TL;DR – This is a film that blends the idea of an advertisement with the presentation of a documentary and works about as well as you would expect
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Growing up, one of the touchstones in my early cinematic life was anime, you
would get it in the morning on TV, which I had to tape on VCR for watching
later. Indeed, I think every one of my generations loathed those opening sounds
of the first episode of Pokémon
because it meant that Cheez TV had
run out of new episodes and was starting it from the beginning again. As I grew
up, it was a part of my cinematic world that I just couldn’t keep up with, and every
time I go to conventions I see an array of cosplayers showing my just how many
shows I have missed. Well when I saw that there was a new documentary about anime
on Netflix, I was really interested because it would be nice to walk down
memory lane and to explore the future again. Unfortunately, that is not quite
what we got.
The premise for this documentary is that Netflix set the director Alex Burunova
of working out the answer to a question ‘What is Anime’? Alex, having no experience
with the genre other than a tangential understanding of its influence decided
to throw herself into the world of anime and manga and the sub-cultures that
consume and make it. This, of course, meant going straight to the source and
talking with the directors and animators where it is all made in Japan. It is
good that right from the start, they make it clear where the genesis of this
project came from, it was a Netflix project and Alex was hired to make it. So
when the documentary goes to Adi Shankar the creator of the Castlevania Netflix series as its first
interview it feels like the right jumping-off point for the show. Well instead
of jumping off from there, this is where the show stayed.
TL;DR – This is an
interesting premise and it is playing with some interesting themes, even if it
doesn’t quite always come together.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
In recent years Netflix has been starting to make a big push into the anime arena
possible as a way of holding off some of its competitors. Well in the same week
that Neon Genesis Evangelion finally
made its way on to the streaming service we get an adaptation of one of the
most famous manga series 7Seeds.
Well, you have animation, set in a post-apocalyptic world, and add a growing
mystery, well count me in.
So to set the scene, one day Natsu Iwashimizu (Nao Tōyama) wakes up in the
middle of the ocean on a sinking ship. The last thing she remembers is having a
big dinner of all her favourite things and then she wakes up all alone. But
before she has a chance to process what is going on Mozu (Kazuhiko Inoue) is
screaming for her to get into a life raft. The two of them, along with Arashi (Jun
Fukuyama) and Semimaru (Katsuyuki Konishi) find themselves on an abandoned
island filled with odd creatures and plants. Is there anyone coming to help
them? Where are they? Is there anyone left? Well, the answer to that is a large
no because a cataclysm has happened. Now from here, we will be looking at the season
as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.
TL;DR – Filled with excited characters, and interesting action, it is almost a great film, that is until it fails to stick the landing
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Alita: Battle Angel is one of those films that has been bubbling in and out of
the film scene for almost twenty years now. It would get so close to being made
and then another setback, and once it was filmed we would get these little titbits
every month or so. With all this, I was
wondering what we would actually get with the final product because I had not seen the original Manga it is based on so
I was coming in blind. Well now that I have had some time to think through it,
I can say that it is a film with some truly beautiful moments, some really
intense ‘oh damn’ moments, and also is a movie that it falls into the same trap
as many films these days and sacrifices the narrative of this film to set up potential
sequels in the future.
So to set the scene, in the far future the Earth is covered in large sky cities
until one day called ‘The Fall’ everything came crashing down bar one city
called Zalem. With the Earth devastated many flock
to the one remaining bastion of civilization creating the great Iron City that
sprawls out underneath Zalem. No one from the Iron City can enter Zalem, but
they all work for the city, in the farms, factories, or as Hunter-Warriors who
are bounty hunters in a world where the police no longer exist. In the centre
of Iron City is the junkyard, where the people of Zalem throw out all their
junk raining it down on the city below. One day Dr Dyson (Christoph Waltz) was scavenging
the junkyard for parts for his cybernetic limbs clinic when he comes across a
cyborg core with a still functioning brain. He brings her home and repairs her body when she awakes she has no idea what her
name was, or what her past was, but she accepts the name Alita (Rosa Salazar)
and begins to learn about the dangerous world around her.
TL;DR – This feels like a very respectful translation of the manga, but that also shows that what works on the page does not always work on the screen.
Score – 2 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene near the start of the credits
Have you ever watched an adaption of something and gone “this looks like a faithful adaption but it just not for me”? Well, I had that experience this week with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I should start by saying that I am coming to this film not having read the Manga or seen the Anime, so beyond the name recognition I had no idea what I was walking into. As such, this is a review coming from a first-time entrant into the world of Stands, and how well the film did bringing me into this universe. Manga and Anime are one of the areas that have yet to really find its feet when adapted to live action on the big screen, especially when it is Hollywood doing the adaptation, see Ghost in the Shell (see review), and the less said about Dragonball Evolution the better. Like video game adaptations it just feels like it is missing it moment genres like comic books have had. With that in mind, today we are going to take a look at what things translated well into film and what aspects really didn’t.
TL;DR – This is a difficult film to review as it excels in so many different ways, the music, visuals, and it really nails the aesthetics, but something is missing and it just felt more ‘safe’ than anything else.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
So it’s the future and the world has moved towards merging the biological and the machine with people adapting themselves with cybernetic implants. However, this is only augmentation, but now the supposed next step in human development is here, with a human brain inserted into a robot body, a ghost within the shell. Is this the next stage in human existence or simply a weapon being released into the world, a saviour or a curse? This is the set up for Ghost in the Shell a movie adaption of the original manga series of the same name. Well it has been a rocky launch for Ghost in the Shell, and we’ll get to that issue in a moment, but first I need to take a moment to explain my relationship with Ghost in the Shell before talking about its positives, and then we’ll get into what didn’t work.