I just had the privilege of watching an advance promo copy of this new version of Appleseed, and I am deeply impressed.
Simply put, it is beautiful. Hands down, the animation in Appleseed is some of the best I've ever seen; a stunning combination of computer rendering and cell animation, with mind-blowing results. It puts pretty much every other animated movie I've seen recently -- from "Final Fantasy" to "The Incredibles" -- to absolute shame. Those movies wish they looked this good.
The soundtrack, featuring Paul Oakenfold and Ryuichi Sakamoto among others, is also excellent. The music provides counterpoint to key scenes, but is never over the top.
The story is a solid one, peopled by believable characters and a steadily-moving plotline. Action sequences are paced nicely, and the dialogue is simple but works. My one complaint (a minor one) is that I wish that they had gotten better voice actors for some of the parts. The actress for Deunan was fine, but better actors for Briareos and Hitomi I think would have carried it a little better. Nevertheless, this was but a minor distraction in an otherwise outstanding film.
If you're a fan of Japanese animation, or animated films in general, then you must see this movie. This could well be the first in the next generation of animated movies -- which would be quite fitting.
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Rich Stoehr (GlassIsland)
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The 2004Appleseedfeature is a reworking of the earlier video based on the manga by Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell). In 2131, most of humanity has withdrawn to the glittering city of Olympus after a devastating war. When the curvaceous Deunan Knute comes to Olympus, she encounters her former comrade Briareos, now a cyborg, and the lovely android Hitomi. The fate of Hitomi, Olympus, and humanity rest on the lost "Appleseed" technology that Deunan's mother helped to develop. A standard series of chases,mecha battles, and confrontations leads to a predictable ending. When the originalAppleseedappeared in 1988, it felt like a summary of anime's past, whileAkirapointed the way to the future. This new version feels like a mishmash ofGhost in the Shell,Akira,Jin-Roh,Evangelion, and other, more exciting works. The motion-capture CG is typically weightless, and themechalook oddly squat. (Rated R: violence)--Charles Solomon