RENAISSANCE is a breakthrough sci-fi thriller for a new millennium. Dare to enter a bold vision of the future in the tradition of BLADE RUNNER and SIN CITY - drenched with state-of-the art animation and a gripping story. I... more »t's 2054 Paris and the city lives in the shadow of corporate giant, Avalon, which sells the irresistible promise of "ageless beauty." The sudden kidnapping of a gifted young scientist draws a tough-as-nails cop into a twisted underworld of corporate espionage, genetic research and organized crime. Featuring the stellar voice talents of Daniel Craig (CASINO ROYALE), Jonathan Pryce (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN Trilogy) and Ian Holm (THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy).« less
David M. (KingofGarageSales) from FAYETTEVILLE, AR Reviewed on 3/8/2014...
Maybe this information was given somewhere and I didn't notice it, or its significance didn't register, but this is an ANIMATED film--there are no humans in it (not even any interacting with CGI characters as in "Roger Rabbit")--and when the listing says "black and white" that means NO SHADES OF GREY.
A "black and white" TV show from the '50s was actually a "half-toned" image made of tiny black dots; the shade of grey was determined by how far apart the dots were. Don't expect that kind of "black and white" image here: The figures and background in Renaissance are a jarring stark white clashing with jet black, with no shades of grey to give the perspective of distance or time of day, or distinguish a character's arm from the desk it's resting on. Twenty minutes of it was all I could stand.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Nina E. Reviewed on 7/30/2011...
This movie is "Sin City" esq. I'm a huge fan of Daniel Craig, and this movie satisfies...it's not a everyday run of the mill movie..it will hold your attention. If you liked Sin City and a fan of Art House...get this you will want to watch this many times...there is a lot going on. It is sexy...has the spy/espionage thrill and is an artistic masterpiece.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
David W. from SCHOFIELD, WI Reviewed on 10/1/2010...
Wow, this is an animated masterpiece!. Incredibly done in a glorious black and white fashion, simply breathtaking.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Joseph M. (RoboticJoe) from TOLEDO, OH Reviewed on 2/16/2010...
Great freaking movie, story, animations and non-animations included. It was very well written and I would reccomend to any cyber-punk nior cult classic (rivethead geek) who loves a rad sci-fiction movie like this.!.!. ~ RoboticJoe
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
Great style and flair, with somewhat poor narrative structure. Very intriguing animation, which occasionally looks to video game-ish, but works overall. The dramatic voice performances do not always equally match the limp facial performances.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jason C. (JJC) from NEWARK, NJ Reviewed on 1/18/2008...
A landmark animated achievement. Variety stated: "Take 'Metropolis', 'Blade Runner' and 'Sin City'...and you'll have a semblance of 'Renaissance'." They couldn't be more on the money.
In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Casting a shadow over everything, is the city's largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export: youth and beauty.
When Ilona Tassueiv (Romola Garai), a young and brilliant researcher at Avalon is violently kidnapped, her employers want her found at any cost. Dellenbach (Jonathan Pryce), Avalon's CEO, has requested that Officer Bartholomew Karas (Daniel Craig), a hostage retrieval specialist and the most controversial cop in the force, be in charge of the case. As Karas treks on this complicated case, he realizes that this kidnapping goes far deeper than anything he's been involved in his impressive and serious career.
"Renaissance" is an animated masterpiece. Incredibly done in a glorious black and white fashion, simply breathtaking. Newcomer Christian Volckman is someone we need to watch out for...he has only just begun.
Sure-fire brilliance, and a new stepping stone in animation.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Truly Difficult Film To Judge
W. Scott Heitman | Gainesville, Fl United States | 07/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Renaissance is one of a very short list of non-japanese adult-oriented (computer) animated films. As such, it wins point from me just for being daring. In our western culture, animation is supposed to be for children.
Add to that the artful restriction of the color palette to just the strictest hues of black and white. Throughout the course of the entire movie, what the audience sees consists entirely of shadows. Combine that with the visual style of a neo-noir future, and you have a stunning film to watch.
On top of beautiful visuals, the film sports a haunting score. Each cue seemed to suggest that yet another mystery would surface around the next corner.
The problem is this: If the film had been shot as a live-action movie, there would be nothing remarkable about it. Daniel Craig feels slightly miscast here, and you've seen the plot a million times. Worse, some of the writing is so bad that it breaks the spell that the visuals are attempting to weave.
I could have given Renaissance three stars to compromise between the beautiful visuals and the mediocre story/writing, but I think that would give the wrong impression. Ultimately, there's some real visual poetry here, and I intend to buy the dvd. Just don't expect a great story to boot."
Visually stunning... so where's the extras?
Cubist | United States | 07/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Renaissance is an animated film made in the tradition of Sin City and A Scanner Darkly. Like the former film, it was initially shot with live actors on a green-screen soundstage and then this footage was animated like the latter film. The result is a striking-looking futuristic world in the Cyberpunk mould.
The look of Renaissance is classic Cyberpunk: a fusion of high-technology and the grimy, run-down look of the mean city streets - a mix of Mickey Spillane and science fiction. This is one of those rare animated films made for adults with a style that is reminiscent of Frank Miller's Sin City graphic novels and also looks like it leapt right from the pages of Heavy Metal magazine. The stark use of black and white with no shadings of gray creates a very distinctive look. The attention to detail is also incredible - a vivid, atmospheric world that instantly envelopes you.
Much like the society depicted in Blade Runner, the higher up one goes - both literally and financially - the look becomes cleaner and more futuristic, reflecting the money being spent and the power being wielded, and this is epitomized by sleek, ultra-modern look of Avalon. As Renaissance unspools, the viewer is bombarded with one evocative image after another. For example, a gun battle takes place in a small forest encased in glass on top of a building.
The lone extra is "The Making of Renaissance" examines this French production whose origins lie in a short film made in 1997 that fused animation with live-action footage. The filmmakers picked Paris because so many SF films they admired were set either in New York City or Tokyo and wanted to try something different. This featurette traces the film's development from the screenwriting stage to post-production. Not surprisingly, they cite Blade Runner and the crime novels of James Ellroy as the primary influences."
Blade Runner collides with Metropolis and then collides with
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 05/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I managed to see the U.K. import and I have to say this animated film has so much potential, although it came up a bit short, it is still better than most of the live-action movies out today.
RENAISSANCE:Paris 2054(Original title) is animated in Black and White, reminiscient of the Frank Miller's Sin City, much of its style is derived from the graphic novels that inspired the blockbuster film.
Set in the future, Paris in the year 2054, the city is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. AVALON, the largest company in the country, casts a shadow over everything. Avalon insinuates itself in the everyday aspect of contemporary life, to sell it's primary deal: Youth and Beauty. When a young researcher from Avalon named Ilona Tassueiv, is violently kidnapped, her employers want her found at any cost. Dellenbach, Avalon's CEO, enlists the aid of one Officer Karas(voiced by Daniel Craig), a hostage retrieval specialist and also a very controversial cop in the force, to find the missing invaluable employee. What Karas discovers is a huge web of deception, that involves not only Ilona's sister, but the higher powers as well. Officer Karas discovers something sinister within the walls of Avalon, a hidden secret that will test not only his commitment to duty, but his very fiber of morality as well. Avalon's goals for profit is an abomination. It kind of makes you wonder what big corporations can be capable of, just to meet their bottom line.
This animated feature has highly stylized visuals, although, to be honest, in my opinion, it would achieved more if it was made in Color. Although, it tries to be something different, Futuristic Science Fiction should be shot in Full color nowadays. I just had a hard time trying to contemplate how the visuals would look so much better in radiant colors, especially the chase scenes on glass floors. Granted, the black/white visuals set a certain moody and serious atmosphere, and I'm sure that is what the director intended, but I found it a bit lacking. After all, colored features can BETTER set a dark and moody atmosphere; great examples are "GHOST IN THE SHELL" and "Perfect Blue". The Black & White approach feels more like a "gimmick" than as an essential "style" that's part of the film--It felt like a short-cut to achieve attention. Perhaps I'm just so used to beautifully colored animation(I've seen a lot).
PICTURE: ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN(aspect ratio 2:35)Although shot in B&W, the transfer is clean. I saw a few areas of edge enhancements, some areas were too dark and lacking detail. AUDIO: 5.1 Dolby Digital English, I didn't check out the French track. The sound is crisp and deep. The 5 channels of audio was not lacking at all. Features: Making of Documentary/Maaz short film(didn't check it out yet)/character & production galleries.
This Animated feature is not for kids. Watch this when they are asleep. There is some nudity and sex, perhaps this is also one of reasons why it isn't in full color. The story itself is for adults, something kids wouldn't really understand. The plot is about greed, honor, morality and above all, vanity. Although I am not particularly very moved with this film, it is still an escape from the family oriented animated features being made these days.
***1/2- RECOMMENDED for people who want to see something different, visually speaking. RENAISSANCE is still a clever attempt at something wholly original, it has the makings of a cult-classic. Don't be surprised if this style evolves.
WOW! engaging and deliberate film.
Zebrashoji | Tokyo, Japan | 04/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging and deliberate film. (I am not a fan of comic books, manga, anime or art films) I saw the film on a small screen - only approx. 30 feet and with all of the absolutely stunning set designs I think a bigger screen is a must. The futuristic city of Paris blends the old elaborate architecture we all admire with fantastically ultra modern additions that echo Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and The Jetsons. I dreaded having to watch a feature length film in 3D black and white - but it totally worked for me. I had to focus a little more than usual as the lack of color and comic book appearance challenged my normal perception of action and life on film. The film is literally black and white with very little grayscale. (I recall one scene where I actually noticed a girl's left eye had a hint of grey!) The 3-D characters are more comic book style and I found them a lot less distracting than the real-life-like characters in Final Fantasy. The lip synch was fine and the original language is English (not French). The story moved at a moderate pace which I appreciated as it was not easy to digest two toned action. It was an interesting experience to realize that I can watch faster in color or B/W with grey scale! The dialogue was tight and well written (and delivered with panache by the whole cast including the very sexy voice of Daniel Craig) and none of the lame commentary that Hollywood movies often excel in. The last line of the movie spoken by a girl in a TV ad was an excellent finish and the best movie ending I have seen for years - not just what she said but how she said it (sorry - no spoilers here). The script had no gratuitous sex, violence or bad language. Every expletive was well earned, every breast had its pert place and the violence was impactful, graceful at times and fleeting - as in not so graphic that it stays with you in nightmares. The story unfolds as an interesting enough tough guy helps girl find kidnapped sister. The unique visual, sci-fi elements (ubiquitous transparent data screens that flip out from a smaller than palm sized gadget) and way cool set designs (transparent floors spanning huge pedestrian areas) help differentiate the common action plot - then the story develops into an intrigue surrounding Avalon - an evil and powerful corporation preaching beauty and youth that will do anything to get their hands on ... a sudden twist in the plot ... and it is only at the end of the movie where you are confronted with life or death. The issue of immortality will stick with you. This is not only an excellent film but a unique experience so I can highly recommend this movie on the big screen in a theatre with no distractions - and to view it in one sitting. It is so visually unique that to take even a small break in viewing will shatter the atmosphere and interrupt your momentum of perception in a black and white world (and ruin the impact of the splash of color that appears momentarily in the middle of the film). The director Christian Volckman was brilliant - not pretentious or arty but constantly cool, creative and engaging and never distracting. The action scenes were riveting and edgy. I will absolutely buy the DVD."
A really curious mix
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 01/27/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"On one hand what you see in this animated film is truly impressive. The visuals were, all too clearly, developed with tremendous attention to detail and as well with terrific imaginative power. Using almost exclusively black and white--no in-between tones--the filmmakers have crafted a future Paris, France that glues the viewer to the screen with almost every frame.
It's easy to see that, as the same filmmakers make mention in the "Making of" featurette included here, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner was an obvious influence, as was Frank Miller's work--Sin City and otherwise. Unhappily, however, Renaissance does not offer anything startlingly original plot-wise, instead opting for characters, dialogue, and plot points straight out of 1980s-style SF noir work (novels and movies both). Thus we have the aging scientist (actually, two of them); the stalwart cop; the young damsel in distress (again, two of them instead of one); the cop's helpful (and really rich) childhood pal; the evil corporate tycoon; etc., etc.
The scientific premise of longevity is a good one here, but never developed at all; it's basically just mentioned and that's about it. For an SF movie to have real chops there should be enough attention to the hard science so that the audience can really dig into the rationale for the movie in the first place. In Blade Runner, the scientific rationale is, Where does one differentiate between human life and machine life? and the various connections made between the characters and their own relationship to this premise are strong and compelling--right from the first incidence of the Brion James character taking the Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test to the Rutger Hauer character's sadness-filled monologue closer to the end of the movie.
Longevity is a tremendously compelling concept, currently teetering on the brink of becoming a reality--at least to a certain extent. Because of its powerful contemporary relevance, it's all the more disappointing that Renaissance did not plumb the depths of this intriguing subject, instead choosing to superficially skirt around the tips of its edges. With much more attention to this subject, Renaissance would have been a true classic. As it is, it's an interesting but decidedly flawed attempt at something new in the realm of SF noir."