitive.

The mysterious Puppet Master is hacking into people's digital minds (aka Ghosts) for his own ends.
She tracks down people close to the Puppet Master, having a fight so iconic that they outright copied it for the new Film.  Could be worse.
In an interesting twist, they set this guy up as the most obvious 'Going to die for tragedy' and then don't!  Kudos.
The whole Story is pulled back and forth between 90s-style Action Scenes and Existential Dialog.
The Puppet Master argues for his existence and yadda yadda.  It is all super-deep, yo.
Kusanagi goes for a big, climactic battle against a tank that nearly cripples her 'body.'  She links up with The Puppet Master to end things once and for all.
In the end, the Puppet Master is gone and she has evolved...or something.  It is all very complicated.  The End.
It is easy to see why this is such a notable Film.  For something made 20 years ago, it looks quite great.  Just to be clear- I did not watch the 2.0 Version.  From what I gather, it is just the *good* version of the Special Edition-style Film.  The Story is complicated, but still pretty engrossing.  This was made in 1995, so there is going to be an obsession with A.I., Hackers and all that jazz.  They give you some nice, simple glimpses into Kusanagi without giving away too much.  She keeps her general mystique, while also being a bit relatable.  Who can't relate to what is basically an Android who shoots people and turns invisible?  The Film is most notable for its sense of style.  Thankfully, it looks less like Blade Runner than the new, live-action one does!  The Action is quite good here, thanks to fluid Animation that helps keep it vibrant.  The only, minor, downside for me is just how entrenched the Film gets in its own techno-babble lore.  Some of you love it- that's fine.  For me, it was a bit too much by the end.  All in all, Ghost in the Shell is undisputedly a classic of Anime Films, in spit of my minor complaints.  That said, what is with the 1980s Fashion in 2029?
Next up, the long-delayed Sequel.  Will it be more soaring action and less Sartre?  Stay tuned...

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