Ghost in the Shell 2:... (2004)
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Review Date: May 19, 2004
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Writer: Mamoru Oshii
Producers: Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Toshio Suzuki
Akio Otsuka as Batou
Atsuko Tanaka as Major Motoko
Koichi Yamadera as Togusa
Here's the official plot outline for this movie: "It is the year 2032 and the line between humans and machines has been blurred almost beyond distinction." Here's my take: "It is the year 2004 and the line between a cohesive, entertaining motion picture and a piece of esoteric techno-drivel has been blurred into a little something called INNOCENCE."
To describe this film as the worst movie that I've seen at the Cannes Film Festival so far is to do a disservice to all other movies that actually attempted to put together a narrative that makes sense on an actual cinematic level. Watching this film was like reading a really complicated, boring, technical computer manual while being inundated with so-so visuals and awful characterizations all at once. I don't remember the last time that I wanted to walk out of a screening so badly, but after about 1/3 of our audience disappeared about the film's first half, I was envying every single person who got up and followed. In fact, I had to reach down and grab my nuts at some point, just to make sure that I didn't slip away into lala-land after umpteen horrible quotes from the film's characters from the like of Confucius, the bible, poets, etc... Does anybody talk like normal people in the future? Not according to this smorgasbord of lame characters spouting inane nothings into a plot that revolves around humans, robots, ghosts and some other inexplicable futuristic mumbo-jumbo. To understand this film is to obtain a thesis in the field of robotechnology with mentions of E-brains, ghost dubbings, internal and external memory banks, ginoids, cyborgs and firewalls dropped in like it might be interesting to anyone but computer hackers and the folks behind the creation of this abomination. I usually get press kits on all films, but I never read them because I want to make sure to keep my perspective as a "regular movie fan" when I write my reviews, and in the case of this film...dude, I just didn't get all! What the fuck are you guys babbling about?!?

Top that with the fact that the animation is decent, but pretty basic 2D stuff, mixed in with over-the-top colorful 3D stuff every now and again (specifically a visually impressive parade sequence that has NOTHING to do with the story, but was nice to look at, I guess), an amazingly uncharismatic lead robot character, a lame-duck sidekick, an opening scene that features a woman discussing the intricacies of robots and the like for about 5-10 minutes (hey man, I came to watch a movie, not to listen to some lecture on the future of technology, blah-blah-blah!), two very basic "action sequences", very odd 5-10 "pauses" by characters after talking in certain scenes (doesn't feel "real",'re taking me OUT OF THE MOVIE!) and a conclusion that can only remind one of how "easy-to-understand" the MATRIX sequels were and you've got yourself one, big mess-pile of a film. But that's just my opinion, folks. If philosophy, the intricacies of futuristic technology, robotics, memory drives, characters who speak in quotes all the time and a plotline with enough complexities for you to devote an entire college semester to its deconstruction, interests you...well, okay, I'm being an ass. Bottom line, I considered this screening a torture session for myself, one which I somehow managed to pass. The best praise that I can give this movie is to thank it for not running any longer than 100 minutes. One minute more, and I might've passed out from extreme lameness. I think this film actually makes WAKING LIFE look cohesive. Oh yeah, and its musical score annoyed me too. Grating. PS: I spit on the folks in the Cannes Selection Committee for choosing this motion picture as one of the 19 films on the official ballot for the Palme D'Or. Patooey!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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