Member Review: Appleseed
Thanks goes out to OB member (and secret undercover operative) Feully
, who gives us this well-written reivew of the new Appleseed movie
So I worked my way into the NYC premier of 'Appleseed' on Thursday, sometimes being part of the media does have fringe benefits. The premier took place at the Asia Society and Museum. A short Q&A session followed the screening with the director Shinji Aramaki, which focused mostly on the new animation techniques presented in 'Appleseed'. But enough about the premier, is this film any good?
Well, unfortunately, no not really. The 'Appleseed' movie has two major calling cards in its favor. First is it is based off of a Masamune Shirow manga. Second, director Aramaki utilized motion capture technology to help animate the action scenes in 3D CGI. This is where the movie first gets into trouble. While motion capture does a fabulous job of rendering human motion, its strength is not the subtly of conveying emotion. This simple fact leads to many of the problems with the movie. First, the CGI backgrounds and the cel-shaded characters still do not blend real well. This is especially true with highly lit scenes. When the surrounding colors are more muted, the blending is less of an issue. However the more serious issue is that the characters have an extremely hard time conveying their emotions outside of monologuing towards the audience. Aramaki showing all the signs of a rookie director exacerbates this problem. Too often he was afraid of slowing down the movie, preferring to rush into the next action scene, a fact Aramaki owned up to in the Q&A session. This is especially a problem for the second lead Briareros who spends the entire film as a cyborg in a suit of armor.
In the end 'Appleseed' turned into a rather run-of-the-mill cyberpunk/dystopia sci-fi film. Most anime fans have seen these ideas presented better elsewhere. How much you enjoy this film probably depends just how much you want to see Shirow's images flying around on the big screen. In looking for positives, this version of 'Appleseed' focuses much more on the female warrior Deunan, and she almost makes the clunky script work. The mo-cap animation is truly awe inspiring in the action scenes. 'Appleseed' will do well on DVD when we can just skip past the cyberpunk monologues and get right to the fighting.
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