Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Ghost in the Shell is a 1995 action, adventure, drama, psychological, science fiction, cyberpunk Japanese anime film. It was written by Kazunori Ito, directed by Mamoru Oshii, musically composed by Kenji Kawai, cinematography by Hisao Shirai, edited by Shuichi Kakesu, Shigeyuki Yamamori, distributed by Shochiku in Japan and Manga Entertainment in the United Kingdom, produced by Yoshimasa Mizuo, Ken Matsumoto, Ken Iyadomi, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, and Studio Production I.G., and it starred Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka, and lemasa Kayumi. It was based on a three volume manga series of the same name which was written by Masamune Shirou. It was followed by a direct sequel Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, as well as an anime series called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, plus another movie, a sequel to the series, called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society.
Cyborg federal agent Maj. Motoko Kusanagi (Mimi Woods) trails "The Puppet Master" (Abe Lasser), who illegally hacks into the computerized minds of cyborg-human hybrids. Her pursuit of a man who can modify the identity of strangers leaves Motoko pondering her own makeup and what life might be like if she had more human traits. With her partner (Richard George), she corners the hacker, but her curiosity about her identity sends the case in an unforeseen direction.
Why It Rocks
- It has creatively beautiful animation, which has a perfect blend of cel animation, CGI, and digital data, which is called DGA (Digitally Generated Animation).
- The film possesses tones of interesting themes, such as the technology of the future, artificial intelligence, the sentience of technology, moral dilemmas, sexuality, corruption in politics, and the nature of humanity.
- It has appealing character designs that looks like the original designs from the manga.
- While all of the themes presented in this movie have been covered before, some of them all the way back to the black and white silent film Metropolis from 1927, this movie covers them in rather unique and intriguing ways, which makes it seem fresh.
- Amazing soundtrack.
- In 2008 the film was re-released in five Japanese theaters with enhanced art, animation, music, sound affects, and voice acting, everything in the movie was improved upon.
- It has fantastic vocal performances from the English and Japanese dubs.
- Mixed in with the philosophical themes are a bit of action, which helps to levitate the thought provoking nature of the movie.
- Good pacing.
- This film is famous for inspiring one of the most popular American film franchises of all time, The Matrix.
- The writer of this film, Mamoru Oshii, typically likes to inject philosophical themes with dense dialogue into his work. While this is all well and good, in this movie he tends to take it too far and it just becomes mental homework. It's for that reason that it won't be for everyone.
- The English dub by Manga Entertainment is cheesy and akin to their other dubs from this time period like having lots of swearing in it.
- Motoko Kusanagi English voice was the major sticking point as she sounded very dull and repetitive through her line deliveries.
Ghost in the Shell has a 96% critic rating and an 89% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 3.9/5 on Letterboxd, an 8/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB), an 8.35/10 on MyAnimeList, a 83.34% community approval rating on Kitsu, and a 4.1/5 on AnimePlanet.