Director: Hayao Miyazaki; Release Date: April 15, 2003
And to think at one time I enjoyed this movie. It’s rare for me to go back and see an anime film I only slightly enjoyed, but I found some time and decided to watch this film again so that I could write a review on it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to look at it) I guess my standards for anime, and film in general, are higher now then they were when I first watched this film. It was fun back then, now its just wasted potential.
In the year 2079 Venus is an inhabitable planet and home to thousands of people who scratch off a living off the barren soil of their home world. Although it was supposed to be a paradise, free from the wars and violence which have plagued earth for thousands of years, Venus has taken to looking more like a post apocalyptic earth than the green paradise the people envisioned with they first settled the planet. Plants don't grow, corrupt governments rule the land, and war looms ahead for the entire planet. For amusement the citizens of the city of Io, capital of the nation of Ufrodia, preoccupy themselves with dangerous X game like sports involving mono bikes, which are BTW really, really cool.
Sound cool? Well it very well could have been EXTREMELY cool, but ruins all potential it has with an inane script which will make even the most tolerant of anime fans blush with embarrassment. There is simply no describing how awful it is on a consistent basis. Every line, every sentence, every word from either the sub or the dub, is just pathetic. Who wrote this junk? My ten year old little brother has more talent then the writers of this movie. Along with the bad writing, the characters are also pretty badly portrayed, although that could also be attributed to the script. The reluctant hero rebelling against authority, the naive blonde (I don't care how hot she it, she's just too stupid to believe), the feisty red head, the tough/wise mechanic, and all the numerous stupid bikers and overly confident military guys make up the bulk of the cliché character types to be found here.
However, this movie has one saving grace which brings it out of the bowls of obscurity and makes it something half way decent, or at least watch able; it has action, good action, and lots of it. If you can put aside the bad writing and horrendous characters (something I'm sure many of you will have no problem in doing) Venus Wars is about two hours of stuff blowing up, people getting shot, and really awesome military hardware destroying everything in sight. It’s a riot, there’s no mistaking it. From the moment Ishtar invades with their superior weapons and overwhelms the defenders, reminiscent of Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939, until the end the action rarely lets up. The obvious WWII parodies are also there for military history buffs who like seeing old wars fought with new weapons. Venus Wars is WWII; WWII with mono bikes. Cool.
Unfortunately this movies age really shows in the animation. Although the battle scenes are pretty good overall, backgrounds and motion shots are blurry, which could just be the DVD, either way it hurts the eyes. The music was done by the amazing Joe Hisaishi, composer for such amazing scores as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. The music has its moments here and there, but there isn't anywhere close to enough to justify the bold printing on the cover which says "Features music by Jo Hisaishi, composer for Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro." The music isn't anywhere near special and is kept as silent as possible for the most part.
Is this a film worth watching? Probability, for those who could care less for character development and realism. Is it worth owning though? I don't think so. Rent this one if you can, otherwise let it go.
Replay Value; low.
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