EX MACHINA (TWO-DISC SPECIAL EDITION) (2007)
Appleseed Ex Machina (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2007)
Actors: Kara Greenberg
Director: Shinji Aramaki
Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color,
DVD-Video, Limited Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English, Japanese
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs: 2
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
Run Time: 104 minutes
Based on the popular science fiction manga from renowned creator Shirow
Masamune (Ghost in the Shell), Appleseed: Ex Machina follows partners and
lovers, Deunan and Briareos. As members of ESWAT, the elite forces serving
Olympus, they are deployed wherever trouble strikes. The two fighters find
their partnership tested in a new way by the arrival of Tereus who uncannily
resembles Briareos before the wartime injuries that led to his becoming a
cyborg. At the same time, Olympus finds itself under a stealth attack.
Cyborg terrorism, deadly nanotech zealots, and rioting citizens are just
some of the threats that Deunan must contend with as she fights to save
Olympus and her relationship.
will they think of next?
Appleseed Ex Machina uses 3D computer graphics to replicate a 2D
animated look and feel
Appleseed Ex Machina
is the latest adaptation of Shirow (Ghost in
the Shell) Masamune's popular 1980s manga, or rather Japanese comic
book. It maintains basic plot elements from the manga, but goes into a
different plot direction than the 1988 adaptation and obviously excises a
lot of material from the original, lengthy comic book series.
Deunan and Briareos are
members of an elite SWAT team who live in an apparently utopian futuristic
city society following World War III. Their relationship is never fully
clarified in the movie (or the manga for that matter). Are they lovers
or just really, really good friends? The relationship can't be an easy one
though. Although Deunan is still 100% "human," Briareos is a cyborg
part machine, part human. In fact he appears more machine than man. After
all, he has a mechanical helmet head instead of a flesh and blood one, and
one sort of wonders what other human parts were replaced and just how they
would impact on any physical relationship.
Such questions are never
or answered for that matter
in Appleseed Ex Machina. After all, it would become an altogether
different sort of anime movie if it did. But one still wonders . . .
though the 2D layered onto 3D animation process is new to anime, the truth
is that Appleseed Ex Machina's plot isn't particularly fresh or new.
Whilst the original manga may have been a breath of fresh air back in the
1980s just as words such as "cyberpunk" and the like were being coined for the first
time, the truth is that much in Appleseed Ex Machina are downright
anime clichés and plot conventions nowadays
right from the character histrionics and human-controlled giant robots to
the all-out apocalyptic ending. The one interesting notion
that of having to work and being in daily contact with your clone
is given somewhat short shrift.
Ex Machina is
executive produced by John Woo. It shows in the several Woo-inspired
action sequences throughout the movie. However what may seem impressive in a
live action context seems pointless in an animated movie like this: it feels
like watching someone else play a computer game. Not very enticing.
THE DISCS: The
double disc edition seems to be a bit of a cheat. The only extra features
they boast is two featurettes running at about 20 minutes each. An entire
disc for 40 minutes of running time? The featurettes aren't bad, but they
ain't brilliant either. Your call.
WORTH IT? Sometimes
the characters move too "stiffly", but at least they don't have those
staring junkie eyes of characters in the recent Beowulf.
qualms you have may have about the animation processes and techniques
employed, the point is that Ex Machina is such eye candy that it makes the 1988 traditionally
animated version look positively antiquated in comparison in the same way
that the epic battles in Troy now seem tired when compared to the
ones in 300.
Appleseed Ex Machina will appeal to anime
fans more inured to the genre's plot conventions. Plus the
as if they re-filmed Akira in the style of
A Scanner Darkly -
is more colorful than the "tasteful" grey drabs of the similar
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
However the endless fight and action scenes get tiresome real soon. Worth
a rental at least.