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5 reviews in total 
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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Fine adaptation of the great book: hugely superb to Disney's, 25 December 2002

Believe me, this cartoon is great. Unlike that sugar-coated and over-simplificated Disney version, it retains genuine sense of wonder and delicious weirdness so prominent in the book. I remember watching Disney's Alice in still tender age of 11, on big screen no less, and it completely failed to impress me compared to Russian cartoon that popped up occasionally on TV.

Carroll's work is not for children only, nor is it easy to adapt onscreen; while Disney carefully removed all the more serious issues, Russian version has them all, including several rather grim existential/death jokes. Again, Disney's Alice is just another Snow-White, while Alisa is more like Carroll and Tennison perceived her: cute, curious, caring, innocent and strong.

Cut-out animation is top of the line, in fact, it eerily resembles some modern high-budget anime; add to this superb voice work and fine electronic soundtrack from the beginning of 80's - and you have a great work of art.

I surely hope "Alisa" finds its way to "Masters of Russian Animation" series. This masterpiece surely deserves much wider recognition.

21 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Swiftian satire at its finest, 8 October 2002

Let me start off with saying that I hate Heinlein. No, don't get me wrong, he's one of the best serious sci-fi writers of the 20-th century, along with Asimov, Stanislav Lem and Yefremov. But it is social and political aspect of his works that I just can't accept. It goes like some strange blend of Italian fascism, overwhelming racism and purely Kiplingian he-man romance. And Paul Verhauven does great job satirizing precisely this aspect of Heinlein's writing in his "Starship troopers".

Now, merely good satire is basically source material concept developed into absurd via its internal logic and laughed at. Truly great satire reconstructs the utopian world of writer's dream... just emphasizing some over-the-tops and inconsistencies. And it brings this world to rubbish to laugh at. It is always subtle and razor-sharp. That is why people often don't get it and despise "Starship Troopers" as a no-brainer actioner. It is far from that.

Enter the squeaky-clean fascist utopia. Everyone is mild-mannered and clean shaven, well-educated and white (living in Buenos-Aires, mind you). Big clean biology class, where all students must cut live bugs in halves to know what's inside (and for most part they like it). Your unfortunate exam results are readily available on the large screen for everybody to see, as well as your name in KIA list later. And don't forget to enlist - otherwise you can't vote and impress your girl. Kill big dangerous bugs - as an infantry trooper and with rifle fire only. Want to learn more - get a citizenship? Do you still want to live in such a society?

One of the best moments for me is when friends show our hero his KIA card through the regeneration-camera glass. They are all very happy indeed... and don't see anything wrong with it. While I'm getting shivers down my spine. It's really scary, they don't understand what IS wrong with it! And the downbeat ending, even if it doesn't look this way... joyful fascism goes strong! No bugs could defeat it! (and, you know, now you may enlist at an earlier age. Want to learn more?)

Summary: very good movie combining awesome CGI with profound satirical insight into technocratic fascist utopia.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Some accurate space science... so not all the money gone *dust*, 7 October 2002

Ok, so you know perfectly well from all the other reviews here that the movie was not good. In fact, seeing that much money been just blown away, and on such a derivative and boring film to boot is quite sad. However, there is some merit here, I mean some (no, make it SOME) science done quite well.

I'm not talking about that ludicrous hybrid-drive auto in the 'space-party' segment (oww, horny astronauts drinking champaign right out of the bottle day before takeoff - "Armageddon", we're NOT missing you), made entirely of cheap plastic and two Lego motors. Well, I guess that's the way future transport will look in the future... I'm not talking about that un-vacuum-dried Dr Pepper and M&Ms. I do not even think of that climatic ending and that intestinal worm of a Martian (was I the only one to say "Oh, it's Derek, and he's gone ape sh*t" at the very end?), I'm not....

Well, what I WAS going to say? Oh, yes. Space ship designs. The main ship is just what it will be when people at last go to Mars. No, seriously, it is all right. It has that small artificial gravity rotating ring (small of necessity, just to sleep and stay in and keep metabolism right). When it has to be stopped for repair, it stops as it should - they do not forget of rotary impulse conservation law this time. All space interiors look realistic and, well, space-y (one more punch in the face of "Armageddon", though what's better - boring somewhat-competent movie, or hyperpatriotic cheesy incompetent one is hard to tell). Mars explorers, both automatic and manned are good. Inflatable Mars modules and orbiter - look just right... But then... Oh my God, then...

Since when manned spaceships use one-component liquid fuel (this is the only way to explain that massive spark explosion)? They do not and they will not - exactly because it is unfittingly dangerous. An astronaut not getting on his helmet in danger - shoot him now, he's alien in disguise. All the Dr Pepper thing. Landing an orbiter on Mars (there is good reason they don't show it - so utterly ridiculous it really is). Sustainable ecology under some tent on Mars - how I wish it were this simple! And so much more, not linked with spaceship design.

Resume: some realistic designs do not save this movie. Instead, they make us think of what it might have been.

12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Soviet movie-making in its finest, 29 July 2002

What a wonderful, amazing film! It's black and white and grainy (what did you expect from 1936?), but that doesn't matter at all. No film I ever seen comes even close. It has such a great sense of joy and romantic and adventure, it's so morally uplifting that I can't praise it enough. In addition to that, the movie is so innocent and optimistic that I can't think of a better children's film.

Great actors - I mean, all of them, though I especially liked Paganel, perfect score (by Prokofiev himself, no less!), to the point that "The Uverture for Deti Kapitana Granta" gets ordered quite often on modern FM radio stations - after 70 years! Great songs too ("Oh, Wind of Travel, sing us songs of where you came from", "There once lived a captain brave", etc. Engaging plotline (by Jules Verne), in which daring family of Captain Grant seeks their lost father circumnavigating the globe at 37 deg. South latitude... and so much more!

The only complaint today's viewer may have is dated special effects and not exactly slick stock fotage inserts... But you know what? Who ever notices that when the movie is so great!

I doubt that you can easily find it outside of Russia, but if you even don't find the film itself, do yourself a favour and trace film's soundtrack.

9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful post-modern pseudo-documentary absurdist comedy, 15 July 2002

This film is a joint effort by Boris Grebenschikov and Sergey Kurekhin... so if you are Russian you probably already know that you're in for quite a ride. It is well-known in Russia, so much so that few catch-phrases from the film have even entered nation's subconscious, like "Get up, Kolchak is coming" or "Sod hanging from the mast is better than shark in our hold"... great phrase... hey, wait a minute... Makarov couldn't say that... What the f... a Shark? Better? Why? Does it make any sense?

Well, in my opinion it does. That is exactly a kind of humor that makes this movie work. The film is no doubt bizarre, absurdist and almost entirely black-and white pseudo-documentary, with cameos by Grebenschikov and Kurekhin, occasional bursts of color and abstract cartoons. It roughly deals with the history of Russian fleet in the first two decades of twentieth century.

Two things though keep me from treating as a "schlockumentary" - first, excellent, grim and haunting soundtrack by Kurekhin, and second, clever tongue-in-cheek funny monologues. You almost believe in what is said, said in a serious and solemn tone, only to understand that it all was a razor-sharp joke just played on you.

Definitely this is not a film for everybody. I personally would recommend it... if it seems your kind of film, then grab it and watch it.