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Overall Rating
4.32

Awesome55.07%
Worth A Look: 33.33%
Average: 4.35%
Pretty Bad: 2.9%
Total Crap: 4.35%

2 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Ghost in the Shell (1996)
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by Charles Tatum

"Shell shocked"
4 stars

This film has everything a viewer has come to expect from Japanese anime: ultraviolence, gore, and a little nudity. Of course, all anime seems to deliver this now, and I have noticed this is not the big different genre it used to be.

I lived in Okinawa, Japan for four years in the seventies, so I grew up watching this type of stuff. "Ghost in the Shell" delivers the eyecandy, but it tries too hard to provoke thoughtful dialogue.

The hard to follow plot has Kusanagi (voiced by Mimi Woods), a super cyborg who works for a government agency with her partners cyborg Bateau (Richard George) and human Togusa (Christopher Joyce). The group is tracking a sentient being known as the Puppet Master (Abe Lesser), an intelligence who can transfer its "ghost" through other cyborgs. In the film, cyborgs' ghosts are their souls, and shells are their bodies. In this futuristic Japan, half ghost/half humans also exist, and the Puppet Master is getting these and other beings to do its bidding by implanting false memories into their heads- a great idea that never pans out.

Kusanagi has memories of her own, being created by a corporation that also creates a new shell for the Puppet Master. The cybersoldiers track this new shell, and Kusanagi is injured in the process. In the finale, the Puppet Master makes Kusanagi an offer that she cannot refuse- merging into a new supercyborg.

The animation has an incredible film look. The director uses angles that you would normally see in live action films. The artificial world created looks a little too much like "Blade Runner," but it still works. The characters are good, different, and easy to tell apart (compared to other anime efforts).

My biggest qualm is the stuff in between the guns and explosions. The cyborgs talk about what makes a human, isn't DNA actually a program, etc. These long scenes play like a bad Philip K. Dick story, and they bring the proceedings to a screeching halt. The ending is also a letdown, as the film opens the door for a sequel without wrapping up the first film well. I would compare this to the climax of "The Matrix" without Neo realizing he is the "one." Also, there are way too many point of view shots from the cyborg, directly lifted from "RoboCop."

While the plot and dialogue disappointed, the incredible action sequences more than make up for them. I do recommend the film, but with the aforementioned reservations.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=541&reviewer=325
originally posted: 12/03/02 11:33:13
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/24/16 mr.mike "is noice" (Borat). 4 stars
3/16/12 Sean One of the greatest anime movies ever made in my opinion. It was a true work of art. 5 stars
3/14/11 bored mom The rare anime fillm that doesn't shit on you with retarded preaching. But, no Fuchikoma? 4 stars
5/02/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Unparalleled. Awesome. High water mark of classic cyberpunk 5 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner This one was kinda boring. 2 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold Just to get it out (and advertise) here, I meant to give "Spriggan" a 4/5. 5 stars
3/18/07 pin terrible acting and stilted dialogue...boring...not up to the hype 1 stars
8/20/06 victor fernandes amazing- excellent story,drawings 5 stars
1/26/06 the laughing man Intriquing in every way. 5 stars
5/10/05 Mark Louis Baumgart You can see where The Matrix ripped off SHELL, great action, characters & plot. Classic!!! 5 stars
3/16/05 Ronin Yes Pete, go watch xXx or one fo the new James Bonds. Good I don't know many like you. 5 stars
12/15/04 Matt F. What is Gray talking about? Bato found her an empty shell, not a real body 5 stars
4/18/04 Pete Jesus was this movie boring. I slap myself awake numerous times 1 stars
3/15/04 Tom M. Excellent movie. Its too slow for some (its not an action film, no matter what people say) 5 stars
12/02/03 J Bird really awsome anime film, a little hard to understand the whole picture at first 5 stars
11/25/03 Sean Thomas Rent it, buy it, bootleg it. Just make sure you watch this beautifully crafted movie. 5 stars
10/15/03 Flounder This is one of the better anime that I have ever seen. 5 stars
9/04/03 Gray does no one have a problem with the kid they kill in the end!!!!!!! 2 stars
7/13/03 Sammy almost as good as "Akira" 5 stars
6/06/03 matthew hoffer one of the best I've ever seen 5 stars
1/22/03 Cato That the-never-sleping-city-atmosphere is just great and really immerses you into the world 5 stars
11/11/02 Versiani Good reflections about, and awesome action sequences 5 stars
10/06/02 Charles Tatum Great action but duller than dirt dialogue and climax 4 stars
12/09/01 CableMage Anime Rulez. American 'cartoons' blow goatse.cx. (except Southpark) 5 stars
11/14/01 Jeff G Not perfect, but about as good as animation gets. 5 stars
10/08/01 Spank Ohhhhhhh baby!!!!!! 5 stars
8/04/01 bloody it not that good ,, but not crap ,, there is deffently better out there 3 stars
8/04/01 Trevor beautiful fascinating anime 5 stars
6/30/01 dex !!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/25/01 J Much better than "Matrix" & it places most anime-haters to shame. 5 stars
4/07/01 Barabbas Great tribute to the comic book series...but I would have liked at least one Fuchicoma... 5 stars
3/29/01 Galimofry one of the best anime I've ever seen 5 stars
3/21/01 M.C.A Fine anime movie. 5 stars
3/13/01 Alex D. This is one of the best animes I have ever watched. Worth watching a thousand times! 5 stars
3/12/01 Jon Cotleur It's physically impossible to understand it completely 1st time round. But worth it. 4 stars
3/12/01 Mike N. Poulsen If you like the movie, then try the PS game ..... 5 stars
3/10/01 theVirtue my favorite anime, from the stellar artwork, to the creativity in the story and voicing.... 5 stars
11/21/00 Son Gokou Great animation, great story, and cool action doesn't get much better 5 stars
10/18/00 Mislav Much better than Matrix, outstanding visuals 5 stars
9/14/00 Jed Good anime movie although it needed a 2nd viewing. 4 stars
6/18/00 Jed If you're me then this'll require a 2nd viewing before you decide. 4 stars
5/20/00 sherman mcclain visually and cerebrally flawless. if this is our future...be afraid. 5 stars
5/19/00 HELL-¹ Yak!yak!yak! 5 stars
5/15/00 BBDollar Amazing. "The Matrix" toatlly ripped this off. 5 stars
4/30/00 Jed Flawed but well-crafted mature anime movie. 3 stars
12/19/99 David Gukin Incredible; deep plot, incredible animation, and by far my favorite movie. 5 stars
11/27/99 Elspeth its the best manga cartoon i have eva seen!!!!!! 5 stars
10/20/99 Lame-Oh not as bad as Akira 4 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Alright, but no "Yuroskidoji." 4 stars
7/22/99 whathaveye Not bad. 4 stars
7/17/99 unstrung superb plot, the rest is icing on the cake! 5 stars
12/09/98 Scion of Graveheart Better than Speed Racer, that Kusanagi gal sure has a pretty rack. Kick ass! 4 stars
11/03/98 grunter further proof that "anime" translated to English is "piss-poor animation" 1 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob Enough about this 1. Check out Wicked City, Akira, Arcadia or Ninja Scroll for great anime! 3 stars
10/17/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls Even better than those Disney cartoons... anime movies are well worth a look! 4 stars
8/31/98 Mister Whoopee Great anime flick. Very cool. 5 stars
8/30/98 Matt An anime movie, that feels like an independent movie. i loved it 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Mar-1996 (PG-13)
  DVD: 11-Jan-2005

UK
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Australia
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