Ghost in The Shell’ explores identity

By Angela Stevens

“Ghost in the Shell” is the new live-action adaptation of the Japanese anime classic from 1995 of the same name.

The film is set in a futuristic society that allows people to become more robotic and pushes for robots to become more like humans.

The film centers around a “weapon against terrorism,” as described by the main character, Major (Scarlett Johansson).

She must find a cyberterrorist who is able to reprogram robots and people in order to make them kill others.

Major is a robot who has a human brain- or is she a human being that has a robot body? This is one of many questions that the film asks the viewer.

While searching for the cyberterrorist, Major starts to develop glitches and begins to see things that aren’t there. She is unsure if these things she sees are from her life before her “shell,” or if she was inoculated with a virus by the cyberterrorist.

Major has very few memories from her past life, so trusting what she sees becomes the enemy throughout the film.

“Ghost in the Shell” is all about identity and what gives human beings their humanity.

Is it our memories that make us humans? Or, is it something innate deep inside of us?

What is interesting about the film is that although it cast the gorgeous Johansson as the lead role, it never has a sex scene with her in it. This emphasizes the importance of the plot and themes of the movie, rather than over-sexualizing Johansson, as she often is in her other work.

That is not to say there is not a romantic lead in the film.

Pilou Asb_Òå_k plays Batou, Major’s terrorist fighting partner. Although he may not be the hunky lead most viewers are used to (e.g. Liam Hemsworth), he has charm and charisma all his own.

What is most impressive about the film is how visually stunning each scene is. The entire film looks like a dream come to life. Each time the camera pans over the city, it is made of epicly sized holograms moving around.

This adaption has also had some controversy with people claiming the film was whitewashed by having Johansson playing an Asian role. However, this is an incorrect assumption.

She is not a white person playing an Asian character; rather, Johansson is a white person playing a robot who was made to look Caucasian.

When Major was in an actual human body, the character was played by an Asian actress.

Happily, this film is far more diverse than the original anime film since it has many black and Hispanic characters.

The casting only adds to the film’s questions about identity.

If you put someone’s brain into another, does it change who he or she is as a person?

“Ghost in the Shell” is laced with abstract motifs, leaving the viewer to decide what they mean, until the film reaches its biggest flaw toward the end.

The director, Rupert Sanders, felt as though he had to force feed the audience into understanding what the overall film was about.

Despite this, it is open for interpretation and is meant for those who like to analyze films and their meanings.

In the end, the film asks more questions than it answers, but overall, it is fun and interesting watch.

“Ghost in the Shell” is out in theaters now and is rated PG-13.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

‘Ghost in The Shell’ movie poster

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