Anyone familiar with Shirow Masamune’s manga series and with its animated adaptations called Ghost in the Shell will understand my excitement: a movie is finally being released in 2017. Of course, anyone familiar with how Hollywood changes well-known stories and books and remakes older movies to make them suit their current needs should be worried. But I am cautiously optimistic because of Scarlet Johansson, who will be staring in the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi.
For those not familiar with Ghost in the Shell, all you need to know before deciding whether to watch this movie or not is this:
- The action takes place in the post-WW3 Japan in approximately 2030.
- By this time, AI and cybernetic implants are so developed and pervasive that the large majority of the population is partially of fully cyberized. Cyberization varies from simple things like human vision improvement to full-body replacement.
- This world is the IoT world − everything and everyone is inter-connected.
- Most, if not all, of the people can easily link to the web and to each other with small interface connectors located at the back of the neck.
- New technology and new ways of connecting to each other and to the world changed our future world dramatically and improved it in many ways, creating, however, new cyber-brain related issues and illnesses, new sources of social tension, new types of terrorism, and brain-hacking crimes.
Major Kusanagi is a leader of an elite unit focusing on cyber-crime and cyber-criminals. All members of the unit have some unique skills, such as hacking, data mining, and cryptology, and a strong military training. These skills and training allow them to fight and, most often, win.
Why do I know this? When the first comic book (1995 in English) and the animated film (1995) were released, I was much younger and even more interested in science fiction and the future of technology. Plus, I was living and working in Japan at that time.
What fascinates me about this story is how complete and developed Shirow Masamune’s world is, and how it is filled with millions of large and small details which make it so realistic.
This story, which includes multiple comic book series, several animated series, and several animated films, is, in my opinion, the most complete vision of the future, in which Artificial Intelligence and human-machine interface become a common thing, but humans still manage to preserve their humanity and make the technology a part of them. And, when their humanity is threatened, they fight for it.
I hope I will enjoy this movie, yet I am simultaneously worried I will be disappointed. But, I will take this risk and watch it anyway.