DrBeesMD’s review published on Letterboxd:
Trading Favourites: 10 of 30
It's nearly impossible to not compare this movie to Blade Runner, their themes and worlds are so similar, but I'll try to keep the comparisons to a minimum.
The Japan that this film portrays is beautiful. It's kind of got two different sides, a side that is more residential and almost apocalyptic in it's presentation, and another side that's a high tech wonder to the eyes. While Blade Runner had the latter, and functioned well with just that, the edition of the former in this film made for some really interesting scenes. The first huge action sequence is fantastic, and it almost entirely owes that to the cramped residential area and the impressive amount detail and colour crammed into every frame. Around halfway through it's runtime the movie takes 5 or so minutes just to show us around this area with a slide show of random buildings and such, and I quite honestly think that was the 5 minutes I was the most invested. Visuals just really do it for me.
The score is almost entirely made up of huge BWOMMMMSSS, bongoes, and this random woman chanting and shit. It doesn't sound good on paper, and yet it works perfectly with the oppressive, almost creepy tone the film goes for.
The animated style gives the filmmakers a lot of freedom to just do whatever the fuck they want with the camera, which they totally did, and it wasn't bad. The shot composition was one of the things that kept me engaged during lulls in the story.
The story and writing are pretty good for what it's worth. It's definitely not free from shit that sounds like something my friend Edwin would say while high, but there are some seriously thought provoking lines that have to do with existence and what makes us human.
The film wastes absolutely no time chucking you head first into it's world, and terminology. There's no inherent problem with that style of story telling, although, I do think this film handled it just a little poorly. The cold open is head scratching because, other than a single line near the end of the movie, it's completely inconsequential to the plot and is never mentioned again. They also use a lot of terminology like "Ghost, Ghost hacked, Cyberbrain," without ever explicitly telling or even hinting to what they mean, and while some terms are easier to decipher than others, its still a little annoying to have to guess until you give up and google what they mean. Maybe it could be because I haven't seen the anime, I don't know.
I could only find the English dub online which wasn't as bad as I had feared, with the exception of the voice actress for Motoko, the main character. No matter what situation she was in, she gave the same tone of voice for her delivery, there was no emotion in the character at all and it was a bummer.
And now I am officially a third of the way through this mess of a challenge.