Press Play Video Essay Slashfilm

Westworld is easily one of the most popular shows on television right now. Every new episode is discussed in great detail, and we even have our own discussion after every new installment on our podcast Decoding Westworld. We’ll have our usual spoiler questions from the most recent episode later this morning, but in the mean time, why don’t we explore a complex concept that was brought up in Westworld early on in the series.

A new video essay takes a look at the bicameral mind theory, proposed by a psychologist named Julian Jaynes. The theory was mentioned in Westworld, and as the hosts of the titular theme park become more self-aware, driven by their own developing free will instead of programming by the engineers and storytellers, we see how it’s becoming more and more relevant in the show.

Here’s the Westworld video essay about the bicameral mind from Jonathan Holmes:

The bicameral mind theory isn’t anything that needs to be figured out on the show, but learning more about it helps us understand the core of Westworld. It’s not just the old sci-fi story of hyper intelligent androids become self-aware and defying their program. This is a show about humanity becoming self-aware of what they think they know about themselves and the decisions they make. And that’s a large reason why I hope the theory about William being the Man in Black from 30 years ago turns out to be true. It will go a long way to explore the essence of human nature through a character like that.

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It’s no secret that Paramount Pictures’ adaptation of Ghost in the Shell did not make a splash at the box office in the way executives had hoped. The film pulled in $169.8 million worldwide on a budget of $110 million, but that’s not including the massive, expensive marketing campaign, and the movie was considered a failure in the film industry.

It’s easy to attribute the failure of Ghost in the Shell to the fanbase that turned its back on the sci-fi adaptation due to the whitewashing of much of the cast, including actress Scarlett Johansson in the lead. But a new video essay breaks down the various ways that Rupert Sanders‘ adaptation of the beloved anime falls short, including aesthetic choices and a misunderstanding of the significance of the visuals from original anime that the film attempts to mimic throughout.

Watch Nerdwriter’s Ghost in the Shell Video Essay

Nerdwriter makes a compelling point about how the original Ghost in the Shell uses the backdrop of a futuristic Hong Kong to make a point about identity by using the surrounding city to visually explore the relationship between the city and the people in it. As explained in another video essay, the story is about what it means to create a personal identity in the age of cyborgs. Plenty of the shots and sequences in the anime hit home that thematic element, and while the new Ghost in the Shell adaptation mimics some of them as homage, it appears to lose the meaning behind them.

Going hand in hand with this misunderstanding of the visual significance of the original anime, the video essay constantly points out the lack of colors and high contrast lighting, something that makes the new Ghost in the Shell feel much more drab and far less interesting than its predecessor.

However, at the end of the day, for anyone who hasn’t seen the original Ghost in the Shell or just doesn’t care for anime, this is something that may be lost on general audiences who were just looking for a compelling new sci-fi movie. Unfortunately, since so many other sci-fi movies borrowed ideas from the original manga and anime, the narrative and everything that comes with it still ends up feeling stale.

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