It’s disappointing that the anime didn’t live up to the game, but I guess it’s difficult given how most people love Bayonetta for the over the top, high action gameplay more so than the story. In this case, there are sages and witches, who balance good and evil. 500 years ago, however, one from each side united, and the offspring was Bayonetta (Tanaka). She is now taking out angels, but there’s also a religious cult preparing for the rebirth of their saviour, a journalist who blames Bayonetta for the death of his father, and a mysterious, very whiny little girl, who keeps calling her “Mommy”. Who that turns out to be will surprise no one.
The Voice actors did an amazing job of keeping to their character’s actual character based on what we saw from the clips from the video game. The CD is simply amazing as well, featuring new songs from the movie and some from the actual game you’ll be able to recognize! It also comes with an Art book that is filled with concepts and sketches of characters, weapons, environments, summons and much more. Film is basically compressed scenes taken-off from the CGI original game adapted to screen. So it does stay true to the game. Just one very very minor thing I did not like about the film ( aesthetically ) is Bayonetta’s motorcycle(!) They got her a policeman’s motorbike and it’s even in white!!.. at least pick something that racy or glamorous that suits her character. I am a fan of the game and anime in general so I recommend this highly who loves the genre. For instance, at one point, Bayonetta is on a train, and is attacked by another woman, leading to a spectacular battle in, on and around the carriages. The attacker then vanishes from the movie for a long period, without explanation. Game players, I suspect, will know the who and why, far better than I did.
‘ll allow that the hypersexualized character design is loyal to the game and perhaps just not my cup of tea, and also that the animation isn’t limited or cheap-looking. It’s chock-full of boring action, though, with lots of name-checking the game’s powered-up weapons, but seldom any feeling of the effort or consequences of any attack move, whether it’s the same characters fighting on a street or in an asteroid field. A lot of it is moves which come too fast and don’t actually result in anybody doing any damage, but which end on a cool pose. The music is a similarly weird mix, going from organs which match the appropriated religious imagery to various poppy sounds without rhyme or reason. Bah. Avoid.
DC animated movies almost never fail to please me and Batman: Assault on Arkham, directed by Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding, portrays criminals with a vicious and sexy attitude. With almost all the same voice actors from the Batman Arkhm series including Kevin Conroy, Oliva and Spaulding take the Batman animated movies into Arkham Asylum just as portrayed in the Arkham video games series. In my opinion, it’s about time Warner Brothers created a Batman animated movie based on atmosphere of the Arkham games as it is so popular with the fans. Interestingly enough, this movie focuses more on a criminal special task force created by Amanda Waller, who also created the Suicide Squad, rather than Batman; however, there was still enough of Batman to satisfy our Dark Knight needs especially when the voice is Kevin Conroy. What surprised me the most was Troy Baker as the voice of the Joker. Though he has been the voice of Joker before, I almost thought it was Mark Hamill until I looked up the cast. With that in mind, Baker’s acting inspires me with high hopes for the Jokers future.
This particular video, pushes the envelope in a lot of ways. The basic story has a band of misfits led by Deadshot (and includes Harley “Yahtzee!” Quinn, Black Spider, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost and others) break into Arkham in order to retrieve the Riddler’s cane. Along the way, the Joker gets into the act, spreading his own version of mayhem and threatening to spread the lives of Gotham City’s citizens all over the map due to a dirty bomb he’s hidden somewhere. The Suicide Squad spends as much time fighting amongst its own as it does Batman. Still, Batman triumphs, and things work out in the end.
The voices are excellent for the most part. Kevin Conroy IS Batman. There have been other voice actors who’ve done the role, but Mr. Conroy is the man. CCH Pounder reprises her role as Amanda Waller and she’s terrific. Hynden Walch also shines as Harley and almost gets the voice (originally done by Arleen Sorkin) down perfect. The actor who plays Joker–Troy Baker–captures the villain’s gleeful mania quite well although I still think of Mark Hamill as THE Joker–and Jennifer Hale as Killer Frost is always welcome. The only drawback is Neal McDonough as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot. He sounds too generic. Michael Rosenbaum’s version had more of a Kevin Spacey/smarmy quality to it and that’s what’s lacking. The animation is also excellent. To me, it was like a cross between the old Justice League episodes and the ‘Deadshot’ episode in Batman: Gotham Knight. Fluid and smooth, the action never stops and the director keeps his camera on the principal characters to show them in their best light. The bad…the music is jarring at times. Techno-pop is so not right for this kind of movie. As above, the character of Deadshot should have been a lot smarmier, but I’m carping now.
If you’re a big fan of the game series then you’ll love this movie, and even if you have’t played any of the games, this movie would be a great start! As for the movie itself, its very action packed, the animation is great and it’s violent as hell, just like the games. Characters speak almost exclusively in clichés. And there’s a lot of perverse sexuality that’s thrown around. Aside from that, Mr. Jay has directed another fantastic piece to add to his already impressive resume. Recommended.
Yeon Sang-ho’s quasi-allegorical animated film The Fake starts with a cute dog taking a hammer blow to the skull, which pretty much sets the tone for the film’s exploration of hypocrisy, truthful cruelty, and the delusions of the desperate masses. A Korean village slated for annihilation under the floodwaters of a dam construction project becomes the field on which antithetical figures clash: Pastor Sung, a charismatic and humble man of God who finds himself the pawn of an amoral huckster; and Min-chul, a barbaric, abusive boor who’s nevertheless the only villager that recognizes Sung’s faith revival as a charlatan’s con designed to extract cash from a rudderless populace. The tension here, then, is between an odious man and an odious idea.
The problem with the way Yeon Sang-ho approaches this theme is that he does not seem to know what to do with the Pastor. Though the Pastor is not a completely innocent man in his own right, he is often portrayed as a well-meaning man who is a victim of an unfortunate event in his past. However, in order to fit into Yeon Sang-ho’s overall theme, the Pastor makes certain decisions that do not feel authentic to the character the film spent so long establishing. It is these convenient for convenience sake moments that make The Fake so frustrating at times.
The need to believe is not criticized by Sang-ho. Rather those who would exploit the devout or mock the pious are evil and deserve punishment. That approach is what makes the final scene in the film so powerful. For all the fervor of his first two full-length films Sang-ho would do well to recognize that not every movie needs to be a crusade. He would be well served by injecting some light into his leitmotif. Presenting humor, beauty, and good, even in small, endangered doses would not undercut the points he wishes to make. In addition, he desperately needs to develop more well-rounded female characters. Kim Young-sun, who voices the role of Yang’s daughter, spends almost the entire film shrieking as a victim of either one man or another. Women are sufferers or bystanders in The Fake as they were in The King of Pigs.
Thumbnail descriptions of The Fake present it as director Sang-ho’s attack on organized religion. In fact, the message is more complex. Yet, what to do with somebody so grotesque who happens to be the only person telling the truth? Even the pastor, we come to learn, has a dark past that has forced him to become entangled with thieves. Faith then becomes a cruel weapon with which the characters batter each other, and themselves, with. And by making the one character with no faith, Ming-Chul, so unlikeable, the film forces the audience to question their own notions of faith. Similarly, Yeon is unflinching in his depiction of casual violence and the theatrical gnashing of teeth that accompanies the deconstruction of a guilty conscience. Min-chul embarks on a brutal quest, while Sung secretly battles his own internal demons; but whoever prevails, the people of the village suffer nonetheless.
Welcome to Chima – a magical world of untamed nature, beauty and wonder ruled by animal tribes. A world where CHI – the power of nature itself is carefully guarded by the Lions but equally shared amongst the tribes so all animals can live and thrive peacefully. A world where Laval the Lion and Cragger the Crocodile are the best of friends. But when an unfortunate series of events make young Cragger king of the Crocodiles, he throws everything out of balance as he tries to take control of all the CHI. Alliances amongst the tribes are formed and suddenly former friends are worst enemies.
As for me, I’m somewhat perplexed by the whole Chima story. Different species of animals have come to walk on two legs, with the Lions being the keepers of this “Chi” stuff, which they distribute to the other creatures, which apparently helps them all continue to walk and talk and do great feats and such. When this Chi became available to them, many years ago, some of each species refused to consume it, and remained as they are here on Earth… “legend beasts” they are called by the Chi-consumers. They show up every once in awhile. The bulk of these two episodes seems to be to establish the backstory and show how each group (Lions, Crocs, Eagles and a couple others, functioning kind of like tribes I suppose) has their own characteristics and how they all try to function together in the land of Chima. The main lion character (Laval, who inexplicably talks like a teenage surfer dude) was childhood friends with the main Croc character (Cragger) but tragedy and misunderstanding pushes them apart. Laval is dealing with whether he wants to honor the old ways as he readies himself to eventually become the head of his tribe.
Kids shows don’t have to appeal to grown-ups, of course. I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. It seems obvious to me that everyone should just stop eating the Chi and go back to being Legend Beasts. So, not Oscar material but for a 7 year old boy who loves the Chima Lego’s what could be better. It makes no difference if it is a weak plot or story, all that matters is that he loved it.
Appleseed Alpha is the prequel to Appleseed, the long running, post apocalyptic series that focuses on the characters Briareos and Deunan. Formerly SWAT members, and who would eventually become ESWAT members in the eutopian city of Olympus, this tale focuses on their adventures previous to their lives in Olympus. Taking place in the ruins of New York, the two work as mercenaries, primarily paying off a debt to crime lord Two Horns by doing various jobs for him. However, they find their true calling when they encounter Iris and Olson, two others on a secret mission. While the previous two movies were cell shaded cgi animated movies this is the first full CGI animated movie with great detail throughout the movie. The story is great and the english cast did a superb job and it’s appreciated that the two main characters voice actors renewed their roles and of course a great job on the japanese voice acting cast. The video quality is great very sharp and clear and the audio is also clear and sharp no distortions at all. It’s not necessary to have the previous movies but I do suggest getting them for the overall entertainment value they have. As for those who already have the previous movies then getting this one is a no brainer.
The CGI animation here is incredible and Deunan and Briareos have never looked better. Likewise, the action here is fantastic, wonderfully choreographed and entertaining. The two characters themselves are well developed and the fact that Shinji Aramaki himself returns once again to direct is very much welcome. The other characters here are decent, the standouts being Iris and Olson who prove to be a great matching pair for Deunan and Briareos. My main complaint lies with the villains, primarily the main villain who seems to be about as cliche as they come. His motivations are typical and he is typically evil, flanked by evil henchmen obeying his every order. The movie also spends a lot of time getting to it’s point, where we tag along with our main duo at least a third of the film before we get to the meat of the story. Two Horns ends up over staying his welcome and becoming a needless part of the story with a twist that seems somewhat unwarranted.
Ultimately, your enjoyment of “Appleseed: Alpha” will depend on how little you care about plot-to-visuals ratio. If you’re the type of person who plops down money to go see a Michael Bay movie for the technical wizardry, or buys new games based on their graphical fidelity, you might enjoy this. There’s nothing wrong this. While the story isn’t quite as polished as it could be, leaving some to be desired, the action most certainly is. Unlike Ex Machina, the sequel to the 2004 film and the previous film to come out, Alpha doesn’t try to make the action a centerpiece to the film. Ex Machina even brought in John Woo as a producer, which was evident in the way the action seemed to be an aside from the story. Here, it’s fairly natural and fits right in with the story and characters. While the characters and story do certainly take center stage, the action is incredibly entertaining in the kind of way only a well done CGI film could be. None of it feels too flashy or there simply for the sake of being there, which is the mark of a great action film.
Overall, while not completely polished the way it could have been, Aramaki once again proves how to handle this series well. Strong leads, entertaining action, and a story worthy of the Appleseed name make this a wonderful fit and great primer for anyone who might be interested in this series.
I’ve been a Pokemon fan ever since. After the very first generation (maybe second if i’m being nice), it has lost its originality. Nowadays people have come up with strange looking Pokémon’s of weird type combinations. Basically, there is a legendary Pokémon called Kaldeo, which is one of the swords of justice (along with Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion). Although Kaldeo is not yet a sword of justice, it goes out to challenge Kyurem (which is said to be the strongest dragon Pokémon, due to it being able to be Black/White Kyurem). There is no plot whatsoever. Moral of the story is there, but quite tasteless.
I honestly also felt that for once, Ash, Cilan and Iris being there actually hurt the movie. Ash pushing for Keldeo to fight Kyurem again to save the Swords of Justice, in my opinion, went completely against the whole film. Keldeo got into this mess because he recklessly rushed in, so Ash is telling him it’s okay to do that as long as you have a pretty reason? Honestly, the human characters also did nothing – it would have been a much better movie if it was focused entirely on Keldeo, Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion – at least then there might have been some more interactions between them that made Keldeo’s later revelations actually make sense (I felt Keldeo’s development really came out of nowhere). This movie had a lot of potential, but I feel that it was wasted. I felt it was too short and could have easily have done with another 20 minutes to help build up the Swords of Justice more.
What really separates this movie from the others is how well the characters are written and how they add to the simple but incredibly exciting story. Each of the Swords of Justice, including Keldeo, have distinct personalities and are generally likable while teaching very good morals, although their voices may be a tad off-putting at first. Kyurem itself, even though its an antagonist, isn’t what one would consider “evil” and proves to be an incredibly rich, likable character because of it. The film’s messages, the “words of wisdom” the characters give, are also well enforced and ring true by the flick’s end.
That said, Pokémon The Movie: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice is a surprisingly watchable film with enough fluff and substantial depth that will keep your energetic ten year old still for an hour. Nothing much here for devoted animation fans, but long time Pokémon fans are in for a great time. The final fight was a spectacle of explosions that pulls you in and really makes you care about the outcome. The action and emotion an high and, because of it, made the climax of the movie its most memorable part, as it should be. If The Pokemon Company ever steps away from adding “safeguards” such as pop music and using anime fanfiction characters as an excuse to witness a movie’s events, they will have finally found a winning formula.
I love “Magic Madoka”, and was curious about this movie that follows up the movies, so by extension, the series (for those who don’t know, the first two movies are a slightly condensed version of the 12 episode series) If you don’t know anything about Madoka, you should stop reading here, unless spoilers don’t bother you. The movie is slightly confusing at first, and I can’t describe the plot too well without giving away spoilers. I can say this much: Homura wakes up in a world where all her friends are back and they’re all happily fighting monsters together. Homura grows suspicious. About as much as I can say.
Honestly, of all the ways to continue this franchise, this seems like one of the best options. It really takes Homura’s character in a fascinating direction. It doesn’t feel like a cash in, cause a cash in would’ve just had a mindless action movie with an excuse plot, and not the furthering development of Homura. There are scenes here more shocking than anything even in the series. It’s not the stereotypical direction. Of course some people aren’t going to like this. Some for legitimate reasons, cause the ending of the series was perfect. Though that doesn’t make this movie bad by any stretch. It’s a great character piece for Homura, and given the ending, I would certainly look forward to another follow up.
This movie ruins the series and should have never been made, the ending is a cop-out and was a big mistake. The series was fine without it. The purpose of this dreaded film is to screw over the fans who liked the way the series ended. as far as anyone should be concerned the movie doesn’t exist. This is one of those rare films that butchers the franchise that it was meant for. This is a bad movie and was a very bad choice. The ending is the worse aspect of the film, like said before “cop-out” The main character becomes a bad guy just to take out the other villain. You can’t have a character do that. and even worse she is still a bad guy nothing happens to her. In a film a villain can’t defeat another villain and the ending can’t be happy. It was a bad ending to an even worse film. There that is what needed to be said.
The first two PMMM movies are, at the time I was writing this review, the most powerful emotional experience I ever had while looking at a screen. The third one is much weaker than the masterpiece that the original duology is (which is made up of the TV series edited with a few cosmetic improvements and a few scenes cut there and here). This sequel was only made as a cash grab to capture the money of the fans of the original duology/TV series, nothing less and nothing more. Still, given it’s a cash grab sequel it is actually excellent if compared to other ones, Urobuchi is a very talented writer, able to come up with very creative and unexpected plot developments that one would never get in a conventional Hollywood movie.
A Farewell to Arms. I thought this film, which was the last one in the series, was the most enjoyable, having the most completely fleshed-out storyline and the most engaging characters. The artwork and soundtrack were outstanding, and it contains a strong message about war and how humans really can’t control their own violent creations, no matter how hard we may try to do so. Don’t want to say much more than that – it’s a minor miracle of a masterpiece from the great master Otomo.
Possessions. Shuhei Morita’s Possessions was nominated for the Oscar for Animated Short this year, and should have won over the unimpressive Mr. Hublot. I also saw this when I caught the Oscar nominated short films for animation, and this one is a real gem. Colorful, humorous, with a wonderful message about usefulness and creativity. This one gets the prize for the most adorable animated frog of all time, short of Kermit (which was a puppet anyway.
Combustable. The artwork on this short was outstanding, done in a very traditional style, as if you were watching an animated film through the lens of an traditional Japanese scroll or painting. Otomo and his artists copied the intricate patterns of Owaka’s kimono from period fabrics, and the stylized flames are modeled on the prints of Yoshitoshi and other great ukiyo-e artists. The story was enjoyable, and was actually enlightening to see how traditional Japanese fire-fighting was conducted. Amazing story with a tragic ending, Possessions just barely edges this one out.
Gambo. This one was my least favorite for some reason. While the artwork was wonderful, I kept feeling like I was missing something from the story. I realize that these are short films and you can’t give much back story – or maybe none at all – but I had the feeling I didn’t really understand some of what was going on between the characters. Perhaps if I were more familiar with traditional Japanese mythology I would have understood it more, so the shortcoming was probably entirely mine.
Kuiba, the $7 million Chinese animated debut feature film from veteran Beijing-based television studio Vassoon Animation is China’s latest attempt to showcase its homegrown cartooning talent. The movie is called Kuiba I because it is only the first of a series of five movies that are projected to release every year or so from Vasoon. Due to the fact that this movie only represents 1/5 of the story it spends most of its 80 minutes plodding through exposition and establishing concepts like the fighting style of choice for the characters called “pulsecraft” where the fighters open various channels (represented by floating blue circles) around their bodies to harness the “pulse” around them and form it into attacks. This concept hearkens greatly to the concepts of chi and chakra as adapted in countless other animes, but serves its purpose well enough in practice.
The simple animation is accompanied by occasional mid-quality CG and it gives off more of the feel of a lower-budget anime TV series than what is expected from large scale film productions these days. Had this movie come out 10-15 years ago it’s animation would have been considered quite decent for a movie, but by today’s standards it still falls quite short. With the slower pace, aged animation, and five-part nature I can’t help but feel that Kuiba would have been better formatted as a TV series or OVA miniseries instead of a full-blown five theatrical movie extravaganza. With it’s pacing, animation, and format issues considered, though, I didn’t end up hating Kuiba I.
The characters of Manji and Master Man, while still a little flat at this juncture, show enough likable characteristics that you do genuinely end up caring about what happens to them by the truncated end of Kuiba I. As previously mentioned, a lot of Kuiba I‘s aspects are blatantly picked and assimilated from various older anime series, but there are enough original ideas in the mix to keep it on this side of crossing the line into being a farce. When all was said and done I ended up wanting more Kuiba and am eagerly awaiting the release of Kuiba II to see where the story goes.
Kuiba I, as it stands, represents potential that has yet to be fully realized. If Vasoon Animation can learn from some of their missteps with the first entry (and there’s no reason to assume that they won’t) and apply those lessons to the upcoming entries in the Kuiba movie series it could very well end up being one of the better movie series out there. Overall, I’m holding off on final judgement on inclusion in our Movie Guide until I’m able to see more of Kuiba, so stay tuned for more reviews of this promising donghua movie series.