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Origin: Spirits of the Past (Special Edition) [Blu-ray]
Origin Spirits of the Past
Special Edition
Actors: Carrie Savage, Chris Patton, John Burgmeier
Director: Christopher Bevins;Taliesin Jaffe
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
NR     2009     1hr 30min

The rebirth of the past from the ashes of the future ....A young boy named Agito enters a forbidden sanctuary where a glowing machine resides. This machine preserves a young girl named Toola, who has a mission entrusted by...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Carrie Savage, Chris Patton, John Burgmeier
Director: Christopher Bevins;Taliesin Jaffe
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Love & Romance, Animation, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Funimation
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/23/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Japanese, English
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Movie Reviews

Unoriginal, but visually stunning
Princess Alice | Neverland | 01/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"If a flying fortress, technology from the past, a hero with possessed powers, and a moral struggle with nature and humankind sound familiar, it's because they've all been done before. Origin doesn't add much to the pot in these areas, featuring rather depthless characters and a plot with less twists than Interstate 40. It borrows heavily from Ghibli greats (Nausicaa, Castle in the Sky, Mononoke), but lacks the charm and conviction of these films. Still, Origin will likely win its share of fans thanks to the visual adventure and immersive backgrounds. If characters and plot aren't an issue, and you just want to be entertained, the eye candy that is Origin may be for you."
Nikki | Boise, Idaho | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm getting rather sick of reading reviews criticizing this movie on the basis of its perceived lack of originality in the storyline department. When did people stop enjoying classic plots and themes? Remember fairy-tales, folktales, sitting around campfires listening to stories you already knew but relished nevertheless? This movie is simply wonderful -- stunningly gorgeous visuals, classic characters and plotlines, archetypal themes, all skillfully and impressively executed. If you enjoy these things and don't expect every film you watch to be the absolute pinnacle of originality and complexity -- in other words, if you still have a part of you that delights in simple joys and wonder -- then you will probably adore this movie.

I also think many viewers are missing a crucial plot point, which may have been too subtle for its own good. Read on only if you don't want a -

A major crux of the story is that when Agito's body has been absorbed by the tree, but his consciousness is intact on another plane, the Forest reveals to him the truth about the relationship between itself and the humans. Agito learns that the genetic admixture that gives humans extraordinary strength and eventually turns them into trees is really a two-way exchange; it also changes trees in the Forest, causing them to give birth to new humans in giant fruits. These new humans appear to be a stable product of the combined genetic material of plant and human. The Forest, seeing that Agito can possibly teach humanity that there is no need for either hostility or separation between themselves and the trees, grants him his human form back. The point here is that even the "Neutrals" are not truly living harmoniously with the forest; they still hold themselves apart, trying to preserve that which is in an inevitable process of transformation. Hence the veiled, cautious passive-aggression between the Forest and Neutral City, whose denizens do not understand that their days are numbered and that the strange little nymph-like creatures who speak for the Forest truly represent the future of humanity."
Really enjoyed this one
S. Cronin | Hendersonville, NC USA | 06/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"reading the mediocre reviews here at amazon for this anime really had me questioning my purchase, but i am glad to say i really enjoyed my 'origin' experience. i just didn't watch it thinking "well...this has all been done before" was more like "ahhh that's really cool and a creative way at looking at the future", and the 'feel' of the film is very nice. sorta laid back with no outragous child-tantrum moments most anime's seem to be plagued with. english voice acting was great, music was great, the whole thing was just great and really really well drawn. very vibrant and clean colors, textures were excellent. i don't regret this purchase at all."
Plants are good... believe it, OR ELSE
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 05/08/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It's easy to get blown away in the first few minutes of "Origin: Spirits of the Past," where we're treated to exquisitely creepy celestial visuals and a gorgeous theme song.

It's also a suitable lead-in for this beautifully animated movie about a not-so-distant future in which human civilization lies in dystopic ruins, and a vast sentient forest has taken control. The animation is stunningly lush and complex, and the lone-hero rescuer story is surprisingly moving... and it almost makes up for the fact that the eco-friendly plot makes absolutely no logical sense.

When a young boy named Agito stumbles on an underground chamber, he finds a girl cryogenically preserved for the past three hundred years. Toola is understandably upset by this -- and since she has an electronic neck device, her presence angers the Forest, who fear that she might be used by the militaristic land of Ragna. Of course, the Ragnan leader Shunack -- another survivor from three hundred years ago -- turns up to persuade her.

It turns out that Shunack wants to use E.S.T.O.C., a mysterious device that will return the world to the way it once was, and Toola rather understandably decides to help him. Agito's only hope for stopping them -- and keeping the forest safe -- is to undergo "enhancement" that genetically bonds him to the Forest's trees. But even that might not stop the might of Ragna's armies... and stuff, especially since Shunack is also "enhanced."

"Origin: Spirits of the Past" is a gorgeous film -- the animation is lushly-drawn and full of ruined buildings, vines, shimmering glades, great writhing vines and vast moving mountains full of weapons. Some of the more chilling images (such as Agito's dad slowly turning into a tree, or the seeming loss of Toola in a burning train) are exquisitely haunting, all the more so because they aren't played for horror. It is, simply put, a gorgeous piece of work.

It also comes up with an intriguing and slightly eerie concept for a sci-fi movie -- that plants engineered to withstand extraterrestrial life would mutate and become the dominant force on Earth, changing themselves even as they become integrated by humanity. The ruinous dystopia that results is both beautiful and disturbing.

The problem is, the plot makes no sense: presumably the whole living-in-harmony-with-Forest thing is symbolic of living in harmony with nature. But since the Forest was mutated by humans, wrecked the world, genetically altered the survivors and keeps civilization in a stagnant stranglehold, it's about as unnatural as you can get. And the alleged bad guys just want to switch the world back to its pre-mutant-plant state when man and nature were in balance... meaning that the Designated Anti-Nature Bad Guy is actually the Pro-Nature Good Guy.

Evidently, logic need not apply. Even director Keiichi Sugiyama belatedly seems to realize this, so he throws a rather random "villains will destroy a town" twist into the mix to the bad guy will really seem, y'know, bad. It doesn't quite work.

Additionally, Toola and Shunack are the most likable characters in the mix -- Toola is understandably miserable and freaked by the loss of the world she once knew, and the people with it. And while Shunack has made his place in this remade world and gotten a position of power, he's wracked by guilt over his part in the Forest's rise. Agito is a pleasant little hero who goes to extreme lengths, but he seems rather bland by comparison.

"Origin: Spirits of the Past" is a gorgeous piece of animation with a hauntingly sober backdrop, but the actual plot about the Forest makes no sense at all. Enjoy for the copious eye candy, but don't expect deep stuff here."