Ghost in the Shell
1996
In 2029, a hacker known as the Puppet Master is taking over the minds of computer-enhanced humans. Government agent cyborg Motoko Kusanagi is charged with apprehending the villain, unaware that the fiend is searching for her as well.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

This has a well-deserved reputation as a top-notch anime classic, but it did not interest me when I saw it upon its initial release. I'm willing to chalk that up to my immaturity: When I went wading in the film's cyberphilosophy a decade ago, the water seemed too cold, but now it's just right. Perhaps the film merely benefits from the popularization of Gibson and Stephenson's ideas via "The Matrix" and other works. Who knows? It's still an entertaining film from start to finish, with enough breakthrough animation techniques to wow any cinemaphile on a purely visual level. I wish it didn't rush through its dialogue so quickly (the boat scene delivers the essence of the film's philosophy at a breakneck pace), and the gratuity of the nudity is annoying, but I'm glad to have come around on this gem of the genre.

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