MAD 01: Ghost in the Shell

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Movie-A-Day
Tags: , , ,

Deeply philosophical and full of unanswered questions, the original Ghost in the Shell is a testament to what hard science fiction can really achieve. It defies conventional genres of “action” or “thriller,” and although it incorporates elements of both, I doubt that it was meant to represent either. The dialogue is dense and the pacing is slow; it would be an understatement to say that this is not for popular consumption. It is difficult to say exactly what sort of audience it was intended for, or if it was ever intended for a specific audience at all. Rather, it feels much more like an exploration of the original author Masamune Shirow’s thoughts on self and consciousness; endless musings and possibilities without a firm answer. And it is because of those unanswered questions that the real beauty and genius of the story is revealed. We as viewers should be left to stew with our own opinions and inspirations, fuel for the hours of dialogue that must surely follow a film such as this. It is a welcome change to see a movie that doesn’t dumb itself down for its audience, one that actually challenges us to re-evaluate our own preconceived notions of identity.

With a script that really pulls no punches, the film is only aided by the beautiful hand-drawn animation of the bygone age. Combining traditional animation techniques and CGI may seem dated to us in 2012, but the art stands the test of time surprisingly well. It helps that Production IG always kept the focus on the far stronger hand-drawn elements, using CGI only as support to help flesh out the futuristic world presented.

Ghost in the Shell was a pioneer in the animation industry for both technical and creative reasons. It showed us that the potential for animated films was and continues to be far above any limits we’ve placed on it, that it is truly only limited by the scope of our imaginations. And it showed us that animated films could be just as deep and thought-provoking as any live action piece, that animated films absolutely shouldn’t be synonymous with children’s films. I would say that it’s definitely not for everyone, but it is definitely something that everyone should see. In other words, even if you end up not liking the film, I can at least say that your life will be enriched from watching it.

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