Mamoru Oshii's first Ghost in the Shell cyberspace film will return to five Japanese theaters in an enhanced Ghost in the Shell 2.0 edition on July 12. The new edition will include new computer graphics and digital effects for some scenes and a reunion of most of the cast members for a new 6.1 surround sound recording. Academy-Award-winning sound mixer/editor Randy Thom (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, The Incredibles, The Right Stuff) has overseen the new soundtrack with Kenji Kawai's original music and a final mix that has been produced at Thom and Lucas Digital's Skywalker Sound studio in California.
In the new edition, the enigmatic Puppet Master character will be played by Yoshiko Sakakibara (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence's Harraway, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex's Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki). Iemasa Kayumi (Giant Robo's Chief Chuujou Shizuo, RahXephon's Ernst Von Bähbem) played the role in the original edition.
The film will screen in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Sapporo. Not coincidentally, Oshii's latest film, The Sky Crawlers, will open one month after Ghost in the Shell 2.0 on August 2.
They introduced a topnotch 3D CGI tech to the legendary anime, so there's no question about its quality. But viewers may feel uncomfortable with the discontinuity between the new full 3D CG and the original 2D scenes.
It's basically the same as the original one, but the change of Puppet Master's sex brought about slight changes in the voice actings and the atmosphere. Batou didn't show so much jealousy over the relationship between Motoko and the Puppet Master, and the fusion of the two gave a pure impression rather than a sexual association.
There are two full
3D CGI scenes, something similar to the OP animation of the S.A.C1. The quality of the two scenes were awesome in the descriptions of the optical camouflage, air bubbles, reflections in the water etc. etc. But nothing buffered between the neighboring 3D and 2D scenes. You see 3D CG Motoko in a scene and the next moment Motoko is now in 2D animation. I understanding these discontinuities that Director Oshii wanted to show us his partial idea about how ideal GiS looks like.
SkyWalker sound studio did a terrific job in the sound effects. They were particular about the differences in gun shot sounds. Each gun sounded distinctively different. The sound of Motoko's cyborg body torn up was so real that it gave me goosebumps.
No need to mention the greatness of Motoko, Batou, and Togusa. I focus on Sakakibara Yoshiko as Puppet Master. I think this casting has a good and bad point. Compared to the original actor Kayumi Iemasa, Sakakibara's acting didn't give me much mysteriousness of the character. (Kayumi's low tone acting was perfect for giving an enigmatic impression.) Good thing was it got easier to grasp the idea of the Puppet Master's line "We are mirror images to each other." because Sakakibara's voice resembled Tanaka Atsuko's one in this movie.
Before I watched this, I tried to memorize the contents of the original one as much as possible. It was so much fun to find changes in the lines and drawings. If you are fun of GiS 1.0, I strongly recommend to watch this remake. You will have a deeper understanding of this legendary title.
I'll only go into revisional details assuming you haven't ever watched GITS and checking out which version to watch.
The major difference in 2.0 is the un-matrix-isation of it. GITS was a green movie, in revision it is shifted to a red hue. This makes it way more colorful than intented and a bit disrespectful to Oshii. The introduction sequence is mostly redesigned with 3D additions, it's quite good and gives the impression this will be a complete revision of the original (which is not the case). The credits Matrix copied over is completely taken out.
Lack of transition between newly introduced 3D with the old
2D is extremely uneven and confusing to the audience. There are some panoramic sequences of the city very similar to GITS: Innocence, they manage to fit in, but character 3D ruins it.
I didn't notice any difference plotwise, so if any is present it should be minor. My dvd copy of the original has lots of artifacts, especially in the dark scenes. They did a good job digitally cleaning the film on 2.0.
Overall this renewal feels clumsy and makes GITS more generic than it is. Only a blu-ray renewal should have been more than enough. If this'll be your first time with GITS I strongly advise watching the original first. If you are checking it for a rewatch there is no harm with trying 2.0.
As the second time watching GITS 2.0 after a period of about 3 years, I was pleasantly surprised to find that while I still remember most of the plot, the enjoyment has been in no way diminished.
The familiar feeling of having to keep up with the at-times blazingly fast action, while having to run individual characters' lines a few times through my head in order to process the intrigues that Section 9 was caught up with in the unfamiliar futuristic cyborg-dominated landscape described by Shirow Masamune, assailed me throughout the show, making me glad that I had the leisure of being able to replay scenes
as many times as I want. Despite all this, it should be noted that viewers were given some room to breathe with well designated intervals showing the futuristic landscape with all its quirks, providing an opportunity to absorb the setting in the midst of all the furious action.
Courtesy of some CG scenes interspersed now and again throughout the show, we get to see the familiar bad-ass fully cyborg Major Kusanagi in all of her unclothed glory. While this certainly added to my personal enjoyment and gave the show a shiny new facet, whether or not they had any valuable contribution is probably a matter for some debate.
The music was excellent, adding an unfamiliar, slightly eerie and disjointed feel that complemented the main themes well.
The characters were introduced in a very rushed manner and it leaves me in serious doubt of whether any first-time viewers could remember anyone other than the Major and Batou. Of course, it probably could not have been done any better given the measly 1hr20min run-time of the show. On the positive side, I think that the director did a great job with the Major, being able to summarize her inner conflicts with a few dialogue-heavy scenes that meshed well with the entire flow.
Re-watching merely affirmed my very first thoughts that GITS was an anime like no other, in the way in which it manages to merge captivating politics-ridden plot with intense action in a believable futuristic setting, while at the same time containing some very thought-invoking themes.
(Note: I have explicitly avoided making any comparisons with GITS 1.0 as I wanted to review GITS 2.0 by itself.)
This film is one of the great influencers of the neo-noir/cyber genera that's been gaining steam since its release. What I find astonishing about this film is just how much of a spiritual successor it is to Blade Runner. I saw Gits about 10 years ago for the first time and it was okay...I had seen the first season of Stand Alone Complex and thought it was far superior aesthetically and in regards to content. Recently, however, I saw Blade Runner for the first time and watching it I was struck by how much commonality Gits shared with this film. So, I watched 2.0 online
and I'd like to recommend to any first time viewer or anyone who hasn't seen Blade Runner, watch Blade Runner and THEN watch Gits...it's mindblowing.
Now to the film itself, Gits has many strengths: it's visually beautiful, the soundtrack is haunting and the story is executed at a deliberate pace to give the viewer a chance to ponder the broader questions raised. That being said, a major weakness is the lack of background information and character development: Where did Motoko Kusunagi come from? Why did she go to Section 9? Why does she feel trapped and constrained? These questions aren't really answered, leaving the viewer to fill in the missing pieces (ala Blade Runner); personally I think this movie would have benefitted from extra length to give the viewer an opportunity to connect with Major Kusunagi...the plot is too complicated and rushed. Also, the motivations of the protaganists other than duty for the sake of duty aren't really explained other than "they're bad asses" which, fair enough but some of us want more. The villain is also shadowy (a good thing) and the ending is probably what presents the largest ambiguity to most viewers. My advice is, trying not to spoil things for the people who haven't seen the film, pay attention to the diving scene and the following boat scene...they're important.
I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a film that asks broader questions about existence, identity and where do we come from? and what is human? with a protaganist troubled by these philosophical issues. The action scenes are exhilirating and violent (graphically so) so it does offer set pieces people more accustomed to action might like but this film is dialogue heavy, real heavy. If you're not an amatuer philosopher of existentialism or identity (especially Nitsche...nerds who like him and his adherents will get a kick out of this film) and you are confused by the technological twist applied, look elsewhere...maybe to the series which presents a far less troubled and existential Kusunagi and mainly concerns massive conspiracies and investigations with Gits patented heavy amounts of violence instead of philosophy is more your speed if you like Gits. Personally, I really like both and appreciate what they offer (aside from Cowboy Bebop, Gits is the only anime I watch)...but still, overall prefer the series (although the film version of SAC is inferior to the original in impact, execution and plot development but that being said, it's good too and a good continuation of the series, only a continuation I hope).
Ghost in the Shell may not have the biggest following, but it's still been popular enough to warrant six movies and three series. That's quite a bit of material. And quite a few different opening animation and themes.