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Devilman: Crybaby (2018)
A turn for the worse in adaptations of this classic manga.
The art is terrible 80% of the time. Pacing, location and character establishment are garbage. The sense of perspective and weight are pathetic. Characters behave in stereotypically ridiculous anime fashion. The story jumps around with no sense of rhythm, feeling hallucinatory when it shouldn't.
This show made me very angry. The production employs all the worst-looking shortcuts in modern computer animating. Colors are flat, objects and subjects lack dimension. Textures slide in 3D movement. It entirely lacks the passion for real animation that the story of Devilman deserves.
What is going on with this show!? I'd probably end up giving it an even worse grade if I could make myself watch more than ten minutes of the first episode. What a shameful treatment of Go Nagai's great work. Deserves much better.
an improvement over last week
Not sure what happened in the previous episode but the writing and direction just felt pretty bad there, and I'm happy this episode is a great improvement.
I was engaged through the full runtime and felt pretty engrossed in the drama and story. The pacing and cinematography were really great for the most part. The music this season has been totally standout and I like the way they have drawn from Aliens and Blade Runner.
The biggest discrete negative point that brought the score down for this episode was during a dramatic scene between Mack and Yo-Yo, the camera going back and forth between them failed to keep in mind the focus of the audience eyes. I would have felt the drama of the scene much more effectively if they had kept Mack and Yo-Yo's heads in the same area of the screen. For more effective application of breaking screen focus, see Mr. Robot, which used it to heighten anxiety to great impact.
The story is taking some very compelling directions, and I'm really engaged with the themes of desperation and dystopia. Really looking forward to seeing how this season plays out!
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Haunting and illuminating.
A perfect eye and a pale near-void of complex, indecipherable patterns gives way to a sterile protein farm full of empty space; filled with a feeling of deprivation and loneliness. This is how Blade Runner 2049 begins before bringing us back to the wet, ultra-dense, black and neon maze of the super-city we know so well. This is how Denis Villeneuve lets us know right away that this is his movie, one full of reverence for the original, but a film that is much, much more than a mere homage.
Villeneuve has always been much more Kubrickian than Ridley Scott ever was. In his best work, Scott was a great visionary and incredible composer, but he doesn't have quite the same feeling with the composition. Villeneuve continues to bring us transcendentally arresting visual arrangements, rather than copying Scott's style. This is an excellent choice because when you're picking up the thread of a work of art 35 years later, it's best to make your production your own.
Once or twice I felt the dialogue might be a little on-the-nose to the themes, but I don't feel conclusive about this at all and I won't deduct from my grade. One thing is for sure, Villeneuve is not copying the original Blade Runner to any degree. There are a small handful of nods to the original, but this is such its own. The structure and pacing of this story is not at all a carbon copy of the first, and it does an excellent job of bringing you in sync with its rhythm.
This is a challenging film, as it should be! There are many subtleties to the motivations of the characters. In particularly, there is a fight that moves from gunplay to fisticuffs that Gosling's character of "K" takes part in which I'm not entirely sure I understand the cause for, but I also don't see any clear break in logic to it, either. There are a great deal of elements to this work which are fine-tuned to evoke thought and contemplation. This is, again, in line with Kubrick's priorities and works.
In some ways, this movie reminds me of Logan (2017). Naturally, Blade Runner 2049 was in production before that film was even released, so I would say it's more a matter of both of them tapping into some very classic themes; themes which seem to be very resonant at this moment.
Nothing bad can be said about any of the dramatic talent. Everyone is the definition of pitch-perfect. The set work and special effects are all breathtaking. The music was for me almost 100% perfect and amazing, but the very loud and harsh "waahhh-ohhh" synth noises in "Sea Wall" (the music during the lead-up to the final confrontation) and reprised in the end credits music "Blade Runner" were not to my taste. They are anxiety-inducing with their timbre and tonality (probably intended) and also bring bad dubstep to mind, so this was an unfortunate negative piece for me. If they were a little different, it probably would have been much more welcome to me. As much as I dislike it, though, I can't imagine lowering the grade on an otherwise perfect film for a musical element that's only in the movie for not even a minute total split between two instances.
Blade Runner 2049 possesses depth and integrality of meaning and emotion the equal of its predecessor, the original Blade Runner. It is a captivating and powerfully moving work of highest art, of the kind that is so very badly needed today. It is my most fervent wish that any further entry in this story maintains this level of excellence. To mar the existing works with a sequel that is anything less would be a crime.