Image from ArsTechnica.com
Its been awhile since Ive felt this torn about a movie.
The original Ghost in the Shell (1995) ranks among my favorite movies of all time, and Im an equally huge fan of the anime series; the first season of Stand Alone Complex, the series that followed the movie 7 years later, is a masterpiece of thoughtful science fiction and sharp visuals. I must admit that it was with my fond memories very much in mind that I sat down a few days ago to watch Ghost in the Shell, Rupert Sanders highly publicized live-action adaptation.
My first thought: the film looks great. It is stylistically and visually spectacular, at once capturing the clean precision of futuristic technology and the unruly growth of the metropolis. Im given to understand that the artists took inspiration from, of all things, the reams of Ghost in the Shell fan art onlineand the result is magnificent. The flickering lights, giant holograms and ground-level sprawl of the futuristic city merge perfectly to create a palpably realistic environment that sets the stage beautifully for the action-packed plot. The shootouts, chases and death-defying leaps are well-choreographed and artistic, blending the human and the mechanical in exactly the right way. When combined with Scarlett Johanssons grace and technically masterful acting, the effect is visually breathtaking.
My second thought: The story is nothing like the Ghost in the Shell I once knew.
The original Ghost in the Shell was enthralling not only for its fantastic animation but also for a deep, ever-present philosophy inspired by The Ghost in the Machine, Koestlers treatise on the duality of mind and body. The animated series explored the interaction of the mental and physical with the environment and society, touching on Cartesian dualism, cognitive science, memetics and solipsism. It was thoughtful, and at times intellectually dark: the ending to the original movie, wherein the survival of Motoko Kusanagis ghost (the universes slang for distinct human consciousness) is left ambiguous to the extreme, asked more questions than it truly answeredand that was a good thing. The new movie instead opts for a plot that, sans a few clever touches, is standard Hollywood fare, with an ending deliberately far more optimistic and formulaic than that of the original. The chases and gunfights are excellently shot, but far too numerous and far too Americanized; there is very little left of the overarching philosophical questions that the original explored. That Mokoto Kusanagi is being played by Scarlett Johansson rather than any one of a number of talented Japanese actresses, for example the excellent Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim, Norwegian Wood) is emblematic of the extent to which the movie has lost touch with its source material.
Despite Ghost in the Shells impressive visuals, I cant help but feel that the series that inspired The Matrix deserved better. Perhaps it is unfair to search for the philosophical excellence of the original in the remake, but without its broad, very human questions, the movie reverts to a standard Hollywood sci-fi thriller. Watch it if you enjoy technology, gunfights, and spider-tanksbut if you wanted something with the depth and detail of the original, youre better off just re-reading the original 1989 manga.
See original here:
- Here's one reason why people are fighting on planes so much - New York Post - May 18th, 2017
- Memetics | Article about memetics by The Free Dictionary - May 17th, 2017
- American Arrested After Airplane Brawl in Tokyo - NEWS.com.au - May 17th, 2017
- Science explained: Viral memes for Boar reading teens - The Boar - May 17th, 2017
- What Are Billbugs And How Do I Get Rid Of Them? | MeMetics - May 13th, 2017
- TruthHawk - Memetics, Information, Society - May 2nd, 2017
- The Skeptical Zone | "I beseech you, in the bowels of ... - April 19th, 2017
- Can NATO Weaponize Memes? - Foreign Policy (blog) - April 13th, 2017
- Memes could be the key to predicting the future | Digit.in - Digit - April 7th, 2017
- Memeology: Where did memes begin? - Dailyuw - March 29th, 2017
- What is a Meme? | The Daily Meme - March 23rd, 2017
- Do Daniel C. Dennett's memes deserve to survive? - Spectator.co.uk - March 2nd, 2017
- On Memetics and the Transfer of Cultural Information - Paste Magazine - March 2nd, 2017
- The Meme Culture of America is Taking Over - TrendinTech - February 26th, 2017
- Row erupts as East London gallery accused of showing 'alt-right' and 'racist' art - Art Newspaper - February 23rd, 2017
- Is America Prepared for Meme Warfare? - Motherboard - February 7th, 2017
- The scientific controversy behind memes - Varsity Online - February 7th, 2017
- Thagomizer and Four Other Invented Words - Big Shiny Robot! - February 7th, 2017
- Cognitive science: Dennett rides again - Nature.com - February 7th, 2017
- Mem Wikipedia - December 7th, 2016
- Philosophy of Religion Religion and Memetics - November 23rd, 2016
- Memetics Story - November 23rd, 2016
- The Art Of Memetics: Edward Wilson, Wes Unruh, Ray Carney ... - November 21st, 2016
- Applied Memetics LLC - Jobs - November 21st, 2016
- Memetics - Chielens - November 16th, 2016
- Meme - Wikipedia - October 19th, 2016
- MeMetics - Your Trusted Online News and How-to Site - September 20th, 2016
- Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation - SCP Foundation - August 23rd, 2016
- Index [www.susanblackmore.co.uk] - August 12th, 2016
- Memetics - July 29th, 2016
- Meme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - June 17th, 2016
- Understanding Memetics - SCP Foundation - June 17th, 2016
- memetics - RUBINGHSCIENCE.ORG - June 17th, 2016
- Meme - RationalWiki - June 13th, 2016
- about memes - Susan Blackmore - June 13th, 2016
- Meme Central - Memes, Memetics, and Mind Virus Resource - June 12th, 2016