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A masterpiece that wants viewers to get to know the whole franchise
(note: 'Gits' in this review = Ghost in the Shell)
I so wished to give this masterpiece an honest perfect score, but I find myself unable to do so after watching it.
I got a feeling that the director assumed viewers of the movie to be well familiar with Gits world and story. In other words, fans and followers of Shirow's work. And I mean all of it. Not just the first movie, but anime and in particular, Gits2 (Man-Machine Interface) manga! If you compare the last scene in the movie involving a doll and I think, 2nd or 3rd page of Volume 1 of the Gits2-MMI manga you'll see what I'm talking about :) Having said that, the story makes lot more sense to me as I am a Gits sucker.
I actually enjoy the complex political intricacies and government ploys in Gits anime. Some people can't stomach Gits stories and fall asleep as action is rather scarce. Same can be said about Innocence movie. In fact, part of my disappointment with the movie is that it felt like another Gits anime episode, not a sequel.
Of course, I don't need to tell you about the visuals. Certainly, almost every scene is a jaw-dropper. Incredibly detailed!
Music, sadly, sounds unoriginal, and yes, you've heard it in Gits1 movie. Too bad. Even the ending track "Follow Me" (although a pleasure to listen) is an old melody they borrowed.
This is certainly not the best way to introduce someone into the whole Gits world. Most newcomers will be lost, as the true value of this movie is simply being another dot you connect in the Ghost In The Shell ongoing story.
I'm one of many who got suckered into anime by watching Gits1 movie and ever since then I've had a sentimental connection and extra appreciation for Ghost in the Shell lineup. Always well above average in art quality, provocative ideas, and intricate plot. Innocence movie continues this tradition and delivers in most aspects what Gits fans expect. So do your eyes a favor and watch it!
Hi tech, gorgeous computer animation that begs for a little character development
It's hard for a director to fit in some new, fresh story if he's subdued by the original story from manga. I've noticed that much like in Innocence, director sort of hoped/expected audience to have pre-emptively informed themselves of the basic story and the world of Appleseed. This is why many reviewers here found the movie uninspiring, to say the least.
I'm a sucker for sci-fi, particularly Shirow's work, so I just couldn't rate the movie based purely on how satisfied I felt after watching it. In short, a last moment large-scale battle versus the old, unchanging elders is a motif you've seen too many times. You don't know much about characters, their reasons, you can't quite pick a side. Some scenes were painfully cheesy.
My biggest pet peeve is voice acting. I always appreciated Japanese actors doing a great job but this is first time I wished for a dub. Especially when Deunan would speak up, her voice was utterly flat. Some people complained about 'emotionless eyes' in all characters and I concur. They're really not in tune with facial expressions, in fact, they're totally neutral. Sound is unremarkable, and there isn't a single tune that left a mark.
There isn't as much shooting as I expected, and the best action scene was the fight with two assassin female androids with cutting wires. From what I understood, Deunan (main character) is a regular human, yet, what 20mm bullets won't do to some attacking robots, her kicking foot will?? She does, however, show her emotions so you can relate to her and even feel sorry at times. She is likable, but there isn't a reason given in the movie except that she's stereotypically cute.
This brings me to the visuals. I've seen this drawing technique in the new Spiderman cartoon, where the moves were much more fluid and believable. I appreciate innovation but besides crisp imagery Appleseed movie lacks refined movement choreography.
So how can I recommend it after having criticized it this much? Well, consider the simple fact that Appleseed was introduced long ago, even before Ghost In The Shell. As such it deserves credit for a ahead-of-its-time story when it came out.
The Appleseed movie is like a tribute to early Masamune Shirow work and ideas, and he deserves it. Despite some blatant flaws, Appleseed is well worth the time, and candid action scenes beg for DVD quality experience. I'm going to watch it again.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Almost as good as the first one
Lots of shots of European cities and lots of action. It's like watching a tourist presentation which is really a nice change from American cities (nothing wrong with those though :)) You're gonna see a lot of big bad Russians and somewhat old-fashioned east-west secret services involvements. Also, more light is shed on who was exactly Jason Bourne, so if you're curious to find out, the movie is not that bad of a watch. Beware however,camera doesn't stay static for more than 2 seconds, during those flashes it's being intentionally shaken so that viewers can't catch really cheap action setups. I'd rather see cgi animation than a headache-causing camera view..