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Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence (Mark's Take)

02/11/2004. Contributed by Mark R. Leeper

Buy Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence in the USA - or Buy Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence in the UK

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Mark checks out this popular Japanese anime flick and discovers the animation is never flat, but demonstrates varying degrees of dimensionality, frequently within the same frame.

CAPSULE: Complex and a little hard to follow but imaginative and spectacular anime film. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE is a new adventure set in the world of the original GHOST IN THE SHELL. This is a future world where everybody is part machine. The main characters are two police officers, one almost all human, one almost all machine.

The new story, set just twenty-eight years in the future, involves a revolt of female pleasure robots called gynids who one day start acting in non-robotic ways by killing people and by committing suicide. Both actions go against their moral ethic--essentially what are Asimov's laws of robotics.

I saw the film in a subtitled version in one pass with subtitles that frequently are hard to finish before they are whisked away. The plot is as complex as most science fiction novels. It was rather difficult for me to keep on top of just what was happening in the film.

Nevertheless I was impressed with the apparent profundity of the story. Visually the film is frequently near live action and a live-action film with this much spectacle would these days cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It may no longer be necessary to prove the power of animation, but at least GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE demonstrates it.

The animation is never flat, but demonstrates varying degrees of dimensionality, frequently within the same frame. The film is told against a backdrop of future Japan, but punctuated with some traditional settings like a traditional Japanese festival. It is interesting that for years American films have shown the world American culture.

These days the international film community is seeing many different cultures. And that is true of mass marketed films as well as art films. While there is the usual gratuitous violence of anime films, there are still some really breathtaking images that make this a film worth the effort to watch.

Mark R. Leeper

Copyright 2004 Mark R. Leeper

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