So, let me start out by saying I'm a Mass Effect fan. I've played all the games and I count the series as one of the best interactive gaming experiences going.
So, quite what Electronic Arts were thinking when they farmed out this movie concept to Funimation is beyond me. I'm not even sure if they even had a target demographic beyond "Mass Effect fans".
The animation and artwork is of poor quality, really. Certainly sub-par for a franchise like Mass Effect. I can only guess Funimation did this on the cheap. There are some scenes - shuttle flights etc, where the animation is much, much better than that used on the characters, which is a little puzzling.
Whatever happened, the animation is uneven, jerky, and very much in the (entirely inappropriate) style of anime that characterizes much of Japanese animation. And old style anime, too, not the more modern style.
This makes the movie hard to watch. I had it on in the background whilst I was doing other things, and that helped a lot. Listening, with the occasional glance up at the screen, made it seem better than if I plonked myself down in front of the screen and watched avidly.
Voice acting is somewhere between poor and acceptable. The same actor voices Vega in this movie as did the voice work for the game (ME3), but I really couldn't tell it was him until the credits rolled, so make of that what you will.
Plotwise, the story is set between the events of ME1 and ME2, with the story being a rehash of some of the events of ME2, involving the Collectors and such. It's relatively simple and, for the most part, does its job competently.
However, it is formulaic and would be forgotten if not for its one saving grace - the ending.
Having sat through an hour and a half of poorly animated film, our hero (James Vega) is faced with an impossible choice. A personal no-win scenario that even Kirk would blink uncertainly at. Save the hundreds of colonists, or save the girl with the information that could turn the tide of battle. He can't do both, seemingly. I admit, I expected some miraculous macguffin, or Deus Ex Machina to allow both, but, to its eternal credit, this story doesn't let that happen. Vega makes his choice, sacrificing the colonists so that the information the girl has can be utilized.
And that brings me to the delicious irony of this story.
Those that have followed the Mass Effect games already know about the terrible ending that was foisted off on the fans at the end of ME3. The game itself was reasonable, but the ending sucked. With Paragon Lost, the movie as a whole was weak but it was redeemed by the no-win ending to a great degree. Looking at the writer of this movie, who had nothing to do with ME3, I'm forced to wonder what sort of ending he might have come up with for the game series. It seems he knows what he's doing in that regard.
Anyway, irony aside, Paragon Lost is a poor movie, mostly down to the bad animation and some dodgy voice work. It's worth seeing it once, if you are a fan of Mass Effect, but it won't be on anyone's rewatch list. If you hated ME3's endings, stick with ME:PL until the bitter-sweet end and wonder what might have been.
SUMMARY: Terribly ironic addition to the Mass Effect universe, marred by shoddy animation and dodgy voice acting. It does have a good ending (at least in my book!) which redeems it somewhat, but it will never be watched more than once.
12 out of 18 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.