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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

When machines learn to feel, who decides what is human... 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

This film is the sequel to Ghost in The Shell, a revolutionary anime film that came out back in 1995, and was one of the inspirations for The Matrix. Both GITS films are set in a futuristic world where the boundaries between man and machine are truly broken as most humans have cybernetic implants of one sort or another. This sequel does not particularly follow on from the original story and both can be watched separately. Unlike the original Ghost in The Shell, Innocence is much less concerned with action and more with being a deep and provocative film exploring elements of the human condition and philosophy. Summarising the plot is quite difficult as even after watching the film you're not really sure what it is about, but it begins with pleasurebots (robots built for pleasure, e.g. sex) occasionally killing people.

Far more important than plot though are the visuals and sound because this film is stunning. If Ghost in The Shell seemed like impressive animation then this film represents all the improvements that the intervening ten years can provide. GITS2 seamlessly combines computer animation and traditional animation to create beautiful, artful worlds and characters. Oshii and his team have gone overboard to make their film visually incredible; the carnival sequence alone took over a year to animate despite being just a few minutes. What’s more there are amazing ideas here governing the visuals; regarding future machines, like a 3D picture frame, and impossible vistas for the characters to get lost in. Ideas are also rife in the vast number of quotes that the characters throw at each other. These quotes are a slightly sore point in the film as their sheer number dilutes the characterisation since mostly the protagonists are not painted as intellectuals and it all seems a little fake.

However, you are guaranteed to see a quote that makes you think and consequently this film has as much depth as you are willing to explore. A strange, beautiful and deep film and it’s got lots of guns and explosions too! Nick Grills

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Screenings of this film:

2005/2006 Spring Term (35mm)