“A paralysed man is ‘upgraded’ with an advanced Artificial Intelligence named STEM and sets out on a violent quest for revenge, in a thrilling sci-fi story with a brilliant dynamic between the human and technological.
The film’s bursts of gory violence evoke old-fashioned b-movie sensibilities, with touches of Verhoeven and Cronenberg, while bringing the style up to date with incredibly sleek direction. The truly innovative camerawork aligns us with STEM’s calculated AI perspective, finding a sense of control amongst the usual chaos of intense action scenes, resulting in a dazzling effect when combined with the choreography.
Polished off with an edge of sharp humour and satire, with some beautiful cinematography and setpieces despite its relatively low budget, Upgrade is one of the best sci-fi/action films of the last few years - it’s a cyberpunk blast.”
ghost in the shell
If I had to name the movie that inspired me most for my own creative work, it certainly would be Ghost in the Shell.
Although there have been a couple of sequels and re-designs, for me, the original movie from 1995, directed by Mamoru Oshii is and will always remain the Ghost in the Shell. Everything about this anime is a masterpiece. The art is breathtakingly beautiful, and the visuals stunning. The voice acting in the original Japanese version is perfect for the characters, and the music is excellent in its uniqueness.
Major Motoko Kusanagi, the main character, is an extraordinary woman. She has been a badass female character in a time when this still used to be unusual in movies and literature. Motoko is super strong thanks to her artificial cyborg body, but she’s also very human and tends to question herself, being human and the world she lives in. The cyberpunk world of Ghost in the Shell is beautiful but also cold and merciless. And so is Motoko’s “shell”, her robot body. Motoko is sexy in a dangerous way. I always have been deeply intrigued by this wonderful character, the world, and the questions asked in the movie.
“And can you offer me proof of your existence? How can you, when neither modern science nor philosophy can explain what life is?” – The Puppet Master. This is my favorite quote from the movie and the Puppet Master, a conscious AI which has inhabited and empty “shell”, a cyborg body without a human brain, is one of the most intriguing characters the cyberpunk genre has to offer.
One of the reasons I love this movie so much is that it’s less about the “high-tech low life” aspect, which is predominant in the western interpretation of the genre. Ghost in the Shell is mostly about what it means to be human, and if at a certain point, humans will merge with machines to create a new species.
It’s one of the key questions I ask in my own cyberpunk novel Behind Blue Eyes. I don’t know if I would ever have written this book if it weren’t for Ghost in the Shell."
"I recommend the anime Paprika to anyone who enjoys filmmaking, poetry, lively music, surrealism, and the film Inception. A detective story at its core, the film analyzes an invention that enables shared dreams. The philosophical questions discussed throughout the movie revolve around the dangers of merging dreams (or the internet) with reality, as well as the differences between technology, the soul, and the dream world. Both captivating and mysterious, the character Paprika takes audiences on an unforgettable ride."