Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Ghost in the Shell was a film that I liked. I didn't think it was the best film I had ever seen--pick your choice for sub genre of anime or science fiction or whatever, it's all the same to me--but I thought it was one of the better science fiction films to be made in the nineties. If for nothing else, it treated its audience as if they might have a few brain cells left to rub together, and that was (and still is) a precious thing.

But Ghost in the Shell 2 is no Ghost in the Shell, just as most sequels are not their original.

The film centres of Batou, the armoured cyborg who partnered the major in the first film, as, years after, he has fallen into a quiet life of routine that is punctuated with violence at his job. I'm not exactly sure what kind of detective work he does for Section Nine in the film, since the detective elements of the film make absolutely no sense at all, but from what I could gather, Batou's job is to find guilty people and shoot them. With this in mind, he is assigned to investigate a case where sex robots go insane and kill themselves and their owners. Why? Who knows. The Chief, an elderly man with Mr Miyagi like sayings, has a feeling that it might lead to something. Because he runs a huge shadowy secret service, everyone needs no more than his feeling to rush off and do this, and Batou and his partner Togusa (who doesn't want to work with him because he's not the major and Batou is a gun wielding nutcase) go off to search for clues. This means that Togusa, who is human, asks a few questions, plays by the rules... in short, acts like a good human would, and leaves Batou to the shooting of things and people and witty lines.

Ghost in the Shell 2 has an ending, but I can't quite explain to you how it reaches it. There's a point, midway through the film, where the two guys go to an outlaw city, and Batou appears to know some people who know some people, and then they find the bag guys and solve the mystery. But this centre makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, that even now, I struggle to find the explanation. It's possible that it's there in the film, and that I just drifted off in the twenty minute conversation three characters have about the nature of reality, which as far as I can tell, has absolutely no point with the film, and simply retreads everything that was said in the first film. But the biggest problem is that that conversation, which takes place in an obvious fake reality, is so damn tedious that your finger itches to hit the forward button. Go on, it says, hit it. Hit it. Go on.

But, I thought, maybe this isn't real?

Who gives a fuck?

Hard to argue with that.

The attraction to the film is, however, its look. I complained that the characters in Appleseed reminded me of RealDolls, but the character designs in Ghost in the Shell 2 are much more realistic for the film, and with the except of Togusa's mullet, there's nothing to complain about there. Indeed, the whole film actually looks very beautiful, and the blend of CGI and animation works for the majority of it. Since the film is only ninety minutes long (though it feels an easy two hours) you can just sit there and watch it drift past, which was also an attraction of the first film, though nothing within that was as tedious as this to listen to and take place.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Another reason why sequels are a bad idea.

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