Home Literature Stories Movies Games Comics News Discussion Forum
  Science Fiction and Fantasy News
Esslemont's Stonewielder Prologue and Cover (07-26)
Deals and Deliveries (9!!!) (09-12)
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Pe (09-12)
Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger (09-12)

Official sffworld Reviews
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber (05-29 - Book)
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent (05-25 - Book)
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (05-21 - Book)
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith (05-17 - Book)

Site Index

Official sffworld Movie Review    Bookmark and Share

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence


Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

DVD Region 2, released Feb 2006. 96 minutes.

Disc 1 = Making of, Stereo & 5.1 Surround Sound version

Disc 2 = DTS version, trailers and extract of 2nd GitS series, Episode 5.

Special Feature Information: ° The Making Of Featurette ° Commentary By Director And Animation Director ° Foreword By Jonathan Clements ° Manga Trailers ° Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig Volume 2 Sneak Peak At Episode 5 ° UK Exclusive Face To Face Interview With Mamoru Oshii ° Japanese Trailer • Aspect Ratio: 1.85 Wide Screen


Classification: 15

For those who don’t know, the original Ghost in the Shell film is seen as a landmark of Japanese and World Cinema. Its theme of ‘souls in robots’ echoed and defined many manga features of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Its detailed style led to the development of other highly praised animations – including Appleseed and Spirited Away. This is also seen in many of today’s non-manga films – including most obviously The Matrix – with the dark cybernoir atmosphere, slow-motion moments and rapid cutbacks style even filtering into today’s TV. It’s also evolved into an excellent TV series of its own – GitS – Stand alone Complex. All of these have effectively raised the standard of animated film.

Having made such an impact, with such a phenomenal following, with fans waiting for more, what do you do when you decide to produce a sequel?

Well, if you are Mamoru Oshii, then your answer is to make the next one as state of the art as possible, as complex and even more baffling than the first.

GitS 2 is set three years after the first film. It is 2032. As in the first, robots have become part of everyday life. Humans coexist with cyborgs and robots.

The new film starts with a gynoid (sex droid) that has murdered its owner and then self-destructs. It is one of a number, all from the same series, all loaned out on prototype.

Batou, the cyborg detective first seen in GitS 1, (and now separated from Major Motoko Kusanagi, who disappeared into the net at the end of GitS 1) is given the case to investigate by Section 9. Along with Togusa, the mainly human Section 9 operative from GitS 1, he investigates a case that draws on evil corporate business (Locus Solus), the Yakuza and the government, as well as a supercyberhacker called Kim.

The story of GitS 2, told mainly through Batou’s eyes, also involves looking at the idea of machine intelligence and evolution to a point where the division between human soul and machine memory become increasingly blurred.

So why watch this film? From the title credits, which are a mirror of the GitS 1’s construction of an cyborg, this is something to watch. Whereas the 1995 version had an (admittedly excellent at the time) 2D animated sequence, the new 2004 version uses 3D CGI. The film throughout is visually stunning, which makes the film worth watching. Computer animation is skilfully mixed with traditional animation, creating a depth of colour and image which is quite stunning.

The difference between the Region 2 version of this film and the Region 1 version is that the Region 2 version has an English dubbed soundtrack. The Region 1 version has just subtitles and the Japanese soundtrack.

Having watched both, I prefer the Region 2 version, which uses the cast of the GitS: SAC series. The DTS version is sonically outstanding, and in my opinion as good as it can get. The sound of the chimes from a huge mechanical clock, for example, are incredible.

The music (by Kenji Kawai) is, as ever, as important as the image. The music is used in subtle (and not so subtle) ways to highlight key points of the film. Like GitS 1 it is unsettling, atmospheric and beautiful.

On the negative side, although the soundtrack is fantastic, the script is rather obtuse. The story is so heavily laden with meaning, with almost each sentence being a quote from sources such as Shakespeare and Descartes; so much so that the story can become difficult to decipher:

"When persimmons are green and not quite ripe even the crows don’t pick at them. They only come round when they’re ripe, just like you two a**holes."

Or how about this one, one example of one piece of dialogue from a character:

"Children always deviate from human norms. If you define a human being as an autonomous self acting out its will, where are children in the gradation of human existence? Their inner state of being obviously differs but they have human form. When girls play with dolls it’s not practice for actual motherhood. They’re not practicing childcare. Games played with dolls and childcare may, however be similar."

Despite this, the film is in turns, beautiful, haunting and baffling. As The Puppetmaster of GitS 1 is replaced by puppets and dolls in GitS 2, the story becomes ever more complex, though the ending was both poignant and somehow right.

There are links to the first film, but what struck me most of all is how the character of Batou has evolved. This is a different Batou from the first GitS – older, more world-weary, and yet paradoxically, more human. His relationship with the other characters is rather aloof, yet his meeting with the Major is both touching and genuine and, though brief, I found to be genuinely moving. As too is Batou’s relationship with his pet, a basset hound called Gabriel – one of Oshii’s trademarks, but here used to show the relationships between humans and other things.

It is suggested, though not explicit, that although Gabriel acts like a living dog, he is in fact a simulacrum. And yet, Batou’s relationship is as real as any other: clearly one of the main points of the film. The dog acts like a living dog – where do we draw the line between machine and living thing?

A film to make you think, that dazzles the eye and, despite its feeling of melancholy, ultimately lifts the soul. In spite of the dense dialogue, which may not be for everyone, still recommended.

(And as a later note: a DVD soundtrack in 5.1 and stereo, using the music and parts of the film reedited to the music, has become available: Ghost In The Shell 2 - Innocence Music Video Anthology (ASIN: B000E0LCUI.) This may be suitable for those who wish to listen to the music, watch the animation but who do not wish to experience the dialogue!)

Hobbit © March 2006

Sponsor ads



The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize!
05-31 - News
Stephen King's Joyland UK Promotion
05-30 - News
UK Publisher of Stephen King’s New Novel Unusual Promotion
05-30 - News
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber
05-29 - Book Review
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent
05-25 - Book Review
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
05-21 - Book Review
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith
05-17 - Book Review

05-10 - News
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
05-04 - Book Review
Galaxy's Edge 1 by Mike Resnick
04-28 - Book Review
Poison by Sarah Pinborough
04-21 - Book Review
Bullington, Beukes and Bacigalupi event
04-19 - News
The City by Stella Gemmell
04-17 - Book Review
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
04-15 - Book Review
Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell
04-09 - Book Review
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited by Alastair Crompton
04-07 - Book Review
The Forever Knight by John Marco
04-01 - Book Review
Book of Sith - Secrets from the Dark Side by Daniel Wallace
03-31 - Book Review
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
03-25 - Book Review
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
03-13 - Book Review
The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent
03-12 - Book Review
The Burn Zone by James K. Decker
03-06 - Book Review
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
03-04 - Book Review
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri
02-28 - Book Review
Excerpt: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
02-27 - Article
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
02-24 - Book Review
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
02-20 - Book Review
Evie Manieri Guest Post
02-19 - Article
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
02-17 - Book Review
Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
02-11 - Book Review

New Forum Posts

About - Advertising - Contact us - RSS - For Authors & Publishers - Contribute / Submit - Privacy Policy - Community Login
Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use. The contents of this webpage are copyright © 1997-2011 sffworld.com. All Rights Reserved.