"And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite."
Back when it was first released, Ghost in the Shell was looked upon as a thoroughly engaging and original piece of anime. Over 10 years on the film has lost next to none of its original impact.
But it's a shame the film is too convoluted, confusing, and rather boring at times too. I will admit to never being an anime fanatic but I certainly have enjoyed a number of anime productions.
Unfortunately, this original Ghost in the Shell feature is marred by its tendency to descend into pure philosophical drivel and confusing dialogue that screams multiple viewings. The whole film is very deep and is a complicated system of sub-plots that require your full attention, or you'll fall behind and be forced to watch the film a few more times to understand what the characters are saying.
Despite this flaw, the animation looks gorgeous. Director Mamoru Oshii has seamlessly combined fantastic anime with scenes of amazing CGI. And of course the film must get marks for its originality and its brilliant vision of the future.
Set in 2029, the world is a vastly different place. With upgrades in technology, humans can now be applied with sophisticated implants to enhance functions and allow direct interaction via the internet.
The film opens as a government police unit called Section 9 are investigating a complicated virus that has the ability to hack into cyborgs and control them against their will. Cybernetic government agents Motoko and her partner Batou become involved in the investigation and eventually begin to uncover evidence of a massive political conspiracy.
The film's vision of the future is nothing short of stunning. The imagery we're treated to looks gorgeous despite being an anime feature. The cyborgs and weaponry look especially stunning and realistic, accompanied by an equally brilliant sound mix.
Ghost in the Shell is a stunning thriller. Under the surface it cleverly inserts motifs that invoke philosophical thoughts in the audience's mind to do with the future and a human's place in a society that's becoming more and more reliable on technological advances. It has its fair share of quality action (with frequent gory violence), and it's highly intelligent science fiction. But like I've stated before, despite all this the film is highly boring and irritating at times.
Overall, I found Ghost in the Shell to be a highly impressive, visually stunning anime thriller. Not among the greatest anime productions, but worth seeing. Followed 9 years later by Ghost in the Shell: Innocence.