Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina

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Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina

Postby Eric G on Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:44 pm

Source Fi-Sci.net

DVD of the Month!
An anime classic reimagined for the new millennium...

In Cinemas: 06/10/2005

Country of Origin: Japan
Format: In Cinemas

Director: Shinji Aramaki

Producer: Sori

Writers: Haruka Handa, Tsutomu Kamishiro


Synopsis
Earth's last city, Olympus, rose from the ashes of a global war on the backs of Bioroids, artificial clones who make up half the city's population. Under the strict guidance of a supercomputer, humanity's last survivors enjoy an idyllic peace, but only on the surface. Human terrorists within the military seek a return to power and clash with the government's ESWAT forces lead by the legendary soldier, Deunan Knute, and her boyfriend who is 75% machine. Retrieving the Appleseed will end the conflict, and Deunan alone holds its secret.

Official site: http://www.appleseed.net.au/


Review

Appleseed was my first real look inside the world of Manga and serious Anime and I have to say, I was completely blown away. The animation seen in this film is beyond comprehension. If this is what the Manga world is like, than consider me hooked. Appleseed is truly a groundbreaking achievement in CG animation.

From the moment it begins, Appleseed unleashes a fury of action, with no spoken dialogue for the first five minutes (It could be longer, but it didn't feel like it). We see our main characters Deunen Knute and Briareos kicking some serious ass. The CG humans in the film may not be as real as the ones seen in Immortal, however the near perfect explosions, fire, smoke and debris flying around certainly make up for it. After seeing thiis the opening of the feature, Appleseed had me well a truly glued to my TV.

Things to look out for is the shot overlooking the city of Olympus after the opening sequence. This looks so spectacular, it makes you wish it was a real place that you could visit. There is also another magnificent shot near the end of the film where Deunan looks out into the ocean; Picture perfect! Also be on the look out for the ass-kickin' that Briareos hands out to three robo chicks. Very cool.

The only things that I could find wrong with Appleseed were minor indeed. For instance, the clothing. It looks good and fashionable, but it still looked like cardboard; like its all just sitting there, rather stiff like. Another nit-pick is the choice of Techno music during the first few fight sequences. It almost fits the look of the movie, but not quite. Other than that, this was great. An intriguing story line, along with some truly breathtaking shots and non-stop action all the way. What more could you want?

Well....OK. Here's more! The feature disc is represented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. This disc also features a commentary track by the Producer and Director, plus the Appleseed Trailer and others. The bonus disc comes with a 'Making of...' featurette titled, "Birth of 3D Live Anime, a "Dive for You" Video, Appleseed Sountrack Commercial, Design Archives, Staff Profiles and much more!

A great film and a great DVD. Do yourself a favour; go out and buy it!

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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:15 pm

Eric G wrote:The only things that I could find wrong with Appleseed were minor indeed. For instance, the clothing. It looks good and fashionable, but it still looked like cardboard; like its all just sitting there, rather stiff like. Another nit-pick is the choice of Techno music during the first few fight sequences. It almost fits the look of the movie, but not quite. Other than that, this was great. An intriguing story line, along with some truly breathtaking shots and non-stop action all the way. What more could you want?


what more could I want?

I've heard better dialogue from extras in Godzilla movies...that dialogue was so bad it gave me cancer. Yes, I quote the great Calculon here, appropriate source, I reckon.

I know the visuals are stunning, the action scenes top notch, and since you're new to the anime genre I'll let you slide with that intriguing storyline nonsense...actually, no I won't...it's themes have been done before, and better, in a disparate array of Fi-Sci, err, Science Fiction films.
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Neo Zeed on Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:46 pm

Oh yeah, this movie is awesome. You gotta check out Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust for some more anime goodness!! Great review, Eric G.
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Postby Fievel on Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:27 am

I didn't realize that there was a SEQUELto this movie (called Ex Machina). John Woo is producing.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:45 am

yeah, I peeped that trailer a while ago...I suppose the story can't be any worse than the incomprehensible gobbledygook of the first film.

gonna have to check it out just to see if it is tho'...
Personally, I'm an atheist in the voting booth and a theist in the movie theatre. I separate the morality of religion with the spirituality and solace of it. There is something boring about atheism.
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Postby Fievel on Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:22 pm

Call me an apologetic sucker, but this movie ROCKED! I absolutely loved almost every frame of animation in this. This new Japanese CG style is EXTREMELY video-gameish, but that's perfectly acceptable with me. The opening sequence with the missiles alone was jaw-dropping. Has there been better? Maybe, but this style (IN MY OPINION) should be the standard. If it were, and American animation houses would open their stuck-in-the-1950's eyes, then ANYTHING would be possible. Sci-Fi, Action, Horror... anything could be made.
As far as the story, yeah it was decent. I honestly barely remember anything about the original Appleseed. It's been a few years and I've seen many things since then. But it worked for me.

p.s. And the mob scenes made me think of the Resident Evil games. I can't for THAT CG movie to hit the shelves.
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Postby papalazeru on Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:38 pm

This is the an almost perfect port from the original Appleseed film, with updated graphics and explosion.

If you enjoyed this story, I would highly recommend Patlabor, fantastic story.
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Postby Toonol on Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:18 pm

Ex Machina was pretty good, but don't think it was a huge leap forward from the last movie. The CGI is a better, but I'm not sure they made the right decision by de-emphasizing the cell-shading. Regardless, the animation was impressive by any standard.

The story was adequate, but not great. It was a little too obvious who the bad guy was, and how he was implementing his plan. But the characters were interesting, and they really managed to make them emote. Good animation.

When will they make a big-budget western-style superhero movie using this technique? This is how JLA ought to be done!
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Postby Evil Hobbit on Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:03 pm

The visuals were ok, I am not really fond on the cell shading aspects but other then that, crazy good looking. Saw it at the Rotterdam Film Fest this year. Pretty kick ass on the big screen.
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Postby Fievel on Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:03 pm

Toonol wrote:When will they make a big-budget western-style superhero movie using this technique? This is how JLA ought to be done!


The Incredibles is the closest thing to a "cool" Western CGI animated film so far. The big studios would rather throw the bone to family-oriented projects full of talking animals. Fuckers.
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Postby Archive on Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:17 pm

As a fan of the first CGI Appleseed, I bought tickets to the US premiere of this film, at the Jules Verne Film Festival here in Los Angeles, some months back. Their last outing with Appleseed had some great action, but it also hit a fantastic tonal mark, incorporating many of Anime's most lovable traits and some really fantastic character work in the writing, from the cyborg's sense of his own inhumanity to the always charming chorus of crotchety geniuses, so common in Anime Sci-Fi. This film is a frankenstein monster of great science-fiction moments, cobbled together mostly from Minority Report, the Matrix, and strangely, the Wizard of Oz. Characters were mortally wounded, and then kind of got better. Nothing terribly dramatic was done about it, one way or another. Story elements with no thematic resonance were crammed together into a visual hodgepodge that was extremely high in craftsmanship, but was in the end far too busy. Beyond that, the conventions of Anime so deliciously honored in the first one were totally ignored in favor of action movie cliches Now, a word on the detailed animation work... Characters in animation are visually simple so we can focus on their actions. Color and shape in motion are what animation is about. We love Nemo not because of how he looks, but because of how his looks change. The same is true of Tetsuo. These characters are so richly detailed that we spend the whole movie trying to keep up visually. In my opinion, the first film found a great balance in this respect, with simple, engaging, well animated characters and rich, lush settings, and they were fools to retcon it. Things are so busy, I found it impossible to see through the effects display and engage the story... which in this case may be a blessing. I was ampred for this film, and I saw it in one the most beautiful movie houses ever built, the Los Angeles. I could not have had a better experience. The film itself was the only problem. You may not have noticed this, but John Woo produced this sequel. This time, doves are actually used as a full-blown plot device, rather than just foreground for the camera. They looked beautiful, those doves. They always do, John. In that respect, mission accomplished. As far as the craftsmanship of the animation, it is a fantastic demo piece. As far as the craftsmanship of the story, it's the least compelling film I've seen in many moons. And while the animation is great, the design and look of the film is vastly inferior to the bright, organic look of the first, in contrast tot he dark themes. What production design lunkhead puts Deunan Knute in pink? Lastly, the music editing of the first one was freaking awesome! That opening techno-jass thing with the "Good luck in your new bed, enjoy the nightmares" thing as you see Olynmpus for the first time was such a fresh take on dystopian filmmaking! They were saying "you already know Denmark is rotten, and you already know we're going to blow this city up, but ain't it nice?" Hilarious, immediately engaging, and perfect. The guy they got for this one is clearly hung up on the choices they made for the Matrix. Dunan Knute in pink to the relentless beat of industrial techno for two hours. That's the film I saw. I'll tell you this: it made for a great trailer.
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Postby Archive on Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:18 pm

I dislike posting negative reviews, but this one was such a disappointment, I'd like to set the bar low for fans of the first so it won't hurt so bad.
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