We Need to Talk About Motoko

Confession time: I am a huge fan of Ghost in the Shell. The 1995 anime classic is a tightly-paced, visually-stunning, beautifully-scored masterpiece that blends big ideas with kickass action. No Ghost in the Shell, no Matrix, and to me that’s unthinkable. Major Motoko Kusanagi is a great protagonist, struggling to understand her own humanity as an artificial person with an organic brain. Her situation foreshadows issues we will all have to face before too long, as the technology that is already encroaching upon our lives becomes more integrated into our very beings. The announcement of a live-action Ghost in the Shell ought to have been cause for tentative celebration, an opportunity to see this story brought to a new generation. Instead, the whole enterprise has been overshadowed by a piece of highly questionable casting: Scarlett Johansson will play the Major.

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Back Down the Rabbit-Hole

My initial reaction to the rumours of a new Matrix movie was a textbook example of violent and impotent fanboy rage. “Are you fucking kidding me? How dare they sully this hallowed ground?! It’s only been 18 years! You can’t fix what’s already perfect! They’re going to change it and make it suck!” This bleating it perhaps emotionally justifiable, but it doesn’t survive more than a moment’s actual though on the matter.

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