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The Ghost in the Shell I

So, right after you saw the first Matrix movie you just sat there in amazement and wondered: where the hell did they get the idea for that?

Well, it may come as a surprise to you that the film that influenced American action cinema was actually heavily influenced by this extremely cultist Japanese techno-thriller. Made about 4-5 years before the Matrix came out in theatres, there are many striking similarities between the two films, both stylistically and thematically.

The first and possibly most striking stylistic similarity shows up in the first scene of both movies (which could hardly be a coincidence) and it is memorable image in the matrix that spawned a million screen savers.  That’s right, it’s the image of green text tumbling down the black screen.  The Ghost in the shell also has the same image and it is also used to demonstrate a complicated digital world.  The only difference is that the text rolls horizontally not vertically.

Also, stylistically there are plenty of slow motion kicks and punches and swirling camera shots in both movies.  It might be a little unfair to draw too close a caparison because just about every Anime movie uses this and one would have to give the creators of the Matrix some credit for bringing it to the live screen.

Either way, both movies are so thoroughly entertaining that it doesn’t really matter who came up with what first.

Of course thematically the similarities are very interesting as well.  Both in involve a future where human actions have a lot to do with interaction in a kind of cyber reality where time, space and gravity can all be overcome with some great programming code.

And guns…both have more than their fair share of furious gunplay, but I guess that’s hardly a unique thing in movies today.  So, realistically it is not fair to say that the creators of the Matrix really ripped off the idea from the Ghost in the Shell, but they definitely drew inspiration from it.

My advice would be to check the both of them out and watch them and then judge.  You may not come to any stark realizations, but you will surely have a great evening watching for some the best sci-fi to come out of that decade or any decade for that matter.