6 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
It's finally over
15 November 2005
I saw Revenge of the Sith when it came out, afterwards I was speechless, it was such a let down, I felt despite their faults Episodes 1 and 2 were building to something. Not only was Episode 3 too violent and not just at the end, but it was numbing, how many light sabre fights can you see before it gets tired? Episode 1's climatic fight was really good, and redeemed the film to an extent (and it had a great theme song), Episode 2's climax had good novelty the first time. Where as what we get is an entire film building up to the most overlong, disappointing duel, the only moment in the entire scene with any resonance was Obi-Wan telling Anakin not to fight him when he has the higher ground. Poor Ewan McGregor: not given a character to work with but a list of mannerisms, poor Christopher Lee: wasted, poor Natalie Portman: badly written. Samuel Jackson could've have been a bit better, although he had three films with nothing to do.

Now that I've seen them all, Episode 1 seems to be the best of the three; at least it has a contained narrative, while 2 and 3 are a complete mess, even if I can see what Lucas was trying to do. Now it's all over I can stop being concerned, the prequels were awful but I still enjoyed them in places, and I was genuinely excited to see all three, even when I read a 1 star review of Revenge of the Sith.

If you're a fan you'll have made your mind up, if not, it's not really worth seeing.
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Mirai shônen Konan (1978– )
Shame it's never been on UK TV, we're missing out
7 September 2005
How I wish I was a child seeing Conan, if not to enjoy without knowledge of Hayao Miyazaki, but to have been able to go to school and talk about it with all my friends. It would have been my favourite show. Instead I've made do watching older, it's excellent though.

To explain the plot, the world has been partially destroyed by man through use of nuclear weapons, tilting the world on its axis, thus sinking most of the land and destroying civilisation as we know it. 30 years later the few survivors are on living on a small island, Conan an 11 year old boy lives with his grandfather peacefully, until a girl washes up on the beach. It would be criminal to go much further since one of the best features of 'Conan' is its storytelling, and at 26 episodes it can take it's time.

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki with some help from Isao Takahata, Conan displays many of the traits of a Ghibli movie, best described and a cross between 'Laputa: Castle in the Sky' and 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind', both in plot and design. It could be said that these films improved and expanded on the ideas in Conan which could be taken that Conan isn't worthwhile, but it's more like Conan is an opportunity to see 13hrs of Miyazaki doing what he does so well.

Personally it's very difficult to review Conan, I know I love it, but there's so much to write. The plot is pretty complex, its twists and turns are genuinely surprising. The characters are great, since it's early Miyazaki there's a lot of slapstick, much in the vein of Miyazaki's Lupin III movie, the art direction is certainly of lower quality than his later offerings, but it was his directorial debut. Conan is dated in terms of animation, but again like in Lupin the characters are simplified, thus allowing animation to go smoothly, plus the backgrounds are beautiful, the ideas flowing, the design of the main boat is cleverly an upside down boat adapted to sail, at least I think it is! Its a few years before Joe Hisaishi is working with Miyazaki, so the music is less grand, but sweet and catchy.

Conan is a fantastic, while dated is as good a show a child or adult could watch today, plus another excellent Miyazaki project for the converted. I really can't praise Conan enough!
19 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Maetel Legend (2000 Video)
Could have been great, shame it's inept
20 July 2005
While there is a lot to recommend about Maetel Legend both in concept and finished product, it's ultimately a poor film. Plot wise it's a retelling of Maetel's early life, which is usually unclear; at the same time the writers take the opportunity to tell the story of the Machine Empire. And since Leiji Matsumoto has trouble not including his other work we get a starting point for Emeraldas her sister, Her mother: the Queen of La Metalle and a bit of Galaxy Express 999 to flesh out the film.

In short Maetel is a princess on the planet La Metalle, a planet with an irregular orbit, thus meaning its cycle around the nearest sun is reaching a cold stage and it's artificial Sun is dying. The Planet grows increasingly colder throughout the story, thus increasing the sense of doom. In order to protect her subjects and family the Queen decides that mechanisation is the only way to ensure survival of La Metalle's people. Enter Lord Hardgear, a robot / cyborg who provides the means for the job. Through the film, the characters are left to question mechanisation, will they still be human? Can Hardgear be trusted? Do souls and hearts remain? So for a fan of Matsumoto's work, there's lots to enjoy, questions to be answered, themes continued, except it's obvious that the film is meant to be an introduction, as well as a fan curiosity. The negatives, foremost the animation, while Galaxy Express 999, a TV series from over 20 years ago has shoddy mouth animation and at times sketchy character design, Maetel Legend has all the worst traits of modern animation and thus earns an air of respectability to Galaxy Express 999. The design is well detailed but unfortunately the animation has suffered leaving well drawn characters that 'slide', as in the backgrounds move or the camera zooms, a quick way of animating. However the few, yes few well animated scenes are re used over and over in dream sequences, repetition and in extra scenes. Anyone who's seem the film will wonder how many times Lord Hardgear can drink the same glass of wine.

Next the story, While in concept everything sounds great, the finished product is in fact a series of conversations of plot which are repeated over and over to little effect, the number of times the characters encounter the same problems and learn the same things is practically insulting to the audience and the characters, which are seemingly much more articulate in former incarnations. Add to all of that some terrible character design, that seem lifeless, over exaggerated, and the audience is left with a movie so miss handled it might as well have been rewritten as a different film, at least the newcomers wouldn't be left baffled.

And yet, it really has its moments, the ending at least is surprising. The plight of the citizens of La Metalle was quite affecting and rightly disturbing; I guess I find that whole man-machine theme distressing. It's hard know who to recommend Maetel Legend to, since it's not well animated, written or executed, plus confusing once Leiji Matsumoto's mandatory cross-referencing is introduced. However I can't help but brighten up when the magnificent entrance of Three-Nine occurs, now that's good cinema.

1/5 stars out of 5, 2 if you're a fan.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Longest Music Video?
9 May 2005
Discovery by Daft Punk was proclaimed to be the greatest dance album ever, at least in some circles. I really liked what i had heard previously 'Da Funk' and 'All Around the World' were some of my favourite songs of the 90s. At first listening to Discovery I'd not really got into it except for the singles I didn't feel much about it.

Interstella 5555 came out well after Discovery, by then i was very taken with Anime and Daft Punk had sort of always been in the back of my head as a band I should try out again. Speaking personally the best thing about Interstella 5555 is that I now love Discovery and find myself remembering how great the film was.

Many reviews I'd read claim that the plot is 'paper-thin' and never really amounts too much, I found myself enjoying the action and the comedy and at the same time not being able to work out where it was going obviously the ending was always anticipated. Interstella was overseen by Daft Punk but it's not really their film, the film really belongs to Leiji Matsumoto, the design, story and direction all are in part by Matsumoto, although his role in the film is unclear. Matsumoto is probably best known for his animated TV series 'Star Blazers' and 'Galaxy Express 999'.

In terms of animation quality Interstella is very good, the characters move realistically the locations look great and range from fantastical and blatantly mundane. However, the first four segments were Daft Punk's commercially released music videos for the Discovery the quality is exceptional, but after that the film seems to jump into a lower standard with thicker outlines and repeating of footage from the first four segments, that's not to say it doesn't look good.

The Films best asset is that it isn't constricted by the music in that the viewer is not subjected to literal imagery from the lyrics displayed on the screen. Instead the films pacing runs like a normal movie occasionally sequencing it's pacing with the music and telling everything very visually. Why include exposition, when you can display it in pictures? As in a news report that occurs during the film.

Basically if you like Daft Punk, Anime or Simply want to try something a bit different Interstella is worth checking out.
35 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Everything you've come to expect from Miyizaki plus more!
8 May 2005
If you Like Hayao Miyizaki's work it's hard not to like this music video. While the music may not be to everyone's tastes I can't say I wasn't enjoying it, plus it would be hard to enjoy on your mark without its soundtrack.

What is most stunning about On Your Mark is Miyizaki's converging of many of his traits and themes. It's great to see Imagery from Miyizaki's Long serialised 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind' Manga, Even though that appeared as a film in 1985, we get to see much of what wasn't in the film but was in the Manga. Also familiar are the two leads who aren't too far from his interpretation Of Lupin and Jigen from Miyizaki's Cinematic Debut 'The Castle of Cagliostro'. Present too are so may other touches, not least his depiction of the girl and his love of flight. What is new territory is how the future is envisioned, Many of Miyizaki's Films are set in the past, but On Your Mark is actually stylistically similar to other Anime that being a Blade Runner, Metropolis Dystopia, perhaps a set not too far in the future, whereas Miyizaki's only other future world in Nausicaa is far more sparse and Sombre.

Anyway, On You Mark is a truly wonderful and entertaining piece off work. It all seems too easy?
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Someone has to do it
31 July 2004
Michael Moore, he not exactly subtle but at least he's out there putting out a message we can take or leave.

Fahrenheit 9/11 isn't exactly the extreme implausible banter that's be published by pro-republicans, but it is a film that should not be watched by anyone who can sit back and believe EVERYthing on screen. That said, it's damn good: a tighter film that Moore's previous, even though it lurches from one topic to another. It's essentially Moore's criticisms of Bush and the presidency since he took office. Of all the points made, the most shocking (especially to a Brit) is the news coverage and advertisements in the USA, it seems in line with the TV footage in Paul Verhoven's Starship Troopers, and that is honestly more shocking than what we are shown of Bush's career and links to Osama. Even though Moore doesn't go so far he almost, and he really stands back but putting 2 and 2 together Moore puts Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Osama, Sept 11 next to each other and although we are not given any big answers, we are given that statement that it's "Uncomfortable".

I'm not a Bush hater, even though I lean left, I don't why hating someone you don't actually know is just. If going in you've not political opinion (you probably will), Bush will either come across as a failure with the right friends, or a charismatic fella in the wrong job. Oh and even though Moore plays it for laughs, Bush's Discovery of the second plane is no laughing matter, personally it's one of the most iconic moments of this century.

8/10 for the fact it exists.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this