Kôkaku kidôtai 2.0

Synopsis: A film that has spawned a thousand imitations but never been bettered – Mamoru Oshii’s legendary anime film Ghost In The Shell returns in a stunning new edition remastered by Oshii himself. For this definitive Version 2.0 release, all the original animations are re-produced with latest digital film and animation technologies, including 3D-CGI.

Set in a re-imagined Hong Kong at a time when cyberspace is expanding into human reality, the story follows top cyberwarrior Major Motoko Kusanagi as she hovers on the border of total immersion in the digital world.

The definitive 2.0 also features new voice recordings from the original cast, a brand new score from Kenji Kawai, and 6.1 channel sound created with the help of Skywalker Sound.

Kôkaku kidôtai 2.0 8.0

Like the landmark ‘Akira’, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ is an anime classic – there is no question of that. It doesn’t mean that it’s great cinema, per se, but it has very nice animation, a pretty interesting story and it ponders a few metaphysical questions along the way – all in the context of a sci-fi actioneer. Not too shabby.

Granted, it isn’t very clear about some of the concepts that it discusses (perfect example: what is the difference between a “ghost” and a soul), some of the plot twists are not perfectly conveyed, and there are some conceits that were cobbled together for teenage boys, but, all things considered, it works very well and it’s superior to the standard anime fare.

What still amazes me is that, decades of North American animation has rarely produced serious, mature animated films such as this one; for some reason, we still think that animated films are “cartoons” and that they should be for kids or be “fun for the whole family”. Well, other countries/cultures have different sensibilities, and they’re easily covering ground that we dare not tread; they’ve long realized that animation is just a medium by which we can tell a story – pure and simple.

Anyway, GITS is a good introduction into the world of anime if you’ve never tried it. Basically, it’s a solid sci-fi action film for fans of ‘The Matrix’ or ‘Blade Runner’.

Nota bene: the 2.0 indicated here is due to the revamping of the original film with CGI sequences and effects. In actuality, it’s the same movie, but it’s ‘enhanced’. Unfortunately, this contributes in no real way to the film and actually deters from it a little bit – seeing as the animation style sometimes changes from scene-to-scene.

(damn you, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg for making this practice so commonplace and ‘acceptable’ by revisiting their own classics: THX 1138/Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/ Return of the Jedi/Close Encounters of the Third Kind/E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial!!! Thanks for traipsing on our memories, guys)

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