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Ghost In The Shell back to reviews
Completely unenjoyable on every level
Lemme get this out of the way first—the dialogue, at least in the dub, is absolutely terrible. The expository dialogue has a very specific rhythm that it adheres to unwaveringly, a constant barrage of question and answer sessions even when it comes to things characters should already know about the way the system works. Most irritating is that any introspection the characters have is packaged like this too—the Major, especially, tells us how she feels about life and existence the same way she talks about the details of a case she's working or how this universe's robots work.

And speaking of life, existence, and how robots work, the film seems to repeatedly put forth that life is meaningless. The problem is that this philosophy is based entirely around the hypothetical world the movie is set in—memories can be fabricated, minds hacked. In such a world, yeah, the concept of life is kinda meaningless, and yet the movie seems to put this forth as a general philosophy rather than one specific to its warped universe. It's like if Lord Of The Rings put forth orks as evidence of fundamental evil. And of course none of this is helped by the rhythms of the dialogue.

You'd expect refuge in the action scenes. This is a crime thriller after all, isn't it? But the film seems convinced that if the pacing picks up for more than two seconds it'll lose its deep-and-brooding cred. Chase scenes are given slow steady music and a montage feel that just falls short of putting you to sleep. Oh, it has no qualms about quick bursts of brutal violence, so long as they don't linger.

Other, non-action silent scenes are like this, too, with one montage being just of people wandering about the city. There was probably a message in that, but maybe the film's right and I'm just too stupid to get it if everything isn't explained to me at length in monotone.

At 90 minutes the film feels overlong and understuffed. It has little to say and no skill to say it with. Oh, and the CGI is terrible and out of place.

Watch the show instead. It's far better in all respects.
To be fair some anime take the pessimistic life sucks and then you die approach. Take Neon Genesis Evangelion which if you haven't seen I won't spoil, but by god is it a dark take on existence that seems to be your main gripe with the film.

My take? Well my review is there if you're interested, but absolutely as good as anime at the time was you are right to point out the voice acting. This was before the time of Steve Blum and other notable names (Jennifer Hale, Samuel L. Jackson in Afro Samurai, Kim Mai Guest, Robert Atkin Downs, Laura Bailey, Johnny Young Bosch) and any anime or game would likely have voice work that is questionable. The same goes for style and tone, I remember when I had a fest of works such as Big O, Ace Combat and Tekken. Rather than a Eastern take on Batman: The Animated Series or blowing up planes or two wo/men enter one wo/man leaves we get dark, we get gritty, we get at times depressing and distressing stories. That's part of the charm, but since you point it out my advice is if you are not an emo and don't want to become one, or are an emo and don't want to slash your wrists then absolutely exercise judgment. Pick up Initial D or You're Under Arrest!, pick up Saints Row'' and choke out the Wangst with the Penetrator bat.
comment #23738 tsstevens 7th Apr 14
You seem to be under the impression that my problem with the film is that it's depressing, whereas in actuality my problem is that the worldview the film puts forth as to why life is depressing only makes sense in-universe. It's invented a societal problem and then tries to use that as proof of real-world existential meaninglessness.
comment #23771 Wackd 11th Apr 14
I do agree that the show instead is better, but my problem with the Oshii movies is that they plod like mother-fuck. They are so agonizingly slow and don't even have enough material to hold my interest.

That irritates me because I like slow-paced Slice of Life and Iyashikei stuff, so I know that taking it slow can be a good thing for plot, so I consider the Oshii movies as prime examples of how not to do a slow-paced story.

The other problem is of course that Major Kusanagi is an awesome character but she's completely mishandled and wasted in the movies. She's way more lively and cool in the series.
comment #23772 Sen 11th Apr 14
Well, yes, that too.
comment #23773 Wackd 11th Apr 14
You mean how a story takes place in The End of the World as We Know It (it doesn't but for the sake of argument) and uses such a setting to apply nihilism to the real life which isn't nearly the Crapsack World the story is based? Yeah. I see what you're saying if that's the point you're making. With the Evangelion example I mentioned, it makes sense for the characters to be nine kinds of effed up but Hideaki Anno used it to an extent to cope with real world issues and his own depression.

You might be interested in hearing what Bennett The Sage has to say in his review of Trigun. He addresses how Vash deals with his circumstances and how it's very different to what you seem to be suggesting.
comment #23904 tsstevens 18th Apr 14
I mostly agree with this review, except I watched the sub instead of the dub. The dialogue isn't much better in that though.

My problem was that there's no climax, and no real driving force to the plot.
comment #24442 ElectricNova 21st May 14
I didn't like the movie itself, but the final scene was animated beautifully and I really liked the soundtrack. It was a weird-ass soundtrack, but that's why I liked it.

Other than that, it failed as a movie.
comment #24443 MrMallard 21st May 14
The film doesn't say that life is meaningless. Ghost in the shell is about the question what is needed to be considered human. It's dark yes, but also rather optimistic (just like Evangelion.)

Oshiis style is hard to endure for many people, but the things he has to say are more interesting and deeper than a simple statement like "Life sucks in the future"
comment #25582 olgaroni 7th Aug 14
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