Review Detail

9.4 38 10
FanFix February 10, 2019 9679
(Updated: April 30, 2023)
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Visual Editing
Audio Editing
It's been a long time since I've seen the theatrical cut. I was not a fan at all, but with some time now passed, I was curious how this edit might come across since the aims seem to fit with what I'd want out of the film.

Quality is good. I saw mention of compression artefacts in dark areas. The overall edit seemed a bit dark to me, but maybe that's the look of the film. I didn't see any actual blockiness on my end, personally, even though it can look a bit soft at times.

I'm sure there were many cuts throughout and the edit largely flies by with transitions unnoticed. I did pick up on a handful of moments though, some worse than others:

- 12:16 - sounds like a subtle dip in audio from crossfade
- 13:44 - audio and visual cut is rushed
- 16:58 - music suddenly fades in and the dialogue is out of sync with the major's lips
- 39:25 - this transition doesn't work at all IMO. It's very odd to have the audio fade out and have dialoguee start part-way through an action sequence
- 1:21:08 - rushed audio fade
- end credit music is a lot louder than the rest of the film mix

The only narrative issue I picked up on is at 1:09:30 - Batou is about to be attacked, but when we cut back he's suddenly driving. Feels like an odd jump. Otherwise, pacing feels fine and I did not miss any cut subplots.

I would say I actually enjoyed the film less this time around. I'm sure this has little to do with the edit, because I know that some of what bothered me before has been removed. I think it's just certain aspects hammering home for me on a rewatch. The edit itself is largely well put together and I would say it is a definite improvement over the original - there are things I remember annoying me before which are mercifully absent - but for me, it only turns a bad film into a mediocre one. The goals were to bring this more in line with the spirit of the 1995 anime but I think more could have been done to achieve this. The opening was a good choice and numerous changes to dialogue have been made to help, but there still remain a lot of forced moments. Equally, by its nature, the narrative of the theatrical cut is watered down and derivative, and I'm not sure that's something that can be fixed. The "it's what you do that defines you" is also such a trite and Hollywood theme that is hardly needed, let alone to be repeated explicitly more than once in the film (which is kept in this edit). It's kind of astounding how so much can be removed in this version and yet the film still comes across as over-explained and simplistic, especially compared with the more philosophical and meditative nature of the original.

The theatrical cut feels like such an odd product to me, deriving its visuals and story from different anime incarnations of GITS (and Innocence) as well as Blade Runner (most likely inspiration for the original GITS as well). There are a handful of aesthetically pleasing moments, but everything has the clumsy feel of a youtube fan film with a decent budget. The way people walk, the way people talk, the way the action is executed. It just falls very flat. I do think there is more room for improvement in "lean and mean" - more dialogue that can be removed, and further tweaks to how some of the action is edited, but at the end of the day, I don't think the original film can be "fixed". Or at least, you can't change its essential nature. It feigns substance, drawing from other more significant films but watering down their themes, and bringing nothing new to the table.

Do I recommend this? If you liked the original in spite of some flaws, yes, I absolutely do. You will likely find this an improvement (and clearly a lot of people have enjoyed it a lot more than me). If, like me, you were sorely unimpressed by the theatrical cut, I would guess this edit won't change your mind too sharply.

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