5 replies on “Movie Discussion – “Ghost in the Shell 2””

  1. but WHERE IS IT ?
    Yahoo! Movies, which is usually pretty comprehensive, can’t find a showing of this movie anywhere within about a hundred miles of me. I’ve checked all the major and even minor cities, including Saint Louis (not a great big city, but just diverse enough that they usually get just about everything, somewhere), and nothin’.

    Okay, on the official-ish distributor site they have a list. It’s not coming anywhere near me for another two weeks. Spammit.

    • Re: but WHERE IS IT ?
      It is here in Nashville, TN! We have been getting the last few major Anime openings. It seems I no longer need to drive the four hours to Atlanta! Now the question is do I go see it tonight, or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow! Choices, choices.

    • Re: but WHERE IS IT ?
      If you live within 100 miles of Saint Louis, I cannot imagine considering it a “minor city.” There is NOTHING in Illinois, Iowa, or Missouri as far as cities larger than Saint Louis within 3 hours of the bi-state area.
      But, at any rate, I would check the Tivoli Theatre in Saint Louis (It’s on Delmar in the Loop). They quite often have the more ecclectic films. They show foreign films, anime, indie, etc. Worth looking up at any rate.

      • Re: but WHERE IS IT ?
        I’m well aware of the Tivoli. I hate the neighbourhood (waaaaaaay too pretentious for my taste) but I accept it. GitS2 is supposed to be there in another two weeks.

  2. A review I posted to Everything2
    Blatant plug: For lotsa reviews etc, see E2 itself!

    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is a direct sequel to Mamaru Oshii’s
    Ghost in the Shell. Like the original, it is a screen adaptation of the
    manga by Masamune Shirow. It was released in the U.S. by Production I.G. on
    Friday, September 17th, 2004 in ‘select cities’ – and since mine was one of
    those, off I went with cash in my hot li’l hands.

    The film clocks in at 99 minutes, which feels just about right. I’ll offer some
    general impressions first, followed by some more detailed observations – so
    if at any point you think I’m telling you things you’d rather not know yet, stop
    reading and go see it. I’ll wait. I’ll try not to offer true spoilers, but one man’s
    spoiler is another man’s context, so YMMV. I do assume you’ve seen the first
    film, though.

    As I mentioned, the film is a true sequel. The action takes place some time
    after the original film leaves off, and is mostly concerned with Agents Bateau
    and Togusa of Section 9. Their enigmatic Chief Aramaki makes appearances,
    as does their colleague Ishikawa. As we are told early on in the film through
    dialogue, The Major is listed as ‘missing’ on official records. Bateau is still
    apparently the only one who knows the whole story on her disappearance.

    This movie follows the same sort of pattern as the first – there is a general
    plot, concerning a crime or series of crimes committed by a shadowy
    adversary. On top of that, there is a fairly deep philosophical question that is
    explored somewhat obsessively. The dialogue is rife with quotations from
    various writers and philosophers, ranging from Descartes to Confucious to
    Shakespeare and the Old Testament, with all manner of uncredited proverbs
    and others thrown in. The characters spend entire conversations just tossing
    quotes at each other. This makes the actual progress of the movie somewhat
    difficult to follow on the first sitting, especially if you are viewing the dialogue
    as subtitles (as I was). I still prefer subtitling to dubbing, however; the native
    (original) voice talent is noticeably superior to the English voice talent used
    for the dubbed versions of the first film.

    The animation is fascinating. There is an enormous quantity of CGI
    used in
    the film, but very little of it is whole-scene; in most cases, the hand-drawn
    characters move through obsessively photorealistic CGI-rendered scenery,
    looking eerily out of place, almost like the Ghosts the title invokes. Their
    muted tones and simple shading differentiates them from their surroundings,
    which are sometimes so sharp-edged as to be almost painful (to wit: the
    convenience store). Vehicles are a mix; there are anonymous non-central cars
    which dart in and out of darkness and rain, but there are also the main
    characters’ vehicles, which inexplicably have become almost fetishistic.
    Bateau drives what appears to be a replica of a 1950s Chevrolet, as near as I
    can tell. Ishikawa drives a Duesenberg J replica. Even Togusa’s drab sedan is a
    classic car rather than the blandly ultramodern conveyances preferred by
    Section 9 in the original film and in the TV series. Besides being sometimes
    CGI and sometimes obviously hand-drawn, some of the cars sport mirrored
    surfaces, further confusing the world they zip through.

    Around two-thirds of the way through the film, just as in the first, there is an
    ‘intermission’ of sorts which is devoted to pure eye-candy – an aerial and
    street-level tour of the ‘northern frontier’ region, a lawless extra-sovereign
    data haven which happens to be sporting a mammoth festival as our
    protagonists pass through. Gigantic puppets and false ships pass through
    classically anime streets lined with impossibly tall and somehow gothic
    skyscrapers, people observing from Gernsbackian balconies and skyways
    along the route as Blade Runner-esque displays on every flat surface trumpet
    not only the action on the floats but the latest pills and gadgets. The sensory
    overload is palpable, driving even the characters on screen underground to
    escape the clamor.

    After this point, the philosophical angle of the plot picks up. Deliberate
    blurring of reality and hacked memories implanted directly into the ‘e-brain’
    of various characters, confusion between people and robots (“gynoids”) – all
    fairly familiar to any aficionado of the genre, but handled with care and
    reverence by Oshii and company. The film raises some questions that will stay
    with you after you leave – not about what happened, which is fairly well
    wrapped up, but about what didn’t happen. Or, if you prefer, about what may
    or may not have happened. The games start there, and I suspect will only get
    worse until I can get my hands on a DVD copy and watch it enough times to
    be able to ignore the subtitling and pick up on the many important bits that
    Oshii likes to drop in around the periphery of the visual field.

    None of this is to say the film stints on action. While there is less humor than
    in the first, perhaps, there is a goodly quantity of familiar combat sequences,
    well done and tightly choreographed, interspersed with the virtual combat of
    computer network intrusion that anyone who saw the first film will be familiar
    with. Bateau has certainly not lost his taste for obscenely large weaponry;
    Togusa still has his old-fashioned revolver (despite what the Major told him
    in the first movie) and is still ‘mostly human.’ Folks that have watched the TV
    series will perhaps feel more at home, as the plotline seems to feel more like
    an expanded episode of the series than a continuation of the first movie;
    however, when paired together, the two make a satisfying match.

    The Major? Well, you’ll have to see it. I did say it was about Bateau, after all.


    Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
    Director: Mamoru Oshii
    Story: Masamune Shirow (manga) and Mamoru Oshii
    Runtime: 99 mins
    Released: 2004 (Japan, US)
    Sound mix: DTS / Dolby EX 6.1 Languages: Japanese, Cantonese
    (English Subtitle) MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence

    (Thanks to IMDB for the technicals)

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