Ghost in the Shell

Bomb Rating: 

This is a full-length animated feature from Japan that has all the technobabble of a Hewlett Packard calculator manual and is about as hard to follow. It's based on a series of comic books (or manga) by Masamune Shirow. The film is produced by the same people who produced "Akira."

Allow me to clear up some of the details in advance: The year is 2029 and the world is one big swamp of network connections. In order to police the network, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs created a program with the ability to infiltrate any computer system. However, this computer agent has become sentient and is looking for a body to inhabit, thereby escaping the confines of the net. This is made possible by the fact that practically every human being has some kind of cybernetic-enhanced attachments and that some agents are entirely cybernetic organisms, like our hero, Major Motoko Kusanagi.

Major Kusanagi is a female who resembles a Japanese Barbie doll, as in "Super Barbie with cool Automatic Weapons Attachments -- from Mattel!" As she's a machine she's constantly waxing philosophical about the nature of her being and her soul. In cinematic terms this is called the film's "moral center," otherwise known as "that great, big, overbearing pseudo-spiritual speech toward the end of the film."

I dare say even William Gibson and Iain Banks would be confused... and a little bit peeved that their ideas had been co-opted by a cartoon.

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