Absolutely gorgeous sequel to the 1995 cyberpunk anime classic "Ghost In The Shell", itself based on a manga by Masamune Shirow.
Once again we meet up with the members of Japan's "Public Safety Section 9", a special Japanese government anti-crime agency. Major Motoko Kusanagi, who was the first movie's main character, has seemingly disappeared after the events in that movie, and focus has shifted to her old comrade Batou, teamed up with agent Togusa, investigates a series of incidents involving androids gone berserk.
The visuals are beautiful, very rich & detailed 3D CGI backgrounds combined with more traditional cell animation, while the atmosphere created by Kenji Kawai's haunting score is incredible. His score for Innocence was meant as an extension of the original movie's score, which is by no means a bad thing.
People expecting an adrenaline-pumping action fest might be disappointed. There is action, and when it comes it is fast, brutal & violent, but this is not what the movie is about. It moves at a very slow pace, while characters indulge in heavy-handed dialogue, waxing philosophical and quoting sources ranging from biblical psalms to Milton and Confucius, among others.
This will no doubt put off some people, but it's refreshing to see a movie that doesn't regard its audience as brain-deads who can only understand one-liners.
On a more negative note, this American DVD has annoying subtitles, that take up too much space, getting in the way of the image; what's more, they seem designed for the hearing-impaired, which I guess is most considerate, but which is normally saved for a separate sub track. It's just annoying for everyone else.
Still, this movie is well worth it.