A mysterious new hacker known only as the Puppet Master threatens to create chaos, erasing and rewriting the memories of his victims: humans who have cast away their physical body to become cyborgs. Is he an evil genius, or could he signal the beginning of a new age in the relationship between man and machine?
WRITER’S NOTE: *SPOILERS* This review assumes that you’ve seen Ghost In the Shell(1995), as it simply focuses on the changes between the original film and this version.Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is to Ghost in the Shell what the Special Editions are to Star Wars, and while GitS 2.0 is nowhere nearly as egregious as the Special Editions, it still feels like a pointless exercise in updating a previous work.GitS 2.0 was released in 2008 in celebration for the release of The Sky Crawlers in theatres that same year, as a way for it’s director, Memoru Oshii, and studio Production I.G. to cross promote both projects. The intention of 2.0 was to “remaster” the original film in away, but it doesn’t really feel like a remaster, it feels like a project intended to make money of an established franchise. And what we got was a weird mix of 2D animation from 1995 mixed with 13 years worth of advancement in CGI attached to a film never intended to have it in the first place.The main difference between Gits 2.0 and The Sky Crawlers, besides the obvious subject matter and presentation, is that The Sky Crawlers was planned from the start to have CGI integrated with the 2D animation, and as a result, the mix between the CGI and the 2D animation for that movie mesh a lot better in that film.The biggest and most obvious change in 2.0 is that a few scenes have been replaced with fully 3D animated versions of those scenes. These new scenes conflict with the original, not only because the switch between the 3D and 2Dcan be a bit jarring, but the 3D is presented in a different style to the 2D. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the conflicting film making styles between the 2D and the 3D.The original film is almost entirely simple static shots, while the 3D animation has sweeping camera shots that don’t fit the style of the original at all, simply because the 2D animation wasn’t capable of these shots. The film was working with what it could the time it was released. It just feels weird going from smooth flowing movements with the CGI, to all of a sudden staring at a static couple of characters talking or plot happening.There are several other shots throughout the film that have had parts of them replaced with CGI, such as aircraft or certain background features like an aquarium. I guess these were used to heighten scenes, but like I said before, the original Ghost in the Shell film was never meant to have CGI, so it just feels out of place.I wouldn’t call the CGI awful, but it’s definitely just OK. It’s pretty clear the team behind the CGI added shaders onto it to try and give it a bit of a 2D feel, trying to wash out any detail the 3D models had, but it doesn’t help. A minor nitpick i have is the difference between look of the digital picture. It doesn’t match the grainy filmic look of the original footage. That sounds like a weird complaint, but it just shows the difference between something made in a computer and something made in an analog format by human hands (ironic).The only change that i thought looked good were the holograms throughout the film being replaced with the CGI. They were the only things in the original meant to look digital to begin with, so the replacement CGI is the least intrusive CGI in the whole thing.Another minor grievance I have is the framerate difference between the 2D animation and the 3D animation. It’s just another reason on the pile of reasons that mixing the 2D animation and the 3D animation wasn’t that good of an idea.Everything else that wasn’t completely replaced with the CGI has also been modified to varying degrees. Every shot of the film has been tinted with a warm orange color, with varying intensity. Some shots it’s barely noticeable, and in some shots, it’s overpowering to the point of washing out a few scenes. It completely ruins the cold clinical blue look that the original film was going for, that was supposed to help heighten the sense of some characters losing their identities and becoming more robotic with how modified their bodies were. I assume it the color tinting was to help the older 2D animated scenes match the new CGI, but it just ruins the stylistic choices the original had.The weirdest thing about this new version is the way it was re-edited. Several scenes have been changed, and there doesn’t seem to be a reason why. All of the edits are simple trims, cutting anything from a couple of frames to about a second of time off at most. But the fact that these edits were made make no sense. They add literally nothing to the whole experience. I don’t know if it was done to make the whole experience feel different or was done just to make a change for changes sake, but it just felt unnecessary.The other obvious and significant change is the new audio mix. The original soundtrack was re-arranged and re-recorded, and the whole thing was remixed into 6.1Channel Surround, done by Randy Thom over at Skywalker Sound,previously working on Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. For the most part, I don’t really have any problems with this. A lot of the new sound effects are not terrible, but nothing to complain about.Along with the remixed audio, the Japanese voices were also re-recorded to try and modernize the dialogue. I don’t speak Japanese, but from what I can tell compared to a decent amount of Japanese performances that I’ve heard throughout the years, the performances are fine. The biggest change is that the original voice of The Puppet Master, played by Iemasa Kayumi, the male voice, was replaced by Yoshiko Sakakibara, a now female voice. This isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but it feels like another change in a long list of unnecessary changes.I could see the argument that since it’s a robot intended to be female, it would have a female voice, but then why does the Major’s voice change back to her previous voice at the end of movie when she’s in a new body? And since the new sentient AI was born in the sea of information, it would either go with whatever voice it happened to be “born”with or pick something that represented itself.I have no idea if this change was done with some sort of intent, but considering how many weird changes that 2.0 gets seemingly without much thought, I’d be surprised if there was any intent in the change of voice besides changing something for the sake of it, like maybe a perceived error in casting a male voice.When it comes down to it, this whole 2.0 experiment feels a little pointless. If the entire film was redone as CGI, it would have at least been consistent in it’s quality. It still might have been a pointless shot-for-shot remake, but it would have felt less intrusive. But instead, what we got was a mixed bag in terms of a “remaster”. None of the changes feel like they enough of a change to justify their existence.Best case scenario,Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is a companion piece to the original and is for fans only. Worst case, it’s entirely skippable, but doesn’t exactly ruin the film. I have a hard time recommending this when it’s incredibly easy to find and watch the original version of GitS over 2.0. The only people who would be interested in this version of the film would be fans of the original version anyway, and those are the people who would complain about this the loudest. And this version is not exactly a good way to introduce more people to a classic movie like this.
This story was… well confusing. The problem was that they had a ‘puppeteer’ who was changing people’s thoughts and memories in order to use it for his own purpose to hack into official’s heads. I won’t lie, I don’t normally understand all that political stuff. The fact that this was so heavy in that made it more of a chore to try and figure stuff out. If I missed something that someone said, to bad, I couldn’t really go back and check it out because I wouldn’t know where to find it again. When we get to the characters, the only ones we really get to understand slightly are Batou and Kusanagi. The others just seem like background characters compared to them. Even then, we don’t get much about the two although you can tell that Batou really cares greatly for Kusanagi. When we do get near the end, it does get into a rather interesting and deep. It really dives into physiological problems and aspects to life. It might of still been a rather confusing show but I did enjoy it.The art style starts out with a lot of CG stuff in the beginning of the show and then going deeper into the normal animation after. I have to say they really took me off guard when they showed the naked body of the major in CG while she was working. Of course then they had to have an opening that expanded on showing a women’s naked body being created through electronic means. There were little scenes where they would do a bit more of the CG and half of it is rather pretty. Some of the characters designs seem a bit off from how they looked in the anime that I had watched part of before, namely the major. Still, the camera angles and some of the ways they showed the world felt very classic to the anime style of the late 1990s. Some of the sounds are a bit off and the English voices sometimes don’t match lip movements but the voice actors really tried their best to make such a serious show work. You can tell just how they read their lines that they were trying really hard to keep it interesting but sadly, I keep feeling that they do a whole lot of talking and sometimes not all that much action or just a lot of shooting. When we do get action, its mostly slow movement, looped or over almost as fast as it starts. Now there are also some talks that feel more like a lecture about the problems with the cyber technology and a philosophy of having your own identity. These small parts were the only things that kept my attention as the others talks seemed a bit more complicated and I had no way of understanding the political problems.
I just finally watched this remastered version and I guess I'll give my thoughts on it while its still fresh in my mind... Story: 8/10 The storyline (as being the original movie - well sort of since this ver. is the remastered ver.) is good overall the idea of a puppet created by Section 6 that has gone rouge was a pretty good idea however it was still confusing on whether or not this puppet was man-made or if it was really human at one time but then got trapped as a "Ghost" ~ The one thing that bothered me was the fact that Motoko kept taking off her clothes whenever she wanted to become badass which is very odd to me (note I'm not against it). The fight scenes were pretty owie because it was limbs being twisted and such lol Animation: 4/10 Its hard to give this a good animation review just because it was one of the first anime out there so the animation is pretty out there ~ They're all so different from their Ghost in the Shell series counterparts...thats another thing that bugged me I noticed Motoko's voice is different from the series voice actor so that really bugs the living shit out of me...but it was still fairly similar for someone to not really notice. Since 2.0 is a remastered ver. of the original movie I noticed the artwork was better ~ (above: Top - Remastered Version, Bottom - Original) Sound: 4/10 This is one of the few animes where I'm not that interested in the sound, the main theme song throughout the movie was like an opera special between kids and after awhile it really started to bug me...but again after awhile it grew on me. However I do not like the fact that only that song plays while theres like an intermission of just images and this song playing, that was the only part in the movie where I was bored out of my mind.... Characters: 7/10 I give this a seven out of ten just because I watched the anime series first and not the movies so the characters already grew on me, I didnt like how they only showed Motoko, Batou, and Togasa mostly with very bits of Aramaki, the only time you saw Ishikawa was at the end and that was super brief!!!! And now that I'm thinking about it there was absolutley no Tachikomas either!!! WTF? (above) yes people she is naked... Overall: 6/10 Overall it was fairly good but I dont think I would add this to my anime I want to buy list unless I get the urge to buy the anime series in general...if thats the case then yes I would like to get the movies just because it wouldnt feel like the whole set without the movies... Thanks for reading ~ :)
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