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"Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence"

Directed by Mamoru Oshii.
Written by Mamoru Oshii.  Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow.
Starring the voices of Akio ‘tsuka, KŰichi Yamadera and Atsuko Tanaka.
Release Year:  2004
Review Date:  9/21/04


While I was in San Francisco over the weekend, I was hangin' out during the workday and waiting for friends to get out of those pesky assignments known as "jobs."  I figured,

"Hey, I like movies...let's go catch a matinee!", I did.  "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence" was something that on paper should have been a sequel to "Ghost in the Shell", anime that is in the Legendary category right alongside films like "Akira."  The first "Shell" had a decent amount of action mixed with some cool storytelling, tales of a near-future that of course has something to do with conspiracies, and robots, and machine guns.  I remember liking that original, although I also remember thinking that it should have had much more action.

"Innocence" is the supposedly long-awaited sequel, although I was getting along just fine without it until this thing showed up.  In this near-future society, a cyborg cop named Batou is partnered with an agent from the city's Section 9 unit, some special crimes division that is important later, as we learn that a series of killings committed by personal service robots (by "personal service", I mean "sexoid devices") may involve Section 9 specialists.

I won't lie--movies like this always seem to snow me very early on, and "Innocence" is no exception.  After the first five minutes, I was pretty well sure that I would be asleep sometime after about half an hour, because there was so little going on.  It didn't help that the film was subtitled, and I hadn't gotten my nap, and there is even less action than there was in the first film, so save for a couple of brief shootouts, it's all about characters spouting off Confucius, random proverbs and personal thoughts about their wives and children.

This gets boring fast.  And, I didn't think that the dialogue really dug deep enough to make me think about...well, anything, really.  The animation is pretty sweet, and since I don't really watch cartoons on TV at all anymore (I know, my loss), I'm always entertained by drawn pictures put into motion.  The soundtrack is quite powerful, and it was pretty amped in my theater last week; it won't win any awards or anything, but the music was definitely epic and never devolved into a standard-issue techno soundtrack when guns were blazing.

Aesthetically, "Innocence" was just fine.  But, there was almost nothing going on, and at 100 minutes, you start to feel the length after about an hour and what choice do you have besides sleepytime??  I thought manga was about gunfire, and hot women, and then the deep storyline?  You can't have C without A and B.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09