Review Date: 7/5/07
This film is a continuation of the popular "Standalone Complex" series (2002-2004). Major Motoko Kusanagi has retired from Public Security Section 9, leaving Togusa in charge. A rash of high profile suicides catches Section 9's attention, which reveals a much larger case including government corruption, child abduction, and a health care system gone awry. A super cyber-hacker known as "the puppeteer" is suspected to be behind everything, and there's evidence that the Major may be involved. The conclusion is as shocking as it is confusing, and the film definitely warrants multiple viewings to figure out what's going on. The film also contains numerous parallels to the original "Ghost In The Shell" movie (1995) and ends on almost the exact same note.
Overall, I found this film disappointing. Much like "Innocence" (2004), it suffers from the absence of Major Kusanagi, and without her presence my interest fades rapidly. She is the foundation upon which the entire series exists, and none of the other characters are strong enough to take her place. Naturally, the story is overly convoluted and throws a lot of heavy sci-fi themes and techno-babble into the mix. It also makes an interesting social commentary on society's treatment of the elderly, domestic abuse, refugees, and racism. Production wise it's on par with the TV series, which is a little disappointing as I was expecting higher quality animation. But it's certainly not bad by any measure.