Posted by psgels on 23 February 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews

Now that the Appleseed TV-series is about to air in about a month, it seemed to me a good idea to take a look at a few of the movies that were released earlier. This particular review is about the one released in 2004, also completely done in 3D CG. My overall impression: it’s got nice ideas, but the TV-series is going to have to try harder than in this thing. The 2004 Appleseed Movie has good action, excellent architecture and mecha designs and a very solid and imaginative back-story, but the story and the characters couldn’t catch my attention.

One of the problems I have with this movie is a problem I have with a lot of other 3D movies: the botox faces. Especially considering how this was made in 2004, the characters just look like plastic dolls and have a hard time expressing themselves. This especially hurts the movie during the dramatic parts, where characters who are intended to look angry or sad just look silly. And beyond that, the characterization isn’t really impressive. Most of the characters are completely one-dimensional, and none of the main characters are particularly interesting to watch.

I see this movie as wasted potential. Here we have this interesting premise about humans versus clones, and this movie also has a few long strings of exposition, meant to flesh this setting out (and it does so quite effectively), only to switch back to a generic action movie plot afterwards. The way in which this movie plays out is surprisingly shallow: the villains are flimsy and have back-stories that just seem to be there to get to some good action, and the drama between the main characters is uninspired and has unlike the setting nothing interesting about it.

Overall, Appleseed 2004 is unbalanced. If the upcoming TV-series comes with a good plot and takes its time to flesh out the characters though, then it can get pretty good. The setting here has definite potential. this movie just didn’t use it.

Storytelling: 7/10 – The action is good, the exposition is good. They just don’t mesh together and this is not helped by a very standard and uninspired action movie plot.
Characters: 6/10 – Static and mostly one-dimensional.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Botox faces (seriously, there’s a reason why the screenshots don’t contain any close-ups), but saved by its great to look at action and architecture.
Setting: 8/10 – Thought-provoking, asks many rhetorical questions, and has a ton of potential. Too bad that this movie didn’t really use it.

Ghost in the Shell (don’t ask me what I was smoking when I rated this review, though)
Black Magic M66

10 Responses

  1. Avatar Watcherzero says:

    Never ever watch the 3D version of a film, even studios themselves admit their inferior to 2d prints.

  2. Avatar Alec says:

    Try watching the sequel, Appleseed Ex Machina!..

    bought it in Blu-ray along with GITS: solid state society when it first came out in Canada xD

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    Ex Machina is MUCH better but no masterpiece. I bought it for its soundtrack and art style which are incredible.

  4. Avatar Ryan says:

    wait a minute, i thought they cancelled the tv series?

    you mean its confirmed that its coming out next month? sweet

  5. Avatar Scamp says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the TV series has been delayed. There hasn’t been any sounds from the production team in several months now and the homepage hasn’t changed in ages

  6. Avatar Vanikawa says:

    Since you brought it up just yesterday, I wanted to inform you that now I have problems with uploaded pics when I use the rss feed. =(

  7. Avatar Watcherzero says:

    Also a reccomendation of a really good recent cgi anime, Vexille.

  8. Avatar AidanAK47 says:

    Hold low expectations for the sequel to this movie. Appleseed Ex Machina is produced by John Woo(F*cking doves) and it really shows. Painfully so. It’s so stereotypical hollywood action flick.

    I thought the first Appleseed was ok. It had some nice ideas.(Like Psgels said)But the second movie I could barely stand to watch.

    Just saying Psgls. If you are checking out the sequel to this movie then I would recommend going into it with rock bottom expectations.

  9. Avatar Hunter-Wolf says:

    I have to disagree .. i found it to be an excellent movie .. it does what a movie does best in the time its given .. entertain .. it has a good story and several layers of events going on (the anti-bioriods terrorism/racism – the platonic love relation between the two main characters .. etc etc) along with meaningful action scenes that show the struggle the characters are going through and showcase the wonderful designs of shirow masamune.

    As for the graphics .. i strongly disagree about the “botox faces” things … i never had any problems with them .. they express emotions just fine and in 2004 seeing a fully cel-shaded movie with 3D characters and environments that translates 2D anime artstyle into 3D graphics this well was down right amazing … there was nothing like it at the time .. no one else did cel-shaded 3d anime this good before .. my problem with 3D graphics use in anime was that it never meshes with the 2D elements and looks out of place like a sore thumb (with the exception of GiTs:SAC TV) .. so seeing a full 3D movie where everything meshes together and looks gorgeous was something really.

    As for the faces .. what exactly looks silly or out of place about this face !!?

    The emotion is there (anger and desperation) and it translates a 2d anime style face very well into 3d .. i really don’t get what the problem is exactly !!? .. i have seen things far worse that this and very very few better than it .. maybe the only anime that does 3D cel-shaded look is AppleSeed 2: Deus Ex Mahcina

    Quite the improvement .. but sadly the story department fails to deliver as it did in the first movie … and the action is was way over the top due to John Woo’s involvement (not believable action scenarios like in the first movie) .. i loved the upgraded visuals but the story was really disappointing.

  10. Avatar Puran says:

    Ex Machina is just as bad, Vexille is also a bad movie and as for the cel shaded characters, FREEDOM easily had faaaar more expressive characters than the best expression in those 3 movies combined.

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