There are tons of classic cyberpunk works already including movie Blade Runner, novels like Does Android Dream of Electrical Sheep, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Neuromancer, why we worship Ghost in the Shell that much outweighing the rest? Its epical pioneering status is well-recognized, which even triggered the birth of Matrix franchise, Dark City. Notwithstading that, Ghost in the Shell's idea is shallowly understood by the mass with some absurd remarks calling it "The next-gen of Matrix". Here we prepare for those who desire deeper understanding of Ghost in the Shell from some aspects:
If you plan to watch Ghost in the Shell full movie, one of the best 2018 Happy New Year Movies & TV Shows at this special moment of Holiday, read on the spoilers above:
"Ghost in the Shell" Typical Philosophic Thinking of Cyberpunk
"Ghost in the Shell" was in fact originally derived from the phrase "ghost in the machine" coined by Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle, to mock the Cartesian dualism on the mind–body problem. A "Shell" in computing, is a user interface for access to an operating system's service: CLI or GUI. It is named a "shell" as it is a layer around the operating system kernel which, whereas, unlike Shell, cannot have direct contact with outside. "Ghost" here represents the kernel, to distinguish it from Spirit/Soul, it is not some human-only feature "but a phenomenon that appears in a system at a certain level of complexity" (the word "sentient" might be a better explanation of this phenomenon), which makes me wonder if the thousand systems of this globe develop at a certain level of complexity, can a God (above-all consciousness) be literarily generated?
As a typical cyberpunk genre, questioning "who am I" in the face of blooming technology vs. self-existence is a common theme in GitS. If our mind/memory can be simulated by artificial intelligence (AI), our body replaced by stronger machine, "Ghost" generated automatically from the sea of information and can be duplicated even when you are dead (immortalizing), then how to identify your unique existence and be you? Who are you now? Should the organic copy be treated less than human, when Puppet Master's random segments of code has developed to be a self-preserving program as DNA?
This also reminds us of the Resident Evil where in the end Alice finds herself one of the many copies of Alicia Marcus and in the Last Chapter she gains Alicia's Childhood memory and becomes a complete "Alicia" or her own self? Remember when Puppet Master asking for political asylum? It said that "and life when organize into species relies upon gens to be its memory system. So man is an individual only because of its intangible memory. Memory cannot be defined but it defines mankind". And Motoko has always been doubting about her real existence and her possibly tampered memory. Maybe she has already died in the first place with only the implanted memory unchanged. Is it the matter of memory/experience that makes you think who you are? But where would that memory be stored? People are seeking the unchangeable part of oneself, whilist the rheologic behavior of mankind denies its existance, leaving only the coherence of consciousness.
These topics: dualism, creationism, Laplace's demon, Ship of Theseus paradox, social class barrier, humanity, gender identity issue (Motoko can have a male cyborg instead of a female one) etc have been emphasized and discussed here in the GitS franchise as a major philosophic and anthropology lines, which shape one of the 4 typical features of cyberpunk arts. The other 3 structural elements are: super-networked society, monopolized industry, and combination of slumdog & metropolis (Hongkong Kowloon Walled City).
By the way, try giving a serious thought to this dark hypothesis that the individuality of "you" (the ego) is actually generated by your body senses and mind, which might not be the real you. The real "you" is unconsciously trapped in the Shell, guarded by the ego. The more you pursue your own identity, the real "you" is more confined by it. This assumption has also been referred to by Puppet Master talking to major Motoko. Comparing with Eight Consciousnesses in Buddism, Manas and ālaya-vijñāna are very similar to this concept also, each bringing self-consciousness and storehouse (seed) consciousness (the real you) respectively.
When asked about when will GitS era truly arrive and how similar will the near future be to that of Ghost in the Shell? "We have already been in it, it's just a matter of time when the mobile phones will be implanted in our heads" replied Oshii. The gender identity crisis, the duplication of human memory, the social class barrier, forming of monopolization, humanity issue, and the advanced cyborgs, just look at Boston Dynamics's Petman and other anthropomorphic robots like Bina-48 and Siri (AI) and you will be thrilled at how fast the real world is marching towards Cyberpunk universe.
Compare Ghost in the Shell 2017 with 1995 Movie
From the trailer, apart from Mojor Motoko's classic jump (jokingly, optical camouflage Jump of Faith), we saw a lot pieces of Ghost in the Shell 1995 Movie anime and SAC TV series. It seems the live-action movie has restored a lot scenes from old anime.
The detailed birth of Major Motoko, which indicates the identity-finding topic will be placed in live-action. Hopefully the Motoko swimming part will also be included:
The classic robot kidnapping politicians - the robo Geisha
The fight in water while Motoko is using Optical Camouflage:
Exporing feelings of sex:
Classic jump and water diving mirroring:
Rviews on Ghost in the Shell 2017 movie:
Right after knowing GitS live-action film adaptation 2017, I repelled the choice of staring Scarlett Johansson as the leading role Major Kusanagi, not because of the heated ethnicity as criticized as "the next whitewashed main role in the Hollywood", but aesthetic fatigue. I was expecting a tall, thin, young cyborg instead of a medium build, middle aged.
Though the film is at present receiving harsh critics like "ruining legendary anime film and giving Asian roles to mediocre white actors", "the 1995 GitS anime contains way better techs than 2017 live action", there are two things we should appreciate: Weta workshop (visual) and Oshii's effort (philosophies).
From the newly released extended trailer and from the theaters, we can make sure that one thing at least has done right "visually" - thanks to Weta workshop's robot prototype and all the solid effects, but it seems that the philosophies and all the rich complex existential themes are gone for the dumb and the adaption has lowered to a typical Hollywood superhero movie. The script is 100% below the standard, leaving the "Ghost in the Shell" without "Ghost". The question concerning finding the real meaning of existance and oneself was tricked into finding the social identity. How can Oshii neglect the most crucial element of a Cyberpunk movie? The only reason is that he intends to. Remember that the movie was originally shot as an R-rated but edited down for a PG-13. The movie might not be made for us at all.
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