Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
September 17, 2004
Movie of the Day for Sunday, June 6, 2004
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Batou is a living doll.
His whole body, even his arms and legs are entirely man-made.
What only remains are traces of his brain
and memories of a woman
When the boundary between humans and machines
has infinitely blurred,
Humans have forgotten that they are humans.
This is a promiscuous story of a lonesome "ghost" of a man,
who nevertheless seeks to retain humanity.
That's what life is.
Such is the ambiguous story behind the sequel to the seminal anime film Ghost in the Shell, a film with a Blade Runner/Matrix-esque quality that captured the imagination of North American audiences. Along with Akira and Hiyao Miyazak's Studio Ghibli movies, Ghost in the Shell heralded the spread of anime influence to our Western sensibilities.
I explored that first film's engrossing story, visuals, and ideas in an earlier column called Drawn That Way. Now, the ingenious director/screenwriter Mamoru Oshii is returning for a second go-round at the themes on which he expounded in his original 1995 film. Also returning is Kenji Kawai, who composed the marvelous score that accompanied the futuristic tale.
After a lukewarm March 2004 premiere in Japan, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence will be making its way across the Pacific to the shores of North America. Thanks to DreamWorks' indie distribution arm, Go Fish, the cult fanbase that cut their teeth on anime partially thanks to Oshii will have the opportunity to see his lush animated style once again. In fact, it's worthy of note that the original Ghost in the Shell never quite enjoyed the popularity in its native country that it has among the budding genre fans in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain.
If Go Fish follows the Millennium Actress model for Innocence's release, they'll give the film a small-scale theatrical release followed by a rapid push to DVD. Given the built-in audience for the film, it makes sense that the distributor might seek additional venues in larger cities. (Kim Hollis/BOP)