Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell ★★★★★

Seeing the 4K restoration in IMAX is absolutely the most spiritual experience I will ever have at an AMC theaters.

Putting some old writing on Ghost in the Shell here:
Very few films, animated or not, use point-of-view (POV) shots as extensively and effectively as Oshii. The POV shots aren’t limited to character’s vision, but in the majority of cases the viewer dives into digital environment like the Net, security feeds, machine feeds (dare I call these minds when analyzing Ghost in the Shell?), or even cyborg’s ‘minds. This is the genius of Oshii’s rendition of Ghost in the Shell: the viewer is aligned with the position of machines and technology instead of other humans. In a film that is made to question the established boundaries of humanity, technology, and the marriage of the two, there are few more controversial methods of conveying this to audiences. The marriage of humanity and technology is mirrored in the production of the film. Ghost in the Shell was one of the first major animated films that extensively combined traditional cel-animation techniques, the established method of anime for decades, with cutting-edge digitally-generated animation (DGA). DGA was exclusively used and brought to mainstream audiences with Pixar’s film Toy Story (1995) which came out the same year as Ghost in the Shell. These actual animation techniques are evident in the phenomenological elements of the film and make a large difference in the impact on the viewer. In addition to these aspects inherent in the film, there is a feature that exists outside of the film that I argue has the ability to create a large phenomenological impact, but only for specific portions of the audience – the transmedial franchise of Ghost in the Shell. Through parasocial relationship theory on fictional characters, there is a confirmation that a portion of viewers identify and regard characters of transmedial franchises in a more personal manner. I argue that, because of these personal relationships some viewers experience, it becomes easier for these viewers to integrate and experience the film phenomenologically. Overall, through the integration of new animation techniques that physically marry human and technological elements, as well as the existence of a massive transmedial franchise, the phenomenological aspects of Ghost in the Shell are emphasized and directly serve to reinforce the existential questions guiding the film, namely: where and what is the line that separates a living being from a lifeless object.

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