Monday, October 26, 2009

My 3-star review of Ghost in the Shell 2.0 from

I'm going to break this review down into two parts.

The movie itself:
This is Ghost In The Shell in HD. It's beautiful, but for a smoother translation into the look of Innocence the greenish colors of the original film have been touched up and made to be more of an amber color like that seen in second film. This isn't really a change that I mind, and it's pulled off fairly well. I assume that several scenes were cleaned up digitally because the line art looks amazingly clean.

Sadly, someone felt it would be appropriate to replace some of the most iconic and stunning animation from the original with CG. A few scenes are done well like those where the CG is only helicopters or buildings, but whenever it replaces characters with crappy looking CG models it becomes stunningly bad. If you watch the making of the original movie you can see that their limited use of computer assisted animation was carefully planned and fit in with the other artwork and improved the film. The CG in 2.0 sticks out like a sore thumb in most cases. The only CG part that I liked was the pan over the cityscape at the end of the film.

If you have a bluray player and haven't seen GitS yet 2.0 isn't a bad way to see it, but fans of the original will probably be disappointed with the lack of any significant changes and the quality of what was changed.

The bluray by Manga:

Somehow Manga Entertainment never ceases to screw something pretty major up on their releases. The box lists a commentary with Oshii, an interview with Oshii and a making of GitS 2.0. None of these features are present on the bluray. You get throw away character profiles, glossary, and the old english trailer. The original making of GitS is here in VHS quality along with the unlisted bonus feature of the original cut of the movie. When I heard that I was pretty excited because in all honesty it's the only version I truly care about, but it looks to be taken from non-HD masters and only includes 2.0 audio tracks. If memory serves me correctly I believe that my GitS DVD looks better upscaled than this version does.

It would have been nice to do a re-dub of the film with the SAC cast, but I guess most of them were in the original anyway and it's a nice dub in it's own right.

This whole release just makes me want the original film untouched in HD. I can't give this less than three stars if only because seeing this movie this way is better than not seeing it at all because it's a one of my favorite films ever, but be aware of the problems with this release before deciding to buy it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My review of Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

Neon Genesis Evangelion was the show that got me into anime back in 1998. Love it or hate it it's impact on modern anime is undeniable. I have written this mini review for people familiar with the 1995 tv show. At some point I'll do a write up on the tv series. If you're new to the franchise and want to check out this movie first keep in mind that this is only the beginning in a series of four movies which will be released over the next few years. The clearly dated animation of the 1995 show has obviously been updated and widescreened. Lots of shots are reused from the tv show, but there's enough new material that you don't feel it's a waste of time. The battle with Ramiel (diamond shaped angel) is completely redone and made both more realistic and several times more intense. The extra detail put into backgrounds of some scenes adds a lot to the setting also. I didn't mind the added CG at all.

The Evas and Angels make fucking terrifying roars and screams. Both of them sound more alive then they ever did in the tv show. When Unit 01 is stabbing Sachiel's core with it's own rib it's making some freaky sounds. It sure made my skin crawl. The violence level has been turned up due to there not being any television restrictions. When angels are destroyed they gush oceans of blood all over the buildings of Tokyo-3. It's quite beautiful. And for everyone that's wanted to see more of them this movie is packed with Rei's thirteen year old nipples. Sure, she doesn't look like a thirteen year old, but I still don't know about that.

I think condensing the first 6 episodes has made some very positive changes. Shinji is the same. Don't expect anything different there, but the pace that everything happens in the show makes his world seem far more harsh than the tv show. Happy fun time hijinks is almost totally eliminated. The Hedgehog's Dilemma episode is shortened and made less awkward. It still gets the point across, but you miss out on some character interaction between Kensuke and Shinji. It should go without saying, but panning over still backgrounds isn't a problem in this version. The condensing does create some problems, though.

The scene where Penpen is introduced is exactly the same. I don't have a problem with it in the context of the tv show, but it seems somewhat weird here. If it would have been changed it might have pissed off fans, but leaving the silliness out might have done the new movies a favor.

Some of my favorite scenes are missing. Both "the Eva is alive" scenes from the first two episodes are gone. No protecting Shinji and no eyeball scene. It's almost like the characters already know that the evangelions aren't normal robots.

Many of the tracks are so similar to the original, but seem slightly different. It's like the music is very close to the original, but just far enough off to bother you sometimes. If you've been a fan of the tv show you'll find yourself kinda wondering what they were thinking with some of the choices. Silence is used in the "Wow, it's a real geofront!" scene perhaps thinking the track would have more impact only being used in the scene where the buildings rise. Overall the new soundtrack is very good. I love listening to the OST, but I don't feel like the put it to use perfectly in the film.

I almost forgot about the product placement. It wasn't as bad as I imagined it being. I remember quite the uproar about OMGZ EVERYONES EATING DORITOS AND PIZZA HUT!!!! It's there, but it probably only sticks out because they are both American products with english names and logos. I don't care for this practice, but I don't feel like it hurt the film.

I've always been a huge fan of the original tv show. The whole time I was watching this I was wondering how it would hold up if this movie was seen first. I can't really say because obviously these characters already exist in my mind so any shortcomings in character development were hard to notice. There are some significant plot changes. If it weren't for those I'd say you could almost watch this in place of the tv's first 6 episodes and still follow the series. However, the trailer at the end for the second movie looks looks to be totally different from the tv show. I'm really looking forward to see what else they do with this project.

Youtube Trailer

The song in the trailer is by Hikaru Utada called Beautiful World.

Welcome to my anime / manga blog!

I need an output for my fandom so I've decided to start this journal. I'm no professional writer so I apologize in advance for my lack of writing skillz. I'll be trying to do one entry per week and maybe little blurbs between about stuff I'm currently watching / reading. Please enjoy and leave comments!