I finally got a chance to see Mamoru Oshii’s latest feature anime: Ghost in the Shell: Innocence. If you loved the first Ghost in the Shell movie, you’ll probably love this one too! It was meticulously-paced, deep, and insightful. In other words, I found it plodding, dull, and ponderous; the screen shot captures the essence of how I feel about the movie. I like the TV adaptation Stand Alone Complex much better…closer to Shirow’s characters and situations in the original Ghost in the Shell manga, without the confusion of the sequel Man-Machine Interface.
I’m not sure what it is about Oshii’s movies…they’ve got wonderful production values, but they feel so still. This is perhaps on purpose, as Oshii’s fascination with dolls was one motivator behind the movie. His take on the central characters has all the charm of the long-dead philosophers that are quoted throughout the film. Interesting questions are posed, but no answers are offered. I came away from Innocence feeling weary and empty.
Curious about his track record, I looked around for Patlabor, his earlier production with other members of the group Headgear, a creative collective which actually sounds cool. His movie track record seems to be quite introspective and unsettling. For example, Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer is among his credits, and is called a “bold re-interpretation of Rumiko Takahashi’s characters”. I guess he’s a philosophical kind of person, looking for deeper meaning between the characters and stories under his charge. I didn’t particularly enjoy UYBD myself, but long-time fans probably enjoyed it more.
Anyway, not my cup of tea. Pretty, but lifeless seems to be the general consensus among reviewers.