Posted by : Terentius
Posted on : 2008-11-29
This is very hard for me to admit. It has been 15 years since the original Ghost in the Shell movie was released back in 1995 (I was aged 13). I was star-struck much like when I first laid eyes on 1987’s Akira. Has time changed any of my childhood perceptions? Review based on Manga Entertainment UK DVD release.
At the time, the animation was unarguably the best of its day. It technically was streaks ahead of the competition to the extent that without the release of this movie, there would not have been any inspiration for the Wachowski brothers. Who are they? Well, if you need to know, they were the supposed creative minds behind a certain 1999 movie called The Matrix. For example, the green flashing opening credits seem familiar right? What about the jacks that plug into the necks of the Major and the rest of section 9? Inspired writing or plagiarism? Anyway, looking back I feel that the animation still looks good. It would never be as visually stunning as say Final Fantasy: Advent Children, but in time even that would be surpassed. I am not a fan of the Major's character design in this release of the movie, but the rest of the cast looked better than average. The mecha and the backgrounds were also very well done. If this were released today, I would have said "could be better".
This was one area of the movie I remain indecisive. For an involving story as intriguing and intellectual as the puppet-master in GiTS, 90 minutes just wasn't long enough. That was where both GiTS: SAC were perfect. An entire season was devoted to following the gripping stories of each and to expect the same from a movie was perhaps asking too much. So much condensed into so little was perhaps the best summary I can consider for the story. Naturally, the story seemed convoluted with large sections of the plot remaining unexplored. Much of the ending relied upon the viewer to decide for themselves the ultimate fate of the Major (revealed in part by the 2004 sequel Innocence). Even though I was desperate for more I was left feeling empty at the movie's conclusion.
Again, this movie was my first introduction to the crew of Section 9. At the time, I had no real idea as to their main purpose or their active roles in this dystopian of futures. With the release of the Stand-Alone Complexes where more attention was placed on developing the backgrounds and histories of the cast, I found re-watching GiTS much more rewarding. Nevertheless, I had grew accustomed to the multi-faceted/talented Major and seeing her in the movie was such a disappointment. If there was trouble brewing the first to go in head-first with guns blazing would be none other than Major Kusanagi. Here she acts almost like an overly self-deliberating, mopey teenager that questions everything and everyone. The fact she does this for most of the movie was disheartening. Here was one of anime's greatest female characters sitting around, arguing with herself or other characters the true meaning of existence in an age where technology and life are intermeshed. It makes for great philosophical discussion but not for great action. The other characters had very little to do in terms of their roles and they were almost marginalised throughout. Disappointing overall.
Kenji Kawai's score was incredibly atmospheric. For example, I am still haunted by the music during the canal scene with planes flying overhead and the neon lights of the city shining brightly. The music and chanting there was almost spine-chilling. Very moody and dark, the music encapsulates the potential technological future that awaits us.
I listened to the English dub and it still sounds very good. Unfortunately, I cannot remember what the original Japanese was like.
The animation was brilliant. It still looks good even today. The story was confusing at the time and it was only with the intervention of the two seasons of SAC that I could empathise more with the characters. It still remains a decent release, but it would not appeal to everyone. This release is definitely a must see for any self-respecting fan of the franchise, but for the casual fan I would recommend sticking to the 2 superb SAC if action. A decent effort of 3.5 stars.
Posted by : leoxjm
Posted on : 2008-03-28
Although the Ghost in the Shell movie wasn't really what I expected (just what was I expecting?), I have to admit that I found it very enjoyable. While all of its successors have outdone it in just about every way, this first animation of Masamune Shirow's manga set the bar quite high. It isn't that this film is bad, it is that the others are really good.
This movie focuses on what were some of the last events of the manga, the case of the "Puppet Master" and Motoko's ultimate encounter with it. The case itself isn't as elaborate or nuanced as those depicted in it successors either, but it still makes for an action-packed, suspenseful and thought-provoking watch.
Personally, the fault I find with this movie lies in the characters. The movie focuses almost exclusively on Motoko, who lacks the forceful personality that she displays in the original manga and that the Stand Alone Complex series captures so beautifully. In this case, Motoko is very introspective and meditative, almost sulky. Her character isn't boring, really, but its... dull? She spends lots of time talking about her ghost and questioning her self and humanity, and she kind of takes care of kicking butt in the meantime. I don't feel that the balance between those aspects of her personality was well achieved. Batou, Togusa, Aramaki and Ishikawa are there pretty much to provide support for her (it is her story, after all), but aside from Batou you don't get much of a feel of them.
The animation is excellent for a 1995 movie. Nowadays it's not too difficult to match or even surpass its quality, but for its time, Ghost in the Shell's visuals were mind-blowing. My only complain when it comes to visuals, has to do with Motoko again: I didn't like her character design. The original concept calls for her to be pretty... here she's just weird, with that odd look in her eyes and ever-mopey attitude. She shouldn't have been the most gorgeous creature in existence either, but... I was expecting more.
Kawai Kenji's soundtrack for the film is of astounding quality. I loved every second of it. It contributes greatly to the feel of the scenes, the visuals and the mood they're supposed to have. Here's a prime example of what a good soundtrack is and how it should be used.
Ghost in the Shell relies far more heavily on thought, introspection and the search for one's humanity in a mechanized world far more than the subsequent SAC franchise that is based on the same source material. While I don't think that's a bad thing, it certainly undercuts the movie's appeal, especially when compared with it. It isn't as mainstream, nor does it cater so well to audiences that look for action. To a lot of people this movie will appear mind-bogglingly boring and convoluted (at times I thought so as well), probably unnecessarily so. If that's the case, I strongly recommend watching the products of the SAC franchise, which are a more universally appealing take on the same manga.
Still, I found this movie to be quite interesting and worthy of a good opinion of mine. I won't say it is a masterpiece; it isn't. And I did get more enjoyment from the SAC universe as well, but all in all, I liked what I saw in Ghost in the Shell. It may have been a tad boring at times and Motoko's attitude and design a bit of a turn-off, but the movie itself is solid, thought-provoking, and almost flawless aesthetically. It is very much worth a 9/10 score for me. No more, but no less.
Posted by : Molenir
Posted on : 2007-03-11
I remember that when I first watched this anime I hated it. The plot was too convoluted and nonsensical. And the dialog just seemed to emphasize these flaws, focusing on rambling nonsense. After watching both seasons of the TV series, I decided to go back and give this another chance, just to see if maybe my memory was faulty, or if perhaps, having seen the TV series, my taste had matured.
To put it simply, it hasn't. I liked the TV series. The characters were great, the story, while not necessarily all that believable, was at the same time fun to watch. This, with the "puppet master", engineering things to meet the major... I just didn't enjoy it. The animation is good, though dated, considering it was made over 10 years ago. The music, once again, I ended up comparing to the TV series, and it simply came up wanting.
To sum up, if the name intrigues you, I'd recommend the TV series, the movie isn't worth watching.
Posted by : glouche88
Posted on : 2007-02-01
Literary and philosophical. WARNING: suited for intellectual audiences, as quoted on the cover.
Story 9/10: Artificial intelligence becoming more than man’s creation is a common plot, but this movie take sit further and even has religious support. Wrapping that up is an experimental project of a film that leaves a unique feeling that cold and lost like a machine, but with a complexion of hope. It’s almost horrifying to think that this is how the future will feel.
Characters 8/10: Most of the characters fill the environment, but the main ones, the Major, Batou, and the Puppet Master collaborate the common of philosophy of man vs. machine. Always a sensitive topic.
Visuals 10: Top line animation when technology wasn’t really up yet. Powerful and intense!
Music 10: Haunting and mysterious. The beginning theme and the one in the final battle scene leave a ghostly feeling just as the film does. A perfect match up in terms of theme.
Overall 9: A brilliant piece almost worth calling literature. I’ll admit it’s difficult for most people to comprehend, but it’s an ongoing topic being discussed, which keeps it interesting.
Posted by : TheLoneBrit101
Posted on : 2007-01-04
This was the FIRST anime I saw that really got me hooked and hence devoured most of my life.
The animation was great to watch, and keeping in mind when it was made, without fault. Neither did it miss anything.
The music was the one thing that annoyed me in this film - not even the difficult concepts raised managed to do that. Yes it may have been slighty futuristic, keeping in line with the anime. But it failed to aspire me rather leaving an annoying buzz behind in my ears that prevented me from truly appreciating the film.
As I've mentioned before, the story raises interesting points about what it actually means to be human. The complete lack of humour and the seriousness conveyed through the characters, forces you to pay full attention to what is happening on the screen, and in turn make you THINK about what is happening.
Posted by : Trivialpanda
Posted on : 2006-04-27
This movie was great.
There isn't much character development from the movie other then the Major and Batou relationship. But other then that, no.
The CG is very nicely done and the design for the objects and vehicles were pretty cool.
The story is also very nice. The ending seems abit open, but yeah that's what he movie is known for. Leaving it open for possiblities.
The music had a nice feel to it as it fit with the futuristic scene and as well as the mood of the movie. There were some nice scenes in the movie that are imprited in my head and gave me some inspiration.
This movie is very good and different from all the other stories, like robots wanting to become human. But inactuallity it's humans that want to become robots. This story also makes you question what does it mean to be human and what does it really mean to be alive.
Posted by : MrSentimental
Posted on : 2005-10-23
When I first saw the original movie years ago, I thought the animation was real cool! The action scenes and the "cloaking" were great! The tank was cool, and I was glad to see more things like this in the Stand Alone Complex. There just weren't enough action scenes in the movie, though.
The plot was often draggy, with lots of computer and tech talk, "meaning of life" talk, and stuff like that. Yawwwwn. The ending wasn't real satisfying, but I think the movie was kind of noted for that.
I can't say any of the characters were real appealing. You could tell Batou cared for the Major, but that was about it as far as any real connectedness between characters in this flick.
I liked some of the music. I got the OST. It had that haunting opening theme that I liked, but did not have that cool techno ending theme. I was disappointed by that.
Worth a one-shot at least. It is a classic, of course. 7 out of 10 rating. 3 1/2 STARS.
Posted by : quosimos
Posted on : 2005-08-16
GitS is a cyberpunkish sci fi that follows an almost 100% android Major Motoko Kusanagi as she attempts to get to the bottom of a case involving the mysterious Puppetmaster, a cyber-terrorist (i know some will be rolling their eyes but its really not that bad). She operates for Section 9, a covert intelligence/security agency in the near future. In keeping with the cyberpunk sub genre, GitS themes deal with the nature of living breathing? existence, the future of evolution and hypothesises a society which is as electronic as it is flesh and blood.
Although the plot can be convoluted for some, be alert, pay attention and you will be rewarded. I really appreciate detail of GitS's plot. Perhaps initially a bit confusing and banal it eventially unfurls itself in the later half of the movie.
Shirow created a world of mindblowing complexity and depth and i believe Director Oshii is able to replicate a good portion of this in his filmic appropriation of Shirow's manga. In addition, Oshii manages to build a cohesiveness and edge in his film that were lacking in the manga.
Its hard not to be immersed into the world of GitS when youre watching it and did i mention the action?! Wow! No wonder the Matrix creators were inspired by the choreography in this film. The dynamic scenes are well balanced with calmer moments, i love the pacing. The opening credits and music are very cool and the final action scene is astoundingly good, best ive seen bar nothing on screen or tele.
While the movie does have very interesting concepts at its heart, unlike many anime series and films, it thankfully is not an in your face thesis unlike the second movie (from what ive heard at least). The themes in GitS are well integrated into the film. Unfortunately i think Oshii does sacrifice some of the depth in Shirow's manga but the upside is a smoother and more cohesive film overall. I only wish writers would realise that superficial symbolism cannot prop up a plot struggling with cliched ideas or one which unadequately develops its themes. GitS was worth a second watch and that counts for a lot in my eyes.
Posted by : reeder5002
Posted on : 2005-06-02
First off coming into the setting of the movie and not seeing the show probably isn
Posted by : Mordicai31
Posted on : 2005-04-17
Ghost in the Shell is definitely a gorgeous piece of work as far as animation and sound go, but there's no denying that the plot is lacking. Maybe it's because I haven't seen the Stand Alone Complexes, but the whole thing seemed a little pointless to me. I was also disappointed when it said something like 90 minutes on the box, when the actual feature was only 40 minutes long. I really didn't want to be paying for nearly an hour of advertisements.
Despite this, the feature gets an 8.
Posted by : estrella
Posted on : 2005-01-23
I really love the drawings, and the colourings were good too. It was in 1995!!! It has a dark atmosphere to give you that spine tingling sensation. It has a confusing story-plot, which leaves you staring at the screen. The point is that they can think of a really fantastic plot, which I know I can never think of. It's not predictable that makes it really interesting. You've gotta give full attention to it to understand what the movie is trying to show you.
If you dont like twist-and-turn stories, then don't watch this. Even still, this is highly recommended. Ghost in the Shell is very popular okay!~ You can't say you know anime until you've watched Ghost in the Shell!!! It's really fantastic! Watch it a few more times to get a good hang of it. It's really cool....Please please please watch Ghost in the Shell 1 and 2 okay?
Posted by : atikiN
Posted on : 2004-10-21
I watched this movie after watching the first season of the TV series. I enjoyed the series very much but I
Posted by : AlDim
Posted on : 2004-05-19
Ghost in the Shell is an amazing accomplishment. It brings together very interesting cyberpunk philosophies and beautifully animated action in an extremely enjoyable movie (at least for those who get it and don't expect it to have non-stop action).
The anime and manga are very different, both great in their own way. The anime follows the same basic storyline but is a lot more serious. Typical Mamoru Oshii stuff - moody, atmospheric, thoughtful, and beautiful. Even though Ghost in the Shell was made 8 years ago, its animation hasn't aged a bit, really breakthrough stuff (and it looks like the upcoming second GitS movie will once again bring visuals to another level). There are a few scenes which can be watched and rewatched countless times without getting boring simply because of their beauty and the brilliant background music. Speaking of music, Kenji Kawai has really outdone himself here, creating the perfect soundtrack for Oshii's ideas.
I have seen GitS countless times and I'm still not bored of it. If you like mature thoughtful animes, that's the one to see! On a side note, I would recommend anyone who has enjoyed this movie to also watch the incredible Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series, which lives up to the reputation of the movie both in terms of visuals and ideas.
Posted by : Kaiser
Posted on : 2002-08-24
Ghost in the Shell was one of the few anime series I watched on DVD first before anything else. I had heard of all this hype about the movie and I can see how lovely the animation and fluidity of motion were carried out (every single background person was animated and moving, one of the marketplace scenes had me stunned). Graphics aside, I was disappointed or had too high expectations of the storyline... eyecandy I call it but I didn't feel the story was as good as it should have been.
Exccellent animation. Everything looks realistic in this movie. There is life in all the backgrounds, the market scene with ALL those people moving about was just spectacular. Music composed by Yoko Kanno adds a lovely theme to the entire movie. I was however sort of disappointed at how fast the movie ended and how shallow the plot was. It didnt' take long for everything to wrap up.
Fans of the GitS base will be glad to know two full TV series and a second movie have been made.
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