The next installment in the Appleseed franchise Appleseed: Ex Machinaavailable on DVD! Produced by John Woo and Directed by Shinji Aramakiand featuring next generation CG technology Appleseed: Ex Machina isback bigger and ... more »badder!Based on the manga from reknown creator Shirow Masamune in this movieDeunan and Briareos are both partners and lovers. As members of ESWATthe elite forces serving Olympus they are deployed everywhere troublestrikes. The two fighters find their partnership tested in a new way bythe arrival of Tereus who uncannily resembles Briareos before thewartime injuries that led to his becoming a cyborg. At the same timeOlympus finds itself under a stealth attack . Cyborg terrorism deadlynanotech zealots and rioting citizens are just some of the threats thatDeunan must contend with as she fights to save Olympus.System Requirements:Running Time: 104 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: SCI-FI/FANTASY/FANTASY Rating: PG-13 UPC: 085391200642 Manufacturer No: 120064« less
"The visuals are nothing short of stunning, especially in HD. It's worth the download just to check out how beautifully the cg animation is rendered. The action scenes are tight, with Matrix-esque slow motion shots, crazy camera angles and an emphasis on heavy gun play, indicative of producer John Woo's style. One drawback on the cg animation though is that when characters interact with each other physically it seems awkward. They don't feel like they are touching. I imagine that when you make something with animation like that you'd run into clipping issues when the characters intereact heavily. In fact, it reminded me of cut scenes from Eternal Sonata, a video game using similar animation techniques but on a bigger scale obviously.
The story is an upgrade from the first movie, although the main antagonist borrows heavily from classic Star Trek villain, the Borg. There's even a Borg like cube of sorts that serves as it's foundation. The subplot consists of a triangle between Deunan, Briareos (the main protagonists from the first movie) and Tereus, a biroid created mostly from Briareos's DNA who becomes Deunan's new partner after her lover falls in battle.
If I were to make a criticism I'd say that the main antagonist was revealed a tad too late, making the final resolution a little anti-climactic. At a runtime of about an hour and 40 minutes I felt like another 20 minutes would have been justified. When it was over, I couldn't quite believe it at first. Also, and this may be a good thing, events from the first movie go almost completely without mention. This means that you won't have to have seen the first one to appreciate this, but at the same time there is a lack of continuity for those that did.
All in all though, it's a good film and worth a watch."
Better Than The First? Yes and No
W. Scott Heitman | Gainesville, Fl United States | 04/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first Appleseed film (from 2004) was quite a treat. The cell-shaded CG graphics looked very good for the time. Complementing this obvious standout aspect was an intriguing story and an excellent soundtrack. It's worth noting that the story, in particular, felt like a genuinely original re-animation of sci-fi concepts.
Fast forward to today and we have the sequel, Ex Machina. It's pretty simple to separate what works and doesn't in Machina:
GRAPHICS: The level of detail in the graphics has improved dramatically, and characters look less like geometric objects with textures painted on and more like genuine people. The cityscapes are even more impressive. Furthermore, the action is more frequent and looks even slicker.
My two gripes with the visuals are these: First, in what is all too common in action movies like this, the best scene is the first one. Hands down. I don't understand why so many directors feel the need to frontload their movies. I will say that the movie is less guilty of this than its predecessor. Second, movement outside of action scenes still looks a bit jerky. Some might fault mo-cap technology, but for my money, Final Fantasy: Advent Children boasted some mighty believable movement.
STORY/WRITING: Here's where Ex Machina falls apart. The story here isn't anything you haven't seen executed better in anime/other entertainment. Compared to the plot of the first movie- which created a unique sci-fi framework, this one felt like a filler episode. The villain was cliche, the story far less complex/meaningful than the first, and any intrigue or mystery the story might yet have held was ruined by the horrible writing. The film tasks itself with letting the viewer in on a number of concepts necessary to the plot, but rather than integrate them seamlessly into the dialog, it bashes the viewer over the head with them.
MUSIC: The soundtrack wasn't bad- I just didn't notice it most of the time. This constitutes a slight letdown considering how often I return to the soundtrack from the first movie.
OVERALL: Ex Machina is a sight to behold and warrants a blu-ray purchase. Just don't expect it to expand much on the ideas introduced in the first Appleseed."
You're my partner, no matter what happens
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 03/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the more underdeveloped storylines from "Appleseed" was the relationship between Deunan Knute and her cyborg love, Briareos.
Well, "Appleseed Ex Machina" more than makes up for that. In fact, this CGI action flick boasts upgrades in every area -- a tighter plot, more complex conspiracies, and more lifelike animation. It's a stunning experience with loads of fiery, spinning action scenes, albeit with a slightly improbable villain.
Olympus has a new threat -- brainwashed cyborgs that are kidnapping officials, and disrupting planetary peace. During a rescue mission, Briareos is injured and hospitalized for awhile -- and Deunan introduced to her new partner Tereus -- a warrior bioroid cloned from Briareos' DNA. She's furious, Briareos is depressed, and all three are confused by Tereus' similarities to Briareos.
But when President Athena calls an international conference, E-SWAT only narrowly stops an attack force -- of cyborgs and ordinary humans who have somehow been possessed by a mechanical goo. Their message: "I am Halcon... all will be one." And worst of all, Briareos is somehow being affected by the baddies, so he decides to do some investigating on his own. Now Deunan, Briareos and Tereus must join forces despite their tension, and stop a malevolent conspiracy that threatens the entire world....
While the first "Appleseed" movie had a rather simple plot, "Appleseed Ex Machina" tends toward complexity. Everything is bigger -- the conspiracies, the mad scientist stuff, the potential warfare, and even the love story. And despite its fuller plot, the sequel actually manages to cram in some quiet moments between robot battles and personal scuffles.
Director Shinji Aramaki does a pretty good job with a pretty good plot -- he unrolls it gradually, filling it with tension and horror at all the right moments. It kicks off strongly with an explosive, fire-and-darkness battle in an abandoned cathedral, and doesn't slow much down. Lots of explosive battles and zombiesque attacks, but not so many that it overwhelms the storyline.
Along the way, Aramaki drops in some very "human" scenes, such as a funeral and Hitomi's glammy birthday party. In fact, there are even some funny, cute moments such as Briareos and Deunan tussling over some monitoring wires in the hospital. These moments keep them acting like people.
What's the problem? Well, while Aramaki succeeds in surprising us with the main villain, it's revealed rather late in the movie, and there's never much of a motive.
But the CG animation is stunning. There's everything from mid-air shootouts to serpentine silver tentacles. Even the settlings are striking, with their Greco-futuristic marble, columns and sci-fi gadgets. And there's a breathtaking level of detail -- reflections, light, raindrops on Briareos' metal face, and tiny facial chances. Some character still have "doll face," but not as much.
But this movie gets its heart from the love triangle, which is thankfully handled in a mature manner. Deunan and Briareos' loving, intense relationship gets plenty of cute moments, despite the confusion that Tereus causes them. And Tereus is a well-drawn rival, with a lot of Briareos' rough kindness, but also the insecurities of being a "copy."
And Aramaki particularly concentrates on Briareos' fears that Deunan will prefer a flesh-and-blood lover, and that he is gradually losing his sanity. There's an undercurrent of raw pain when he screams at Tereus, "why do you have everything I've lost?"
"Appleseed Ex Machina" is a worthy sequel that actually tops the preceding film -- a stunning CGI shell around a solid sci-fi/love story. Definitely worth checking out."
3 ½ - Stars: Pure Popcorn Entertainment, NOTa Slice of Compl
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 03/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Appleseed Ex Machina is a sequel to 2004's Appleseed; produced by John Woo and directed by Shinji Aramaki, the duo comes with an entertaining futuristic thriller adapted from the manga by Shirow Masamune (Ghost in the Shell). The revolutionary CGI animation is astonishing, combined with awesome action sequences reminiscent of John Woo movies, Appleseed Ex Machina looks very promising. Thankfully, you do not need to see the 2004 film to appreciate and comprehend this new film's premise. The plot itself lacks depth, it is so predictable that everything is laid out for the viewer; this animated feature is more about CGI and action than anything else. It definitely feels to be geared to international audiences than to Shirow's native land.
The year is 2133, civilization is recovering from the global war that almost devastated the world. Utopian cities are on the rise, technological advancements are dominating the world and humans have a fresh new attitude to match their new surroundings. Cyborgs are very common, machine parts are used to replace severed limbs and body parts. Bioroids are being cloned from humans to use as soldiers that lack human emotion and violent tendencies that often get humanity in trouble. Quoted as " incapable of hate and anger, will only fight and kill when absolutely necessary..." or are they? The passive bioroids are intended to keep order so that the world can maintain the peace without the hostile influences of hatred and rage. Special forces specialist Deunan and Briareos are partners from the days that Briareos was human. Briareos is a special case, since he is the only human being who managed to survive being 100% cyborg without going insane. When Briareos was injured (or damaged), he becomes replaced by Tereus, a bioroid cloned from his human DNA. When an unknown enemy plans a stealth attack by reducing common folk into technological zombies who turn the city into a war zone, the trio must settle their differences to quell this threat.
Appleseed isn't as bad as I first thought it would be. Renowned action scribe John Woo definitely showed his hand with most (not all) of the action sequences. The action is visually stylish and definitely looks cool. Woo's usual gimmicks are omnipresent in the proceedings; bike stunts, stylish bullet ballet and helter skelter action sequences are what's in store for the viewer. "Ex machina" also has the same mecha action in its previous installment. The film definitely feels like it is geared towards an specific audience and therefore lost some of the atmosphere and depth that contemporary sci-fi anime has been known for. "Ex Machina" is about the action, it is a straightforward film with one-dimensional antagonists with motivations completely predictable and something that has been done through the years.
The emotional aspect of Deunan and Briareos' relationship is quite interesting and serves as the film's main premise. Despite the fact that Deunan has kept her humanity and Briareos has lost 85% of his body, their commitment and love for each other remains strong. However, their relationship is thrown into a loop when Tereus gets into the mix, since he is a clone from Briareos human DNA. Yes, there is a bit of a sappy love triangle here that has the same elements that we've all seen before.
The animation is quite good. The film sidesteps the usual anime style and effectively combines modern and contemporary anime. The backdrops are astounding and definitely catches the architecture of the future. The characters look almost photorealistic without the usual "over expressive, super fair complexioned characters. Deunan is rendered to look like a lethal but sexy woman, with the designer, Prada taking a hand in one of her outfits. The graphics are definitely an improvement over the 2004 film, but still falls short to the quality of "Final Fantasy Advent Children" and "Biohazard:Degeneration".
Appleseed Ex Machina is overall a success I suppose. Fans of the 2004 film will definitely appreciate this sequel and newer fans will be impressed. I'm not saying that this film should be your first experience with anime, there are definitely more worthy titles than this film. This film is more about entertainment and not the usual philosophical and existential fare that contemporary Japanese Anime has been famous for. It fell into the usual plot holes and predictability that is so reminiscent of animated films geared for a younger audience. It is a popcorn movie more than anything else. APPLESEED Ex MACHINA is good but NOT essential. Recommended timidly, rent it first. [3 ½ - Stars] I considered the fact that the entertainment value is extremely high for this film, and rated it slightly lower than "Vexille". "Vexille"Vexille - Movie had more of an intricate plot while "Ex Machina" is slightly better in animation.
The Future of HD Anime
Francisco Franco | 03/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a cool flick, much better than Appleseed 2004. Great actions sequences it has John Woo written all over it. It even has some scenes from the Matrix trilogy. See it in HD my friends, beautiful vivid picture."