'Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence' - Movie Review

1995's "Ghost in the Shell" was a very intelligent and disturbing movie about the near future that made you really think about what it meant to be human when your body is enhanced (or even fully replaced) with prosthetics and your mind is augmented with computers and extra storage. What happens when someone hacks your mind, and changes your memories of your life - makes you do things to save the wife and daughter you don't even have? I think it was, and still remains, one of the best SF movies in any form.

"Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence" looks to follow that up with a slower-paced and more philosophical contemplation on a similar subjects. I can't really get into that without giving stuff away, although it's still very much about being most or all machine and still having a human soul. Batou and Togusa return from the previous movie, with Batou questioning his own humanity now as much as Major Kusanagi did in the previous movie. But this time they're investigating the multiple malfunctions of gynoids (turns out that's a legitimate word - androids modelled on the female form) - they're killing people and then themselves, which doesn't really make sense.

The previous movie was (I think) entirely hand drawn, but this one makes heavy use of fairly blatant - but often stunningly gorgeous - CG graphics. And just like the previous movie, this one takes a break exactly at the mid-point for a three minute exercise in jaw-dropping art, showing the city with beautiful music, no speech, and almost zero plot advancement.

As mentioned, this movie is even more philosophical than the last - and with a script loaded to the gills with the quoting of literature and proverbs, what you're going to make of it depends very heavily on the quality of the translation. I think the first time I saw it, less of the quotes had actually been put in quotes in the subs. And I think that's actually better, because - just like listening to an actor speaking your native language - you either recognize the quote or you don't: it's not stuffed in your face that it IS a quote. It's marginally interesting to know that they're playing a reference game with each other, but it would be better if it weren't so blatant, as with the English subs I saw this time.

This isn't as good a movie as the first one, but it's still very good and very thought-provoking (although it would be meaningless without seeing the first one). It's even more visually beautiful - which is saying something.