Monday, April 24, 2006

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Many cite the first Ghost in the Shell film as a primary precursor to The Matrix. In this instance the flow of cult borrowing appears to run in reverse, because Inosensu is in many ways an over-seasoned update of the Blade Runner recipe - a sci-if noir/cyberpunk anime splattered with disjointed observations about artificial intelligence, its narrative action periodically interrupted by utterly jaw-dropping cityscapes. (There's also more than a hint of debt to the more natively baroque imagination of Hayao Miyazagi.)

While "stunning" would hardly do the visual experience any justice, "deadening" would be about right for much of the dialogue. Shelley, Browning, Descartes, Asimov, Darwin, Milton and Confucius are all spewed out. In the mid-section there's an intense ten minutes of bollocks about the nature of dolls and children that almost had me reaching for the off switch.

Like the robots at the centre of its plot, this film is a technological marvel, yet somehow not quite alive. The most engaging and sympathetic animated character is a Bassett Hound.

The English version appears to have been re-written rather than just translated from the Japanese. I haven't followed the Japanese dialogue version all the way through, but perhaps it is a bit less pretentious.

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