I'm not a fan of the original source material or anime in general and originally only watched this as I was able to find a killer deal on the movie. This is my second outing with the film thus far. I purposefully did not return to my previous review of the movie or try to remember it before going in as to try and view this edit with the freshest of eyes and ears and narrative following as possible.
The file looks great. Some dark areas have some artifacts which I'd have thought wouldn't be as prevalent with the file size, but they aren't overly distracting.
Great visual editing here. The only issue I saw was a single video/audio sync error.
Again, great audio editing here. For the most part I didn't hear any of the cuts you made. There is a lip/audio/video sync issue at 16:58 that I'm guessing was a line replacement. The audio works, but the video doesn't quite work with it. The only other cut that stood out to me was the end when Cutter dies. The music jumps unexpectedly, though it isn't overly jarring. Other than those, the audio work was pretty flawless. The new song during the credit scene was seamlessly integrated.
The narrative changes really focused the story. I think the only part that might have suffered was the relationship between Major and Kuze. Their bond doesn't seem as strong in this one due to some removal of flashbacks and information that was removed about Motoko. I kept returning to those scenes in my mind so I'm not sure if a first time viewer would understand the totality of their connection. Does this diminish the narrative, not at all. It's still compelling and a tighter focus on the Major makes their intimate connection less integral to the story. One interesting thing that occurred from the rearranging of the beginning was that the credits scene almost made this feel like a tv show by it's placement after the hotel raid. It also created a perhaps unintentional implication that the Major would get a brand new body each time she is hurt, though we see throughout that this is not the case. Because of this, my mind took it as a TV like intro. This didn't harm the narrative, but it did leave a small inconsistency in my mind. While I personally like some of the omitted narrative components, this edit worked pretty flawlessly. Great work!
A tighter focus worked great with this film. I barely noticed or missed any of the 15 minutes cut from the story. The rearranging of certain scenes was also fantastically integrated. It's always enjoyable to see how adjustments alter the outcomes and presentation of a story. With a few slight adjustments to the audio this would be a solid 9.5 for me.
I recently became an anime fan, through my persistence of my nephew who is a DIE-HARD. And I'm excited to say that the Ghost in the Shell is the first franchise that has really sucked me in! I couldn't wait to see this version of the film. So needless to say, this story and world has a very special place in my cyber-enhanced heart. And I was very happy with my experience watching this edit.
The cutting was seamless. The audio levels were all balanced and video was crisp. I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing. It was very PUNCHY and didn't lag at all by trying to explain to much subplot. Straight-forward. Boom in your face! And I had a really fun time exploring the world on a grander stage.
Looking forward to seeing more projects from you in the future FairFriend.
I anticipated seeing this edit for a long time now.
I liked the theatrical cut enough to appreciate it without the obvious comparison to the source material, but was always curious to check another take on it - mostly one that was praised to be more competent and straightforward.
However, to my disappointment, the edit tries to shorten the distance between the movie and its anime counterpart but ends up making one that falls short of both of them.
For better or for worse, the theatrical relied heavily on Major's backstory to keep its pace and character development, and that's whats mostly compromised in the edit. In this version, everything happens so lightning fast and the movie never stops to think any reason to be moving at all. At the core of Kuze's unveil there is originally a detective story, where Section 9 follows several clues and locations to spin a thin thread of what's going on. In the edit, this all boils down to scene-hopping from point A to point B with little cohesion. As a result, the Major is just along for the ride. Even though as fans we're familiar with Kusanagi's pragmatic attitude, the edit reduces her to an effectively soulless action doll who beats people, shoots people, stops once in while for a repair and goes at it again. Whitewashing controversy aside, the whole Mira subplot involving her past was necessary to give the movie any identity, even if it dumbed down the quintessensial Ghost in the Shell philosophical ramblings of self and soul to the cliché corporate conspiracy. On top of that, the removal of some lines thin the exposition a little too much. Like the aforementioned Major's subplot, some of the original lines present in the theatrical cut clearly wanted to convene a critique about ownership and autonomy of self on the information era. Even if the execution of these ideas was originally clunky (like the "i give my consent" silliness), the edit is poorer for the complete absence of them.
To the edit's merit, it's well cut and with no jarring transition whatsoever. The added scenes and music are great, and the overall nitpicking (like fixing the movie title persistently repeating in the opening credits) do give the film a subtle refinement. The encode is very good and lives up to an already gorgeous looking movie - in my opinion, one of the most beautifully realised cyberpunk scenery ever made in film.
Overall, I think, Lean & Mean is a technically great editing work that unfortunately doesn't do the original narrative any favors.
GITS : L&M
I was lucky enough to see this excellent edit because the editor kindly aided me.
I was not happy with the original film as a fan of the ..everything GITS.
The film missed all the right notes but I felt it had everything it needed to be a solid entry if it could find someone who could play music.
The friendly editor took all the issue I had with the source material and solved them as best they could with what they had.
The editing and as a result narrative was far tighter and accurate to the source material.
I found that if you liked the anime then you will probably like this edit.
Only at one point was I even aware it was an edit and in my memory this is the definitive version. #
If you did not like the junk they added about the Majors back story and all the other fluff then this is the edit for you.
Also I am not aware of any other edits so the fact that the edit we have is a good one is a big win for all!
If you hated the film the edit won't help you but if you wanted to love it but struggled then I would say this might help.
The edit was creative and functional and helped tell the story in a more cohesive and impactful manner.
The audio and visuals were excellent.