May 26, 2009

The Sky Crawlers (122 mins, 2008 - Blu-ray released May 26, 2009)

I would never count myself among the legion of Mamoru Oshii fans. In fact, I find Ghost in the Shell a hard slog, tough to sit through. Like watching water boil.

All right, I’m exaggerating here. Oshii never fails to deliver beautiful moments and thrilling action in his films but in order to uncover the candy he forces you to suffer the interminable plastic wrapping of verbose philosophical monologues, pretentious classical quotations and ham-fisted expository detail. I’m happy to say that his latest animated film, The Sky Crawlers manages to side step these complications. For the most part.

Read more after the jump:



The Sky Crawlers paints itself as a story about war. It leads you to believe you’re in for one hell of an airplane ride but while director Oshii delivers the occasional immaculately rendered, viscerally engaging dogfight - single and dual propeller CGI vehicles tearing through the computer-rendered sky and each other with dizzying speed and intensity - he’s less interested in action and more keen on theme and concepts. Adapted from Hiroshi Mori’s novels of the same name, The Sky Crawlers follows a group of eternally adolescent pilots into the skies as they struggle to understand the meaning of the corporate war they wage. The mysteries of the other-dimensional Europe of the film are revealed through the eyes of Yuichi, a ‘Kildren’ pilot with a missing past and a deepening relationship with the girl who holds the key to it - his self-destructive young airbase commander, Suito. As is par for the course with Oshii, we come to know the characters less through action or dialogue and more through their expression of the thematic concepts at hand - in this case, broadly, youth and war. But for once, this doesn’t get in the way of the film. Though moving at the pace of fanciful poetry, The Sky Crawlers remains inventive and engaging throughout, punctuating long stretches of haunting silence or ponderous exchanges with breathtaking images, lightning flashes of action and stirring music by Kenji Kawai.


The Blu-ray disc looks and sounds tremendous. I can’t heap enough praise on Sony for their work with animated features. These guys really seem to know what they’re doing. The transfer is immaculate, three-dimensional and electric on the screen, with the 2-D, cell animated scenes on the ground as clean and vibrant as the CGI aerial dogfights. The intense audio work by Skywalker Sound is some of the most realistic and present I’ve ever experienced in an animated film and immaculately represented here in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.


The Sky Crawlers Blu-ray disc includes three documentary shorts, each a candid look at the creation of the film and each worth your time. “Animation Research for The Sky Crawlers” (30:52) follows Oshii and his team all over the world as they photoggraph, sketch and record all the visual details required to build the alternate-universe European setting of the film. “The Sound Design and Animation of the Sky Crawlers” (32:16) takes Oshii to San Francisco and Skywalker Sound, giving insight into the critical nature of the film’s sound effects and music to the overall experience. Exclusive to the Blu-ray disc is the 15 minute featurette, “Sky’s the Limit: An Interview with Director Mamoru Oshii”, a sit-down conversation with the director that reveals his intentions for the film and the thought process that ushered the book to script and finally to screen.

Read more about The Sky Crawlers in Madeline Ashby's excellent review of the film for fps: TIFF 08: The Sky Crawlers



The Sky Crawlers is available for $22.99 on Amazon.com - 34% off the MSRP of $34.95

Via: The Blu-ray Blog

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December 11, 2008
The Sky Crawlers
HMV Japan has revealed the upcoming February 25th release of Oshii's hit film, The Sky Crawlers on Blu-ray disc. It will street in two editions, the more elaborate of which ships in a metal flight-case and contains three bonus discs with tons of extras.

More details at The Blu-ray Blog.com.

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Madeline and Brenden have shown quite a bit of love on behalf of fps for Mamoru Oshii's Sky Crawlers (Read Madeline's review from the September TIFF screening).

The film has been showing in Los Angeles since last week (the last screening is today) at the Los Feliz 3 in order to qualify for Oscar eligibility, and will screen at the Lincoln Center in New York twice on Friday, December 12.

If you are lucky enough to be in either city to see it, let me know what you think of the film!

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November 18, 2008

On Day 2 of the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, we got to see a screening of an original 35mm print of Grave of the Fireflies. This is an Isao Takahata, 1988 Studio Ghibli film, based on a short story about a 14-year-old boy who tries to care for his sister after their ailing mother is killed during a raid in the 1945 Kobe bombings. He and his sister experience the fear-inspired selfishness of an aunt and he must find a way to take care of himself and his sister on his own.

There was a panel discussion following the film lead by Fred Schodt, author of Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics; John O'Donnell, founder of Central Park Media (the publishers who license the film for North America); and Fred Ruh, author of Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii.

The conversation between the panelists and the audience covered debates as to whether the film was anti-American or rather just anti-war generally, given that the American bombers were barely referred to directly except by the subtle display of some American signage a couple of times on the bomber planes. Another point was raised about the divide between the themes considered culturally sensitive in western animation versus the plain-speaking storytelling of Japanese anime. As a nod to the animated film genre, it was agreed that this socially important, and poignant story couldn't be told the same way in a live-action film (a live-action version was made in 2005), given the youth of the actors required to play the parts and the fact that they couldn't be represented as realistically in the unhealthy conditions in which they were portrayed for the anime version.

This screening was also presented by UrbanEx and their Out Of The Cold programme.

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September 13, 2008


Mamoru Oshii's latest film is an adaptation of Hiroshi Mori's novels of the same name, and tells the story of an ageless pilot, Yuichi Kannami, who transfers to a remote airbase controlled by a cold, self-destructive young girl named Suito Kusanagi afflicted with the same condition that keeps him eternally youthful. They also share an affinity for aerial dogfighting, and the relationship between the two ace pilots deepens as Yuichi slowly recollects fragments of his mysterious past and gets to know the odd denizens of the surrounding countryside.



The plot for Oshii's latest film sounds strangely peaceful for a film about war, and it is. The film unfolds at a leisurely pace (it lasts a lavish 122 minutes), with plenty of time to show the viewer intimate details about the alternate Europe that Yuichi and his fellow pilots inhabit. Oshii clearly holds high regard for Mori's fictional environment and sough to reproduce it with love and attention. The simple but startling beauty of the countryside, the quiet shadows of an abandoned city, and the cramped quarters of a converted manor house all resonate sharply in photorealistic animation and perfect sound.

And, of course, there are the dogfights.

Oshii's films, even his live-action work, are known for their sudden swerves into shockingly elegant violence. This is no different. The title is apt: these pilots are insects crawling across a sky that is vast and deep, limitless and unforgiving. While the dogfights are less visceral, perhaps, than the first scene of Innocence, they do communicate the dizzying, nearly nihilistic quality inherent to aerial combat: Yuichi survives because he is a good pilot, not because he's an arrogant flyer who likes to show off. This isn't Top Gun or even Macross Plus: Yuichi has no special moves, no prototype plane, nothing but skill and experience.

But his experience is the heart of the film, as we discover that there is more behind the "Kildren" -- people who, like Yuichi, remain eternally adolescent -- than a simple genetic disorder. There are clues layered throughout, and Yuichi's realizations come slowly but surely, a story that he pieces together rather than a sudden, shocking recollection. The film's ultimate conclusion is surprisingly hopeful for an Oshii film: eternity is not a life sentence, but a chance to start again.

However, there are some standard Oshii issues: a striking lack of exposition, and a lyrical pace that favours characterization and setting over plot or coherence. The story is secondary to the sentiment, but the story is also pure Oshii: a dreamlike exercise in issues of memory, identity, and the role of the military in a peaceful society. Along the way we get a heartbreaking love story, an endearing environment, and several references to Oshii's past work and anime in general (even the afore-mentioned Macross Plus). The story is not about an alternate universe; rather, the universe is the story.

Thankfully, The Sky Crawlers manages to avoid the long, drawn-out mindgames that feature so prominently in Oshii's other work. Gone are the painful, film-interrupting chunks of classical quotations, and gone are the belaboured references to Oshii's beloved Basset Gabu. (Don't worry; Gabu shows up, but as a dog and not an advertisement.) We get a tiny nod to Camus, but the script is remarkably clutter-free.

Featured above is the six-minute promotional trailer available at the Ghibli Museum. Studio Ghibli worked alongside Production IG on the film, and the whole film is infused with expertise from its auteur director to the Skywalker Sound work. Sony Pictures just picked it up, so hopefully we'll see distribution soon.

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August 5, 2008
If you're in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo or Nagoya right now, you can catch the original Ghost in the Shell on the big screen—sort of. Bandai Visual has gone all George Lucas over the 1995 Mamoru Oshii classic, updating the digital effects and reuniting the original voice cast for a 6.1 surround-sound recording. (I'm curious to see if the extra effort is as superfluous as in the Star Wars makeovers; so far as I'm concerned, the CG in Ghost in the Shell is still quite watchable.) Check the trailer below for a glimpse of the new look.



Gotta-get-it-first otaku can score the Ghost in the Shell 2.0 Blu-ray box set from Japanese distributors on December 19. The set includes 1080p and MPEG-4 AVC versions of the film (English dubs included), an extras disc, a new music CD, and of course a nifty new booklet.

[Thanks, Crunchgear.]

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August 1, 2008


- Studio Ghibli's Ponyo will screen at the 65th Venice International Film Festival (taking place at Venice Lido from August 27th to September 6th) along with Mamoru Oshii's The Sky Crawlers. Hayao Miyazaki will be in attendance and commented, "Lido is very beautiful place. I'm glad that I can walk there again." Via Ghibli Wiki

- Goro Miyazaki talks in depth about layout and the Studio Ghibli production process. Via Ghibli World

- CG images from the new Gatchaman movie with animation produced by Imagi are up at the felix ip。蟻速畫行 blog.

- WTF?! Is Keanu Reeves really going to end up playing Spike Spiegel in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop? Do I care? Via FirstShowing.net

- Is Pixar going to slap us with a sequel to Monsters Inc? Pete Doctor is playing coy but we think it's gonna happen. Straight to video anyone? Via MTV Movies Blog

- More high-def Harryhausen!!!! Sony is eyeing an October 7th release date for the 1958, stop-motion animation/live-action classic, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad on Blu-ray and standard DVD. Via HighDef Digest.com

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July 12, 2008


Is round two of the Ghibli vs. Oshii battle-royale upon us? Probably not but I can't help but feel the subtle digs in Mamoru Oshii's review of Miyazaki's upcoming opus, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.

"That's Miya-san's delusion movie. There are no themes. But the picture is overwhelming, so it's seen until the end."

I'm glad that he was able to fight through his frustration with Miyazaki's lack of script-craft to experience the ending of the film. Yeesh!

Other reviews are pouring in:

Japan Times Review - "If 'Ponyo' is the start of his artistic second childhood, I say welcome to the sandbox."

Asahi.com - "101 minutes of bliss"

via GhibliWiki

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July 11, 2008


Home Media Magazine makes it sound like the bell has tolled for Anime on home video in North America. Their visit to the Anime Expo, July 3-6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center found them confronted by a veritable ghost-town of Anime vendors on the convention floor.

"While ADV’s set-up was bare bones, anime powerhouse VIZ Media wasn’t on the show floor at all. Neither was The Right Stuff International. All three companies held panels to discuss their plans for the rest of the year and beyond, but their absence from the show floor was reflective of the slow-down of domestic anime DVD."

Yikes!

Bandai, home of popular titles like Dragonball-Z and Naruto is prepared to fight the decline in sales tooth-and-nail by appealing to average otaku with video downloads and anime cinephiles with high-def Blu-ray releases. The company's first Blu-ray effort will be Mamoru Oshii's, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence. Bandai has committed to a brand-new English dub and support materials for the domestic release. If you can't wait for domestic, the Japanese disc will happily play in your PS3.

via Home Media Magazine

Further Reading:
DVDTalk.com reviews the Japanese Innocence Blu-ray

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July 3, 2008


I've never been a wild fan of the work of anime director, Mamoru Oshii. Everything he does, no matter the visual spectacle, seems to leave me cold. On the other hand, most films produced by Studio Ghibli, even the much-maligned Gedo Senki (Tales from Earthsea) by Miyazaki-the-younger, warm my heart to some degree.

Both camps have always maintained a healthy rivalry, from the days of their first failed collaboration, Anchor to the Ghibli assist on Oshii's Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2, with Miyazaki feeling Oshii's work too philosophical and unsatisfying and Oshii maintaining that everything that leaves the doors of Ghibli is wantonly idealistic and fantastical.

Just this week, the website for Oshii's upcoming feature, Sky Crawlers posted some comments from Goro Miyazaki and Anno Hideaki. While Evangelion director, Hideaki gathered favourable quotes from friends, Miyazaki's remarks seem less than complimentary.

"Those guys on screen never eat a meal. They only live on liquor and tobacco. No, they didn’t ingest them, but just pretended to be ingesting them. And about sex, they just pretended to be having sex. There wasn't any smell of sweat or sperm. They rode on airplanes and motorbikes. However, all of them seemed like unsubstantial machines on the monitor display. Even those machines seemed to pretend being machines."


Via GhibliWorld.com

Previously on fps:
Miyazaki, Oshii and Anno parody
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

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November 8, 2007
This Saturday and Sunday afternoon, November 10 and 11: leading up to the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, WFAC in partnership with Bandai Visual and the Waterloo Children's Museum will be holding a 20th anniversary screening of Wings of Honneamise, one the best anime features of the 80s, and the first feature ever produced by Gainax.

If you go on Saturday, On both days, you can catch Jin Roh, also in high-definition, based on the comic by Mamoru Oshii, and the English premiere of Detective Conan.

If you are anywhere near Waterloo, Ontario, this is not to be missed. All screenings are free.
Showtimes

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October 30, 2006
Back in late 2004, Fred Patten referred to Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence as "coldly cerebral." Whether or not you agree with the adverb, you can't deny that pretty much all of Oshii's oeuvre is cerebral—and that includes his latest feature, the bizarre comedy Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast-food Grifters (originally Tachiguishi Retsuden) the last feature I saw at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.

Tachigui is that strange kind of comedy where everything is over the top yet played straight, so that it's hysterically funny but you barely laugh. For the most part, the film is a mockumentary—hardly an accurate description, but the closest fit—that chronicles the rise of a particular kind of con artist that uses elaborate techniques to scam free eats. At the same time, the movie chronicles the evolution of fast food in Japan, as it starts in a small soba shop just after World War II and finds its way through modern franchises like Yoshinoya by movie's end. The third parallel thread is that of Japan's social evolution.

Much of Tachigui's humour derives from the presentation, that of a semi-academic ethnographic analysis of the key figures over these six decades, larger-than-life characters like Moongaze Ginji (who stuns his victims by engaging in philosophical discourse they can't hope to win) and Hamburger Tetsu (who can single-handedly destroy a burger chain's operations one franchise at a time through a masterful combination of a massive appetite and split-second timing). About three-quarters of the way through the plot zigzags a little, as the narrator's relationship to the story becomes clearer, but by then it doesn't matter: the viewer has totally given in to this strange new reality by that point.

Incidentally, one of the best gags in the movie is revealed during the end credits: Just about every character is played by someone significant in the anime industry. A few of the names I caught and managed to scribble down were Shoji Kawamori (mecha designer for the original Macross series as well as the movie, and director of Macross Plus), Kenji Kawai (who composed the music to both Ghost in the Shell movies and Tachigui), Kenji Kamiyama (director of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Toshio Suzuki (producer of both Ghost in the Shell movies as well as many Studio Ghibli films) and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the president of Production I.G. Oshii himself is in there as well.

Tachigui uses a technique Oshii calls "superlivemation," where objects and live actors are digitally photographed in a variety of angles and poses, then the digital images are heavily processed, sometimes disassembled and reassembled, composited and animated. The end result is an odd but appealing blend that lands somewhere in the nexus between JibJab's 2-0-5, Toshikatsu Wada's Bip & Bap, and Oshii's own Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (which, like Tachigui, was produced at the Production I.G. studio).

A final note: Tachigui is linked to Oshii's multimedia Kereberos universe, which connects books, anime and manga. You don't need to know that to enjoy the film, but like the anime-creator gag, the more you know the more you get out of it. And isn't that always the way with cerebral films?

Shop
Buy Tachiguishi Retsuden Collector's Set (Region 2, Japanese language) from YesAsia.com

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June 10, 2005
One of the great things about anime is the wide variety of subject matter, and I confess that I'm usually surprised whenever read people's (often disparaging) comments about "typical" anime or the "requisite elements" of anime.

Then I remember that most people aren't really exposed to the different kinds of anime out there. Which is one reason I'm enthusiastic about an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Right now, of course, there's the exhibition of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata works, which has been running for a week and ends June 30. But New Yorkers will barely have time to catch their breath before the two-month exhibition titled "Anime!!" starts on July 10.

The tentative schedule for "Anime!!" features TV, theatrical and OAV titles from 1963 to 2005. (The 1963 entry is, of course, the first episode of Tetsuwan Atomu, otherwise known as Astroboy.) The lineup is simply fantastic: some of the usual suspects (Akira, Dragonball, Ghost in the Shell) are there, as well as some of the modern classics that were merrily passed around during the heyday of anime fandom (Robot Carnival, Ranma 1/2) and current faves (Samurai Champloo, Fooly Cooly, Rurouni Kenshin).

But what's really interesting are the lesser-known, but still important titles. For instance, there's Doraemon: Nobita and the Dinosaur Knights, a 1989 movie based on the long-running TV series. Doraemon doesn't get much press over here, but in a certain sense it's like the Scooby-Doo of anime: it's for kids and it's been around for decades, giving it inter-generational iconic status. Likewise, there are shows like Crayon Shin-chan, Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix, and Ashita no Joe. The exhibition is capped off with the Western premiere of Mind Game.

If I had unlimited funds and plenty of time, this is the kind of anime exhibit I would put on. (Though I would also include more manga-like works like Belladonna and Band of Ninja, noirish movies like Golgo 13, epics like Arion and Dagger of Kamui, and genre-bending shows like Gasaraki. An episode of Lupin III wouldn't hurt, either.)

The MoMA website doesn't have any information up yet, but when one is available you'll likely find it on their list of Film and Media Exhibitions.

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March 19, 2005
Susan Wloszczyna quotes Robin Williams in yesterday's USA Today, on what he's watching: "Ghost in the Shell 2--Japanese anime. Ghost in the Shell was very good. The sequel was longer, rather convoluted but very good. They are cartoons for adults, science fiction with cyberpunk."

This isn't the first time Williams has sung the praises of high-falutin' anime. In an interview with Jules Feiffer in Civilization back in 1998, he was all over Ghost in the Shell, Akira and Princess Mononoke.

It's also interesting to note that the quote came about presumably because of William's currency as a voice in Robots. Like Brad Bird, he's using his time in the spotlight for mainstream American animation to stump for different styles of animated storytelling that aren't necessarily kid-focused. Keep it up, guys.

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February 24, 2005
There's an interesting article from Sunday's Los Angeles Times (reprinted at the much less fussy AZcentral.com) about the differing points of view of anime between Mamoru Oshii, Hayao Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Otomo. Anime cognoscenti have known about these differences of opinion for some time, and it's not terribly surprising given the different themes these directors explore and the way they explore them.

The article has a few tiny missteps (like using Ghost in the Shell and its sequel to define "Oshii's visions," but ignoring his other films and perhaps not realizing that the story's foundations comes from manga creator Shirow Masamune), but it's a welcome addition to mainstream anime coverage: something that regards anime not as a genre, but a medium with its own different practitioners with particular viewpoints.

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January 12, 2005
Finally got a minute to comment on the DVD release of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

First thought: When Jim Omura wrote his review of the movie after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, he half-jokingly said that the movie would cost him a lot because he'd have to upgrade his TV. Watching it again, both on my 29'' TV and my 12'' laptop screen, I can only sigh in agreement and resign myself to dropping a few thousand to upgrade to a widescreen DLP television and a 5.1 surround system.

I'm struck again by how beautiful a film this is. Like Akira, it combines ancient (or ancient-sounding) music and modern imagery both urban and fantastic for one hell of a head trip. The difference is that where Akira was fiercely kinetic, Innocence is more languid and dreamier. Even the battle scene with Batou and Major Kusanagi running a gauntlet of homicdal dolls has an ethereal quality to it.

However, a lot of that quality comes from the texture of the movie's images and the layers of its sound. And that just means I'll have to get a better TV and sound system.

(Incidentally, I finally saw director Mamoru Oshii's first film this summer, 1985's Angel's Egg. It has a lot of the same qualities of Innocence, including a willingness to operate at a slower pace, and to let silence carry as much weight as noise and action. Unfortunately, it lacks the assuredness that would come after twenty years of experience, so its 71 minutes feels longer than Innocence's 99.)

Three complaints about the DVD, though: While the subtitles are the same as from the theatrical release (as far as I can recall), they aren't actually subtitles but closed captions. On my DVD player, that makes the text absurdly large and distracting from the gorgeous visuals. (It also means we get helpful descriptions like "[Japanese singing]".)

Second, I couldn't sit through the director's commentary, which seemed to be mainly trivia about production, rather than any real insight into methodology, theme, or reflections on the source material. (Maybe I should have stuck it out, but I wasn't encouraged to.)

Finally, the box art is terrible. With all the stunning imagery in the film, this was the best they could do?

Oh, well. At least the movie itself is still right up there. And after I get an appropriate TV to watch it on, my credit card bill will be too.

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December 7, 2004
ASIFA's nominees for the Annies were announced today, and I'm struck by how ASIFA casually wades into the waters in which AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who hand out the Oscars) fears to tread. Three of the contenders for Best Animated Feature are The Incredibles, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

Could you find three more different movies? One is comedy action-adventure, the other is pure comedy, and the third is gritty science-fiction drama. And because this is animation, where we tend to use technique as a measuring tool, one is pure CGI, another pure hand-drawn, and the third deliberately in-between.

AMPAS would never go near something like this for Best Picture. Comedies are rarely nominated for Oscars in the first place, even if they're crafted with the same care as a drama. It's just one of those hypocrisies: Hollywood relegates comedies to second-class status when it's time for awards to be handed out, based on the assumption that it's just about unthinkable that a comedy could never be an Important Film. Comedies have to work harder to be, er, taken seriously.

Animation has the same problem, but, interestingly, it leads to a different conclusion. The Academy, in creating the Best Animated Feature category, is forced to do what it doesn't want to do with live-action films: it has to judge comedy features against dramatic features. So far, it's had an easy time of it. But in a year with some pretty strong features of both stripes, I wonder how they'll fare.

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October 21, 2004
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence starts its run in Montreal next Friday, but today was the advance screening for the press. Although Jim Omura has already reviewed it, I have to offer up a few observations.

Jim said in his review that "[v]isually, Innocence is more heavily a product of computer talent than the sweat of traditional animation artists. There are scenes that are filled with travelogue beauty which is best appreciated on a very large screen, and others with the filth of ancient back alleys, a staple of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. This is one of the minor problems of the film. There is so much computer work that despite the effort to make it all graphically harmonious, one must wonder why Oshii bothered to leave in any hand-drawn art."

Interestingly, I agree with the basis but disagree as to the conclusion. I think it should have looked more hand-drawn. Look at the opening: like the first movie, it's a birth scene, with the fusing of organic and inorganic materials creating a cyborg. (And, like the original, the scene is set to the haunting music of Kenji Kawai -- hey, DreamWorks, why don't you release the soundtrack CD?) It's a gorgeous sequence, and there's one part where imagery that we expect of biological processes is replicated cybernetically, and shot more in the way we would associate with astronomy. (Sorry if I'm being too vague -- I don't want to spoil it if you haven't seen it yet.) A bit later, we see the cyborg body rising up out of liquid, again echoing the first film visually and musically.

These two segments are CGI. Immersive, organic CGI, but still obviously created with computers. The first would have been as impressive and as affecting had it been hand-drawn; but the second, with its flatly shaded cyborg in the middle of all this seductive colour, is a little jarring -- it actually would have been better if it had been drawn. Or, better still, it could have been like many of the film's better moments, and had hit that spot in between hand-drawn and CGI, where different screen elements take advantage of the technique that works best, and it's all put together with a unifying aesthetic.

The movie is still just short of the graphic harmony Jim refers to, but it certainly points to one possible future where we don't bother asking if something is "2D or 3D" -- it just is.

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October 20, 2004
This is really for the hardcore anime fan who not only knows their directors, but the philosophies behind their work.

Or, if you read it and you don't understand, you can get in on the joke by browsing Nausicaa.net.

Either way, it's one of the funniest anime-industry parodies I've ever seen.

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