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By Eric Campos | September 18, 2004

Alright, technogeeks, your pornography has finally arrived! “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence” is here and for those of you that treat stereo instruction manuals like the Penthouse Forum, you’ve got 90 some odd minutes of pure wank material just waiting to give you the time of your life.

In a world where humans and robots are one – everyone seems to have a little of one or the other happening within them – cyborg detective Batou investigates a rash of gynoids gone wild. Made specifically for boom boom, several gynoids have gone mad and slaughtered their masters, self-destructing shortly thereafter. Together with his mostly human partner, Togusa, Batou must get to the bottom of these bloody incidents, following a path that leads them into heady musings about what it means to be human and why we’re so obsessed with perfecting our own image in robots.

Mamoru Oshii has outdone himself here as far as visualizing a cyberpunk city out of control. Just a few minutes in, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was that it was going to be difficult to go back and watch the original “Ghost in the Shell” after the eye candy on parade here. 2D cel animation and 3D CG are fused together to create a world sci-fi buffs will drool over for years to come. Not only is the brimming over technology of this world illustrated in meticulous detail, but so are the mannerisms of a simple dog. Everything seems completely tangible here…too bad for the most part that it’s all cold and lifeless.

When you’re only 45 minutes into a film and your a*s starts getting sore from sitting still so long, you know there’s a problem with what’s happening on screen. And I know this wasn’t just me. About the same time, several members of the audience I was surrounded by all started shifting in their seats due to the fact that a sore butt commanded more of their attention than the feature film. For the exception of the hardcore cyberpunks out there who dream of having sex with their modems, there’s only so much technobabble a person can take before you completely lose them and that’s where Mamoru Oshii has outdone himself as well, but not for the best. It’s laid on pretty thick here with little forgiveness to those who aren’t able to keep up. This includes the absence of any sort of identifiable characters for the audience to cling to. These characters are as cold as the metal beings they so strive to be as they spout what sounds like passages from the Bible of William Gibson. But then I guess that’s the point. As people become more and more dependant on technological advancement, distancing themselves further from the outside world, the colder and darker the future is starting to look. So can this make an interesting film? Sure. It’s been done and will be done many times over at varying levels of success. Unfortunately, the outcome here is so over-the-top that it’s going to wind up alienating most everyone that sees it.

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