Appleseed Alpha (2014) (DVD review).

November 4, 2014 | By | Reply More

Animation at its best, directed by Shinji Aramaki, here we have a post-apocalyptic thriller set in the desolation of New York City. Mind you, it could be any city and it’s a scene of utter devastation similar to that of Dresden after World War II with very few buildings are left standing. With Japanese origins, it’s quite easy to see how such a setting can be unnerving in the extreme. Urbanised Japan is a technology-based country with many complex cities but they fear the earthquake and tsunami which could bring it all tumbling down.

AppleseedAlphaDVD

With great music and superb graphics, ‘Appleseed Alpha’ is a really interesting and enjoyable movie which doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of action which is well choreographed and, honestly, while you’re watching, you forget the fact that it’s an animation, so good are the effects but, let’s face it, most action movies today are just the same. Spider-Man, for example, is largely made up of artificial pixels, likewise the ‘Spartan 300’ movies and, in this case, all they do is go one step further and make up the characters as well. The only real aspects are the voices but no doubt, one day, this will be manufactured along with all the rest.

The main characters are the mercenary soldiers, Deunan, a young human woman, and the cyborg Briareos, who in this case is rather rundown and in need of repairs. They find themselves in a ruined New York working for a gang boss called Two-Horns. After bungling a mission, they earn a reprieve but end up rescuing a bio-engineered girl called Iris and her soldier friend, Olson. The latter are on a secret mission from the fabled city of Olympus.

Getting in the way is the powerful cyborg Talos and his sidekick, Nyx, a female cyborg with a cruel and vindictive nature. Although these two are somewhat stereotyped, they are nevertheless electronic creatures basically devoid of humanity. They are fighting over the remains of the planet, the Earth destroyed after World War Three which nobody won. One wonders why they are still fighting? What is there left to win? The problem is that the mercenaries and the cyborgs were created to fight and that’s what nature enforces them to do, even on a planet which is basically ruined.

Iris has a secret and this is the location of a terror weapon. Talos is out to get the weapon at any cost because with it he believes he will conquer the planet. The others are out to stop him but despite their efforts, the monster is released. It’s a frightening and hideous sight! A terror weapon nobody wants to see!

For me, one of the stars was Two-Horns. The Cyborg gang boss is a great character who seems to be able to survive anything. His motley crew are something to behold themselves and together they meddle in everything. Fortunately, they are not all bad and in the final climax of the movie they play their part.

Not sure what to think at the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of images and the delivery of the story. They’ve done a really good job in making this movie and it won’t be the last. While it doesn’t apparently fit in to the storyline of the other ‘Appleseed’ movies, it will probably be continued with other offerings in the future.

The DVD came with a moviemaker’s commentary plus lots of images. One of the best aspects however was the availability in several languages. The main language was English but it came with sub-titles in 13 other languages. In addition, it was dubbed in German, French, Italian and Spanish. English sub-titles were available for hearing impaired people and there was also English audio description for the visually impaired.

Animation is here to stay. One wonders when straight drama will appear in this format? It would be interesting to see the results but in the meantime this is a DVD to be recommended.

Rod MacDonald

October 2014

(region 2 DVD: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 89 minute film with extras. Price: £12.50 (UK). ASIN: B00LM6P4RU)

cast:

Subtitles: German, Hindi, French, Finnish, Swedish, Arabic, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Turkish, Spanish and English

Dubbed: French, German, Italian and Spanish

Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English

check out website: www.sonypictures.com

Imagery: http://ukpress.waytoblue.com/distribution/UK/SPHE/Appleseed/Appleseed_GenericImagery.zip

Clip 1 “Open Your Eyes”

View: http://ukpress.waytoblue.com/distribution/UK/SPHE/Appleseed/Appleseed_OpenYourEyes.mov

Download: http://we.tl/uGLN5rl8QC

Clip 2 “You Have To Make A Choice”

View: http://ukpress.waytoblue.com/distribution/UK/SPHE/Appleseed/You_Have_To_Make_a_Choice.mov

Download: http://we.tl/66wR1FviLQ

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Category: Anime/manga, Films, MEDIA

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