Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Just so you know, as if you care, I viewed the HD DVD version ‘Appleseed: Ex Machina’ which was run through my front projector, projected across 96 inches of screen and six channels of glorious audio blasting mega-wattage. Now I don’t have a lot of money as I am a charter member of the working poor, but what little expendable income I have, or at least used to have since all my expendable income these days are going to pay for gasoline, was put to buying a nice A/V component here and there so me and mine could occasionally watch an event or two with a real cinematic feel to it. Since we don’t have a lot of money it’s not like we have a dedicated theater room so I have to lug out the projector, drag the DVD player close to it, hook everything up and unfold the screen, but I think ‘Appleseed’ warranted that extra effort and believe me when I tell you, at least visually and aurally, it was well worth it.

It’s been some years since I saw the original ‘Appleseed’ and despite my damn near total recall I can’t remember what it was about to save my life so we’ll move on from that, shall we? Since this is an action film, and truly little else but an action film, the movie starts first with a very brief introduction to the world in which we will be living in for the next 100 or so minutes and cuts swiftly to one of the many spectacular action sequences which features our star animated character and E-Swat captain Deunan Knute (voiced by Luci Christian) along with her cyborg partner Briarios (David Martanga) who along with their E-swat comrades getting set to drop in on some cyborg terrorist who are holding some poor saps hostage. It ends badly for the terrorist, but not before one of the wounded borgs delivers a cryptic message before self destructing, badly wounding Briarios in service to saving Deunan’s ass yet again.

The injuries that Briarios has suffered will lead to Duenan getting another partner, a Biroid named Terius (Illich Guardiola) who is a virtual clone of Briaros before his

initial injuries that led to him becoming a cyborg. Biroids by the way are synthetic humans who played a much bigger part in the first film than in this sequel, that much I do remember. Duenan is none too happy to have another partner and a recovering Briarios is none too happy to see himself walking around talking to his girl, but whaddayagonnado? The real problem these three a going to have to deal with is these terrorist who have a sinister plan to use technology developed by the thought to be defunct Halcon Corporation to control the minds of the every single citizen on the planet. Plus they have to do this with Briarios slowly deteriorating mentally due the shenanigans of some crazy Cyborg doctor. Good luck.

HD DVD may have lost the High Definition format war but my disc of ‘Appleseed Ex Machina’ is a winner without a doubt. I will freely admit that this version of Appleseed doesn’t get by with the strongest or the most original narrative, it’s characters are fairly one-dimensional and the dialog at times can be trite and bit contrived but my gosh is it pretty and loud. And sometimes my friends, that’s all you can ask for. Director Shinji Aramaki orchestrates through a visual style that is completely computer generated with some tradition Anime cel shading cues which visually rivals anything you may have ever seen, and that includes ‘Final Fantasy: Advent Children’ which is about as beautiful as an animated movie can get, even though I didn’t understand a lick what was going on in it.

Not so for ‘Appleseed’ as the story was remarkably simplistic for a Japanese Animated film which basically consisted of find the bad people and kill them all. Legendary Hong Kong action film director John Woo served as producer for this film, which I assume consisted of him looking at the CG daily’s and advising the animators and the director that they need more bullets and less dialog, advice the creators seemed to take to heart. The action sequences in the film are simply breathtaking, if again, not too terribly original as the final raid will conjure up images of invading the Death Star while staving off hordes of the Sentinels from ‘The Matrix’ while attempting to disable Dr. Octopus’ crazy possessed sister who has ten times the tentacles.

If anything the movie looked too good as all of the characters where flawlessly beautiful, all of the streets were clean, the buildings, automobiles and mech suits scratch free, the skies crystal clear and all the characters clothes just came from the dry cleaners. Not trying to say they should have made another ‘Sin City’ here but a scruffy texture map here and there never hurt anybody.

‘Appleseed Ex Machina’ is pure entertainment plain and simple and those Anime lovers who are looking for something more cryptic, meaningful and arguably a more confusing tale, say what you would get from a ‘Perfect Blue’, ‘Ghost in the Shell’ or ‘Akira’ will not enjoy the simple nature of this tale. But if you like watching stuff blow up in 96 inches with bright pretty colors while your ears bleed, this you can’t beat with a stick.

Real Time Web