Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie ★★★★

As a long standing gits fan, I finally finished the alternative architecture with it’s climax: The New Movie. I throw in my thoughts on the whole series, since it’s basically one piece separated into different episodes.

Visually and animation-wise the episodes and the movie are great. I would go so far as to say I even liked the character design of arise the most. Kazuchika Kise did an outstanding job here and probably should’ve focused on that alone instead of also directing it. Anyway there is not much that can be criticized here other than maybe the fact that they stepped the tone down from the source material. It’s less violent, aggressive, subtle; overall a softer touch, which is not necessarily a bad thing but I prefer the other style. What amazed me though was their use of CGI. Often you barely notice it’s usage at all, thinking back of gits 2.0 they really improved on this aspect.

Soundtrack is again great and suiting, nothing to complain about.

The issue with the alternative architecture, which holds it back from being great, is it’s plot. The writing is simply not good. It’s an action driven story without interesting antagonists and a very messy structure at times. Too often did they try to make references and homages without understanding why they were in the source material in the first place. Some of it works, most of it feels out of place. Like referencing Wizard of Oz in border 4 because Kenji referenced The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger, right? But in SAC it worked because it suited the personality of the laughing man. In arise it’s just random quotes thrown out for the sake of having a quote. The only strengths lie in the character building. We finally get so see a lot more of Motokos team members. Why and how they teamed up is answered and they gain a lot of depth which also helps the original gits material.

But I think the new movie makes up for the lacking episodes. It’s beautiful to watch and it seems like they learned a lot while producing the alternative structure and finally got it almost right. The movie as a lot more structure and combines many loose ends, although there is still too much stuff that is just wonky written and stays open. We get many great action scenes, great dialogues and homages in the movie. It’s the climax which saved the arise series from irrelevance.

I guess many will still be unsatisfied, because arise lacks many aspects that made the original great. You have to get expectations down and settle for a more action driven narrative than deep philosophical depth. In that, arise can shine in many aspects but suffers most from it’s lack of structure and therefore confusing plot. Overall and especially the new movie is still a great addition to the franchise. 4/5

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