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Asterix and the Vikings (2006) – His Review October 10, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Movies.
1 comment so far

Much more fun than the Romans

Dir. Stefan Fjelmark and Jesper Moller

Starring Roger Carel, Lorànt Deutsch and Sara Forestier

The comic book / graphic novel turned into film, as per usual.

I don’t know if kids growing up today read much at all, let alone a 50 year old series of comic books, but Asterix was a part of everyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in Sweden. Among other classic french and belgian serials like Lucky Luke, Tintin, Spirou, Blueberry, Finn och Fiffi (Suske en Wiske) etc, it was read by one and all, and readily available for loan at the local library.

The “heritage” has yet to be ruined. Despite updating the music and a few minor jokes, the look and feel of Asterix is very much intact. The animation is top-notch, and the 3d-to-2d rendering looks consistently good. Storywise, it’s just cosily familiar and fun, mostly harmless entertainment. If you know how it goes, it’ll live up to your expectations. If you don’t, this is as good a chapter as any to get introduced.

This is His review, you can read Her review here.

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Asterix and the Vikings (2006) – Her Review October 10, 2006

Posted by Eury in Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Movies.
1 comment so far

it takes a viking to raze a village

Dir. Stefan Fjelmark and Jesper Moller

Starring Roger Carel, Lorànt Deutsch and Sara Forestier

Asterix and Obelix are given the mission of taking Justforkix and turning him into a great warrior. Justforkix is like most young teens, not too keen on having to work, a bit of an underachiever and more into having fun.

The Vikings have the mistaken idea where they believe that being afraid will make them be able to fly. Capturing the young and very frightened Justforkix, the Vikings treat him as a god and await for him to teach them how to soar through the skies.

In pure Asterix tradition, this movie is full of visual jokes and puns. It also has interjected some modern references (such as the Viking version of Ikea.. Vikea, of course) and peppy music.

Hey, this is pretty easy…it’s Asterix! Most people I know either love this type of movie or hate them… so depending which camp you sit your butt in, will tell you if you should watch this or not. If you have never seen an Asterix movie… and you like slapstick-type humor, you will most likely enjoy this.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Appleseed (2004) – His Review September 12, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Action, Animation, Movies, Sci-Fi.
2 comments

I bet you're all thinking what I'm thinking. Does he have a robot penis?

Dir. Shinji Aramaki
Starring Ai Kobayashi, Jûrôta Kobayashi and Yuki Matsuoka

Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell), Appleseed has been done before. There are good and bad reasons for making a remake, and a serious contender for the best excuse is “achieving the full vision of the material”. Appleseed may not take it to it’s ultimate heights, but it is a hell of a cool movie, and without a doubt the one to best match Shirow’s amazing art (may be NSFW).

Deunan is a 20-something woman who has spent most of her life as an elite soldier fighting in the World War. A war where the original reasons for fighting have long been lost, and replaced with simply “survival”. As she is plucked out of that reality and dropped into an oasis of life and comfort, the city of Olympus, she soon finds a new reason to fight – for the survival of mankind (?).

screenshots from Appleseed

Well yes, the plot is derivative and the intrigues are also quite messy. It’s not easy knowing who is with who, who’s on first and what’s the frequency, Kenneth. At least in the first half of the movie – then the red herrings get sparser, and we finally get to know the elusive “deal”. I really don’t have a problem with this. This isn’t a Disney movie where everything has to be understandable to a 5-year old, this is a movie with close-ups of people getting shot in the head. And it’s pretty, too.

screenshots from Appleseed (2004)

Amazingly enough, an animated movie completely sans-ponies can still be gorgeous. Check it out, in English if you’re so inclined, or in the original Japanese with subtitles.. It’s the eyecandy that matters most in this one anyway.

This is His review, you can read Her review here

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Appleseed (2004) – Her Review September 12, 2006

Posted by Eury in Action, Animation, Movies, Sci-Fi.
1 comment so far

could you move those rabbit ears a bit to the left, I 'm getting lousy reception.

Dir. Shinji Aramaki
Starring Ai Kobayashi, Jûrôta Kobayashi and Yuki Matsuoka

The story of Appleseed ( Appurushîdo ) starts off with Deunan Knute, fighting in the badlands, unaware that the world war is over. A helicopter swoops down with her ex-lover (Briareos) and the beautiful Hitomi. She’s shot with a tranquilizer gun and brought back to the futuristic city of Olympus.

The city is very clean and sterile and considered “Utopia” and is populated by humans and bioroids (biologically engineered human-like cyborgs with lowered emotions). The city is in majority run by 7 old guys in floating chairs that consult what they call “Gaea” to help them make decisions.

The new society has problems though, the bioroids want to procreate and the humans want to get rid of the bioroids as they are worried that they will take over and eventually there will no longer be any humans at all.

At first glance, I thought Deunan was a young man, as so often the males in anime seem so androgenous and are pretty boys. She certainly kicks butt like a guy as she is a highly trained soldier. If it weren’t for the boobies, I would have thought she was a dude. It does fit her role well though, as too soft and pretty would perhaps not have been so believable.

This movie is just full of eye-candy. The backgrounds are so realistic that at first I thought they were photographs. The characters on the other hand look like cell-shading from comic books. I liked that. Instead of the very “poser” like characters we often see in this century’s animated movies.. these seemed less plastic, somehow and more approachable.

screenshots from Appleseed

The gorgeousness of the city and its mirrored streets will just blow your mind. I was also impressed with how natural the movement of the characters was. I’m often struck by small details in movies and in this one there is a very short shot of Deunan checking if a gun is loaded and I was struck how very real the way her fingers moved looked. Yeah.. I know it’s a very small detail, but one I will remember because it impressed me.

screenshots from Appleseed (2004)

The action sequences are pretty amazing and the music is awesome too.

Although the movie sounds perfect, there were a few things that bothered me. First thing was Briareros. Like Deunan, he was a trained soldier, who after a very bad injury, now is a cyborg with 75% of his body being mechanical. I couldn’t help thinking, hmm… why didn’t they just put him into a bioroid body, they certainly have the expertise and technology to do that. Then there was the whole premise of the movie. It just felt a little cliché.. the whole “what if the future world of robots, cyborgs etc., want the place to themselves?” I also was a bit confused about which party Deunan wanted to be with, was she with the humans that wanted to save the earth from bioroids, would she save the bioroids and perhaps put the humans at risk?

Ah… perhaps there was too much story to tell in this brief amount of time. One thing is for sure, the beauty of the whole movie is more than a worthwhile excuse to watch it.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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Comic Book Confidential (1988) July 31, 2006

Posted by Eury in Documentary, Movies.
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shoot me now!

Dir. Ron Mann

starring: Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Frank Miller etc.,

I’m a person that is curious about many things and quite enjoy documentaries. I just knew this was going to be great, right? Comic books… who hasn’t read one? If you were alive in the last 50 years, there is a good chance you had a neat (or not so neat) pile in your bedroom. Some people read superhero comic books or war stories and others, just fun teen stuff like Archie and Veronica. There was something for everyone.
As a history lesson, there was much to learn. I had no idea that there was such terror that comic books would turn us or our children into violent, crazy, gun-toting, rock-hitting friends over the head psychopaths. There was also censorship. Each comic had to pass the “Comic Book Code” and were checked by some puritanical groups. Whatever they didn’t like they either edited out with white paint or simply did not allow to be published.

There were a few funny little videos included to show us examples of the hysteria that the advent of comic books created but on the whole, I was bored. The pace was slow and sluggish… I wish they would have mixed it up a little… it was very logical going forward in chronological order, but I couldn’t wait to get out of the gritty, smudged images and the bad sound. I understand the need for showing us the underground material that was produced, but I wanted to see comics that I recognized and thought were fun. Instead, the last 20 minutes felt like torture to me… I just wanted it to be over.

As I stated before, I usually really like documentaries… I often find that they make me interested in a subject I may little or no knowledge about. Although I could certainly not be considered a huge comic book aficionado, I have had my share of reading comics as a teen and even later in life. I wanted to like this… I really did; I just didn’t. As a historical document that states facts … yes, it does it’s job…, as a piece of work that I found interesting… except for a few funny videos, I’m afraid not. 😛
I would have called this documentary “The Comic Book Blues” because, sadly, it just got me down.

Keywords: Superheroes, Comic Books, Censorship

Comic Book Confidential (1988) July 31, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Documentary, Movies.
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I think there ought to be a law against them

Dir. Ron Mann

Starring Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Frank Miller, Stan Lee etc

We can laugh at it now. In the fifties, comics were turning kids into juvenile delinquents panel by panel. This movie starts off echoing the sentiments of the times, with clips from a PSA-type information film about the dangers of comics. It is a shadow not unlike the one currently hovering over videogames, usually cast by confused parents of irreverent children.

Comic Book Confidential flips the pages of comics history, with candid, informative interviews with people who were in the business as things happened. How comics evolved from sunday funnies for the kids, into the diverse multi-market of today (well.. 1988 anyway). Talking heads can make a documentary tedious, but there’s no danger of that here. The interviews are mixed with samplings of the authors’ work, the comics themselves, complete with narration and sound-effects. It’s a treat to see and hear Frank Miller, pretty much finding his feet at the time, knowing his recent success as a movie director.

The movie manages fairly well to portray and explain a world that has spread it’s tendrils into many areas of entertainment nowadays. You don’t need to know about comics, or the people in this movie to get the point. It’s better than anything on Discovery Channel, except less sex on the savanna.

Keywords: Superheroes, Comic Books, Censorship

Keywords July 26, 2006

Posted by Eury in .
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