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[Review] Appleseed Alpha

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  • [Review] Appleseed Alpha


    Alternative title:
    Appleseed α
    Release date July 15, 2014
    Running time 93 minutes

    Synopsis
    Appleseed Alpha depicts the early days of Deunan Knute and Briareos in the 22nd century, as they embark on a journey throughout dystopic ruins of New York in search of the city of Olympus. They are hired by Two Horns, the warlord of the ruined city, to eliminate bipedal combat machines. During the fight, they encounter Iris and Olson, both on a mission. Deunan and Briareos befriend with them and decide to join their mission.
    Iris is tasked with preventing the malevolent cyborg Talos from capturing a secret weapon humans were building. Talos uses Iris to activate the gigantic war machine.
    Review

    Please note: this does get a bit ranty.

    Story & Characters

    The story in this movie is not alike the previous two 3DCGI animated films,where the previous two films had political intrigue, philosophical questions and self conflict. Appleseed Alpha has almost none of that, instead the movie is more action oriented and its dialogue is more to the western audiences (or rather not japanese) similar to Hollywood’s script as the dialogue contains snarky rebuttals/sarcasm, some sexual references, poor jokes, and some archetypal/stereotypical character personalities such as Two-Horn’s Mafia boss character.

    The main character Deunan also have changed in this movie, she is less of the cool and level headed girl seen in Appleseed and Ex Machina, whereas in Alpha she shows more emotion as she cares, worries and acts more spontaneous as well as doing less acrobatics in combat seen in Ex Machina. And Briareos has the same stoic and gruff personality seen in the other films as well as the caring side towards Deunan.


    The other characters Iris and Olson are okay characters, they don’t develop much in the film and are very static. Olson isnt a bad character as he doesn’t add any negativity in the story, but Iris’ shy and introverted personality does change the atmosphere in the film.

    The villain Talos and his female subordinate are very shallow as they their evil intentions are very forward and does not give much of character development nor pose any threat to the overall characters and setting. Luckily they do not have a very long screen time, but they are less than satisfactory villains.

    The setting throughout movie is a dystopian depiction of New York and its outskirts. The city has been reduced to rubble and the outskirts turned to deserts very similar to the Mojave desert. The movie spends most of its time in the ruins and desert, there aren’t any scenes of the massive beauty of Olympus of any cyberpunk architecture in the previous two films and it does get boring with all the sand and rubble. But it works.




    visuals

    First thing i need to get out of the way is the stark visual difference of Deunan, personally i do not like how she looks as she bears little resemblance to her manga or previous 3DCGI look, as her face is more defined (or realistic) and a larger breast than her previous character incarnations, it doesn’t help that her combat armor emphasis her breasts as well.

    Now for the rest of the film, Appleseed Alpha is visually impressive at times, the far shots of the scenery can be breathtaking (like the spider mobile fortress) and the close up shots have some great detail. The medium distance shots are standard, but not impressive. The movie’s aesthetic is different from the previous two films as its not set in a cyberpunk setting, in Alpha the movie shows alot of decrepit ruins and wastelands. There is very little that will excite a fan of cyberpunk technology, but if you are into dystopia aesthetics this is fits the criteria. Because of the setting, most of the shots are very uniform and blurs alot, and there is a distinct visual clash between the old world setting and the cyberpunk technology.

    However, despite the little technology shown in the movie, the technology that does appear are visually impressive, Briareos is an upgrade from his look in Ex Machina, and i appreciate the visual shots of looking through Briareos’ perspective where it shows the fancy HUD of the Hecatonchires system. The sleek design of villain Talos is nice as well. The detail for the power armor and spider fortress is fantastic as well. Two Horns however… is up to debate since it is pretty odd to see a full metal cyborg having a mouth and teeth that move.



    audio

    The music in the movie is decent. Like Ex Machina there are some electronic genre music in the movie, there are some dubstep, house tracks and trance in the movie as well as your cinematic orchestral music. The electronic tracks do their job by not being a contrast in the scenes, and the music is well timed.

    The voice acting work by Luci Christian for Deunan and David Matranga (Briareos) is the same as in the previous movies, their performance is consistent and convey the scenes well. Two Horn’s voice actor Wendel Calvert does a nice performance though im not sure whether the Urban gangster is his decision or the production’s. Brina Palencia’s performance for Iris is good too, but Josh Sheltz’s acting for Talos sounds a bit off for Talos’ personality as his acting has some odd pacing, tends to waver and acts a bit too human and fresh for a cyborg villain willing to scare populations into submission.
    The other assets such as world atmosphere, machine noise, gunfire and etc sounds without problem. Though the gunfire tends to sound with a little less impact than they should.

    Impression:
    After hearing that Micott & Basara, the studio behind the two CGI appleseed became bankrupt, i am always nervous seeing another animation featuring Appleseed, especially how Appleseed XIII looked very awful and had a mess of a story. Then comes a movie from Lucent Pictures Entertainment & Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    So after watching the movie i am a bit conflicted. As a fan of the appleseed movies i feel this movie is less than satisfactory since there is none of the political intrigue, the self conflicts and the beautiful cyberpunk world that the other appleseed films bring in, the scriptwriting for the movie is distinctly different than the other films. I am not very happy with how Deunan looks in this movie as the production behind this film created Deunan to look more sexualized than her previous incarnations, especially with her body armor that emphasizes her breasts, although it does somewhat stay true to Appleseed’s depiction of Deunan wearing functional and agile combat wear. I also felt Talos being a villain of the movie sucked, as he doesn’t really pose much of a threat nor does his voice actor didn’t do much to help that either.
    The story in the timeline is a bit iffy too, as im sure this is a movie original story, im not sure where this fits in the timeline other than this is before Deunan and Briareos goes to Olympus, but ill overlook this one.

    The movie doesnt do well with facial emotions other than talking and feeling neutral. Whenever there is an emotion other than feeling neutral such as happy or sad, the faces look rather forced or contorted and don’t exactly convey the feelings well, such as the scene of Deunan smiling or smirking… it doesnt work.

    Aside from those issues i do like a few things from the movie such as the fun action featuring the spider mobile fortress, i also did appreciate a change in setting away from Olympus even though the many scenes of desert, rubble and wasteland do get very boring quick. I really enjoyed the far distance scenery shots and Briareos looks just as awesome as he did in the previous films. The pacing of the movie is consistent.

    All in all this was a good attempt from Lucent Pictures Entertainment & Sony Pictures Entertainment, but i hope from the future that there will be another studio that will make another animation that is more alike to the previous two CGI films.

    Now. would i recommend watching this movie? Yes, its a nice fun action packed film that requires no prior knowledge of the appleseed franchise. So if you have about an hour and a half to spare, give appleseed Alpha a try and make your own judgements.

    Sorry for the review being a bit ranty.
    Last edited by sithstormjedi; 07-30-2014, 07:06 PM.
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