Ghost in the Shell is part of a cult subgenre whose lineage stretches back to the 1920 s and whose visions have never seemed so prescient
Code streams across a computer screen; hackers bark at each other in techno-jargon and hammer at keyboards; the real world seamlessly switchings into the virtual, and back again. This is the sort of scene that is instantly recognisable as a cyberpunk movie, the subgenre of sci-fi that meshes together technology and counterculture of which Ghost in the Shell, the live-action remaking of the Japanese anime classic, is the latest high-profile example.
It is little surprise that cyberpunk has proved irresistible for many film-makers over the decades since the term was coined, by the author Bruce Bethke, in the early 1980 s. With its visions of postapocalyptic futures, advanced technologies and virtual realm, they get to pack their cinemas with visual consequences to sweeten the( red) pill, while wrestling with weighty existential topics.
Yet, for all its enduring popularity which owes so much to Ridley Scotts 1982 classic Blade Runner cyberpunk has often proved a tough nut to crack on the big screen. Even the author William Gibson, a founding father of the genre on the page, struggled to bring its dystopian charms to the cinema. Gibsons first significant foray into cinema came in 1995 with Johnny Mnemonic an adaptation of his short story about a data courier with a chip implanted in his headand was an confused and poorly received flop, even if it did feature clairvoyant dolphins. Gibson described the movie as two animals in one skin constantly pulling in multiple directions.
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