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Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – His Review October 3, 2006

Posted by Jinx in Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Movies.

Save time and money on both travel and housing now!

Original title: Hauru no ugoku shiro
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki
Starring Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura etc.

Young Sophie is a mad hatter. She makes hats for a living, and she is mad because a witch put a spell on her that makes her look like a 90-year old woman.

All is well in Someplaceorother (name escapes me), apart from the fact that the country is at war with it’s neighbour, for reasons unclear. While out walking, a seemingly safe and mundane thing to do, Sophie meets the mysterious wizard Howl and becomes entangled in his “evil plot to not take over the world but rather be left alone in his walking castle”.

The story in Howl’s Moving Castle is paper-thin, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass. How cool is this movie? On a scale from 1 to 10 it’s about.. oh.. 10. If you yourself define a scale, you can’t place your mark outside of it. It was clever around the time when “cats” were “hip”, now it’s the mark of morons. I’m not gonna compare it to Miyazaki’s other works, since he’s in a league of his own, far above the competition, and outside the restrictions of mainstream animation. By now his name is a guarantee of quality, since even if something is off, the rest of the ingredients are tasty enough anyway.

Watch it for the unparallelled cuteness factor of wheezing dogs and sleeping cow dolls. Watch it for the technicolor views and cool action sequences. Watch it for the love of God (Miyazaki).

Oh, and watch the trailer here.

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

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Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – Her Review October 3, 2006

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

They say beauty is only skin deep... how thick is your skin anyways?

Original title: Hauru no ugoku shiro
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki
Starring Chieko Baisho, Takuya Kimura etc.

A wonderful animated movie where we follow the adventures of Sofî, who during wartime, works in a hat shop. One day, while being bothered in a backlane by soldiers, she is whisked away by a young man (Howl) who is not only handsome, but a wizard. She falls in love at first site, but before the night is through, a spell is put on her by a nasty witch that makes her very old. Not knowing what to do she runs away and through an act of kindness, comes to live in Howl’s castle as the housekeeper.

I will not tell you any more of the story because it’s fun to have it unfold but I can say that the director, Hayao Miyazaki, has done a marvelous job of making the characters more than 2D cartoons. He brings them to life by showing us their many facets, such as the brave and bold Howl, who at times is insecure and he even makes us feel sorry at some point for the Witch of the Waste. He makes us think twice about what we really love about the people we care for and why.

Are these gorgeous images, or what?

Although it’s very, very pretty, it’s also quite an adventure with both action and bad guys. Heck there’s even a bit of drama and also a little romance. It’s got an weird castle that looks like a junkyard contraption that not only has legs, it also flies. Although it did have all these characteristics, it was not a movie that tried to be everything and failed, instead it brought all these different aspects together rolled up in very cool graphical eye-candy. It was simply delightful; a true treasure.

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.

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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Keywords July 26, 2006

Posted by Eury in .
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