Movie Time - Ghost In The Shell (1995)
Ghost In The Shell is an absolute must watch and is more relevant than ever. With the rising popularity of the question of cybernetics and the ethics behind artificial intelligence. It is a film that is honestly I feel very similar to Akira that I previously did a review on. Before this read, I highly suggest watching the movie without spoilers as it is a fantastic movie alone without insight into the many meanings of the movie.
Our main characters are Kusanagi Motoko, Bato, Togusa, and Project 2501. Kusanagi is a fully cybernetic human being, however, still has a brain of a human who does not remember her origins. Bato is an army-esque man with some enhancements and Togusa is a man with very minimal cybernetics if any. He also always keeps a regular magnum on himself as he has some trust issues with everything being cybernetic even his own guns.
Now to the main plot. It is about a man named the Puppet Master who hacks random people. This means he takes their soul/ghost out of whatever shell their body is to do whatever task he needs while he hides in the shadows. Kusanagi, Bato, and Togusa are all apart of a Unit that they as a collective hunt down the Puppet Master to end his hacking.
A summary of the movie is that while on the hunt for the Puppet Master, Kusanagi is trackings a man who seemed to be hacking payphones to track his wife who divorced him. However, as Kusanagi catches him she breaks it to him that he is one of the Puppet Master’s puppets. A picture he had that he said had him, his wife, and his child was just a picture of him and his dog. He never had a wife and never had a child, never lived with anyone but himself. He had all of his memories erased and replaced with a fake life to serve the Puppet Master’s tasks. This man ends up bringing Kusanagi to the man who gave the man his hacking tools. Who also was a puppet. This invites the idea of living a false reality of who you are could be all fake. Life shattering ideas of some people.
Later a naked woman ran onto a road and was hit by a truck. Seemingly cut in half. Fully cybernetic with no brain. The body was moved to Kusanagi’s unit to be examined. Then another unit comes and tries to intercept the body as it holds secrets that cannot be released to the public. And suddenly the body beings speaking. Talking about how it is a being that is sentient. Meaning it recognizes that it exists and is not just a program. As this happens an explosion happens where people come and take the body and run. The other unit runs as Kusanagi begins to chase to get to the bottom of this seemingly perfect artificial intelligence who was fully sentient.
Kusanagi finds and intercepts the attackers and takes them out but one. A fully armored tank robot with giant guns. She manages to get on top but cannot break the container opening to shut it down but Bato comes to the rescue as she tore herself apart trying to open the container. He powers him back up with the help of the woman now being named Project 2501. As the other unit comes to end the madness by killing both Project 2501 and Kusanagi they hover in helicopters with guns ready. Project 2501 tells Kusanagi he can offer her the complete being she so desperately wants. As she is afraid to lose herself the A.I. offers an option to merge and become a better being who has sentience and a sense of wellbeing and ability to sacrifice that for the better of humanity. In the end, they merge and it ends with Bato waking essentially their child in a child body off the black market.
This movie is perfect in offering an option for merging instead of an argument and one coming out on top it is instead an answer that keeps in mind both party’s wishes. As well as adding commentary on the worth of cybernetics and humanity and what the next step should be for humans to evolve. I know I am missing a lot but I highly recommend watching it yourself to understand the full story.