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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence Review

by: sothis
October 4, 2004

story 2/10

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence screenshot Story? What story? Although there is a thinly veiled plot that admittedly does have a bit of a twist, Innocence is essentially devoid of ANY sort of plot at all. Let’s face it folks, this movie wasn’t made to challenge your mind or open your horizons to anything. It wasn’t supposed to make you ooh and aah at the character development, or get involved in the storyline; it was made for the visuals, signed, sealed, and delivered. Period. To be honest, I was fairly disappointed with how completely lacking the plot was. In the beginning, you have a faint glimmer of hope that a plot exists – the robots are killing people, and Section 9 needs to find out why. Until the last 5 minutes of the movie, we see almost zero in the way of plot, at all. And I swear to god, if I have to read one more goddamn quote from a poem or famous philosopher, I am going to shoot myself in the head. That’s part of the problem with this movie... besides being a complete fanboy film, it tries to insert 8 million quotes from poems in a row, in an attempt to make you guess at some sort of philosophical theme going on. I’m sorry, I don’t buy it, and it made me incredibly bored and weary. Honestly, if you watch this, probably the best way would be without any sort of subtitles, since they are essentially useless and do nothing except make you want to smash your TV/Monitor/Movie screen in with a hammer, shove ham sandwiches inside the broken vessel and then pee on it out of sheer "OH MY GOD NOT ANOTHER QUOTE" spasms. Quite frankly, I could have picked up a poetry book and read random pages and it would have been as applicable as all the quoting nonsense in this film. The concept of beating a dead horse must not exist for Mamoro Oshii, that’s my only guess.

Anyways, zero plot. Zip. Zilch. Except the one brief interjection of something frail and weak (poor excuse for a story), nothing to see here. What sucks is that cyborgs are my favorite topic of all time, just ask anyone who has seen my tattoos... heh. I am fascinated with the idea of human minds being put into machine bodies, or people hacking others’ minds, etc. That’s one reason why I was so excited to see the original Ghost in the Shell movie. Alas, that movie was also disappointing, but hell, it still had more of a plot than this! And of course, it didn’t have the grab bag of quotations to try to fool the audience into thinking there was a deeper meaning. *Sigh*. I really did have high hopes for this, and I wish with the subject material, that it would have been used better and had a more engaging feel to it.

animation 10/10

If anyone was to watch this movie and not give a perfect score for the visuals, I would call them a liar and then throw them in a pit of giant squid. Seriously, the visuals were flawless and deserve nothing less than a 10. And hey, the visuals HAD to be good, since there was virtually no story, right? CG was seamlessly blended with cel shaded animation, producing some of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen in an anime. The straight CG looked so real I thought I was watching a movie, and I could have been. Many times I was reminded of playing the Resident Evil 1 remake on the gamecube, with how dark the moody the scenes were. Other times, I felt like I was watching an FMV from a Final Fantasy game. Birds entertwined with buildings with ease, figures danced fluidly, doors opened realistically. It’s virtually impossible to name all the fascinating visual treats in the film, you just have to see it to know for sure. Colors used were radiant and fitting, usually darker tones for the cyberpunk feel. This was contrasted with the aseptic white of the rooms where the cyborg bodies were. The cyborg designs themselves were beautiful and my favorite part, since I’m such a big fan of cyborgs. The inhuman cold expressions were chilling, and helped you to understand one of the points of the film: what is human, and what is robot? Where is the line drawn?

I could talk for another few paragraphs about the animation, but I shouldn’t have to. Flawless.

sound 9/10

I truly believe this movie was made only for the visuals and the audio, hence the high score here as well. Any fans of the previous movie will recognize the nasal whines in the audio. I really expected it to break out any second with the title track of the first movie, and that would have been cool, but didn’t happen. The songs that were played instead were just as good, and haunting. Lots of Japanese sounding instruments, keyboard synths, and overall goodness. Beautiful music all the way around.

Voice acting was very appropriate (I watched the Japanese version).

characters 1/10

I don’t even know why I’m giving this a 1, I must be in a generous mood. Characters? What characters? Batou is the only focal character, and he is not developed at all. We know a little about him from the first movie (or TV series), but nothing else is explained at all. All the secondary characters are shallow and flat, and we don’t even necessarily remember who is who because they are all generic. Zero character development, and also no set roles for the characters, which means I can’t even score it decently for that. The dog is the most interesting character of all, but he’s just a dog, and is barely on screen! This movie did such a poor job with the characters, and I can’t see how anyone could argue with that.

overall 6/10

This was a really hard score to give, because there are two such different factors to take into consideration. The audio and visuals were a masterpiece, there’s no denying that. On the other hand, I can’t in good conscience give something a high rating if I thought it was so terrible otherwise. This was one of the hardest movies I’ve had to make myself finish, because it was SO boring and so empty besides the visuals, and the quotes were driving me insane! I’m fine with watching an eye candy piece, but not if it’s two hours long. Either shorten it, or give it something of substance.

So, I’ll give GITS Innocence a reluctant 6, because you probably should watch this for the visuals. Seriously though, if you want a good plot, watch Paranoia Agent, Interlude, or another intelligent series. If you want eye candy, watch this. Just don’t expect it to be fantastic, or anything other than a fanboy film for those who blindly like GITS, or people who for some reason like to hear 95,000 quotes in a row and pretend like it was a plot. One word: overrated. I hope if there’s a Ghost in the Shell 3, it finally does something the others haven’t: succeeded in being something other than pretty scenes.

Anime Info

  • Movie (1 ep x 101 min)
  • 2004

In a dystopic city of the future, there has been a rash of killings at the hands of prototype robots. These anomalies from the company Locus Solus are making headlines, and have caught the attention of the cyborg Batou and the crew of the Section 9 special forces. Yet beneath the random violence, a sinister plot is unfolding -- a situation so dangerous that it threatens not only Batou, but innocent humans and cyborgs alike. Can the team of Section 9 unravel the mystery of these murders before they suffer the same fate as the victims?

my anime:

not rated

About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

More Reviews

comments

Proxy11 avatar Proxy11
Aug 7, 2011

Although it's a good review even as I disagree, I just like this sort of philosophical and visual approach rather than spoon fed story telling. The two movies combined don't create characters of the year nominees but they was interesting enough for me to enjoy them. Not their backstory but the way they interacted during the film.

My problem is with the Paranoia Agent referance as having a good plot and even being compared. PA had exactly one metaphor it told through the whole 13 episodes and it told it in 12 different ways (trying to forget the 13th episode). It lacked plot altogether.

I agree GITS Innocence is meant to be for the eyes and ears more than anything else. However I understood all the philosophical quotes and metaphors and combined with the basic plot it had, I was satisfied.

Good Review.

hyperactve avatar hyperactve
Jul 3, 2011

I totally agree with this review.

I liked the movie though. Because of those music and animation I guess.....

captaincrunch avatar captaincrunch
Oct 30, 2010

"Honestly, if you watch this, probably the best way would be without any sort of subtitles, since they are essentially useless and do nothing except make you want to smash your TV/Monitor/Movie screen in with a hammer, shove ham sandwiches inside the broken vessel and then pee on it out of sheer "OH MY GOD NOT ANOTHER QUOTE" spasms"

Lol, I watched the dub, but I felt the same way.  This show had more references than I get in one of my grad school text books.  I think the scriptwriters wrote the entire thing from wikiquotes (did they have wikiquotes in 04?).

I was also somewhat dissapointed at the lackluster appeal of Batou and Togusa as leading roles.  I guess that just goes to show how much the relationship between Major and Batou and Major herself adds to GITS, or takes away if it's lacking in this case.

TheMajor5 avatar TheMajor5
Oct 28, 2010

Alright, so i have been pondering whether or not to watch this movie or not.  I love the rest of the franchise but i have a very hard time convincing myself to watch this movie.  Before i have based my reasoning on the animation, which, though it may be impressive, is a far cry from the rest of the series.  That being said i have found another reason not to watch this, the story seems like nothing and the characters are virtually nonexistent.  Though the visuals (CG-like animation, can't stand it) looks like a turn off, whats even worse is no story and no development, only a nice shell to look at.  (pun intended) 

l33tmomiji avatar l33tmomiji
Oct 17, 2010

Overall, for once, I agree with you.

The story probably wasn't as bad as you make it out to be, but it was spread EXTREMELY thinly. They could have aptly told the story in 30 or 40 minutes, as a pose to the 2 hour or so movie that is Innocence.

But of course, I let that slide, because they filled the extra time with gorgeous animation, and an incredible soundtrack.

I also agree with you on the placing of completely irrelevant quotes and poetry. Adding philosophical elements using external references and quotes is all well and good when you can relate it to the story in some way, but the vast majority of quotes and references stuffed into this movie made absolutely no sense in relation to the story, and were just awkward.

I mean...my favourite anime is Ergo Proxy, so when you hear that from me you know it must be true :P

This is why I dislike people comparing Innocence with Ergo Proxy so much. Ergo Proxy relates the majority of it's references to the characters and story in some way, (as a story is actually present) or it leaves them as subtle irrelevant details that don't matter if they go unnoticed, but are intriguing when they are.

Innocence however, had more poetry and philosophical quoting in its two hours, than Ergo Proxy had in 23 episodes. Cramming every single one of them down your throat. 

Mind you, this didn't enrage me as much as you, when the movie went into these spells I just became bored and slightly irritated.

Overall I think Innocence is worth the watch regardless, in the end the soundtrack, animation, and rare, relevant, well placed philosophical tidbit almost compensates for the negligible story and character development.

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