So, things have been very quiet in terms of movies. However, starting from now, we’re in for a year in which the line-up is going to be the best in many, many years. And what a wonderful way to start this streak of awesome movies than with Berserk’s remake. Remake anime are tricky. I hate them if they don’t add anything, or are nothing more than a glorified recap. With those things, you can just as well watch the original thing, making them completely redundant. When they’re done well though, I just can’t complain. Berserk’s movie is one of the best examples of that.
It adapts the same story as the TV-series, but the tone and execution are so completely different, and both adaptations have their own merits. The TV-series was dark, subdued and incredibly gloomy, using is long length perfectly to set its atmosphere. It let everything play out very slowly, and as a result was a tad padded out here and there. The movie however has a much brighter colour palette, its pacing is much faster, and rather than the gloomy atmosphere, it creates the atmosphere of an epic fantasy series. This also really reflects in the soundtracks: the TV-series had Susumu Hirasawa’s magic do a very depressed and dark score. The movie instead is full of choirs and orchestras, having a much more bombastic feel.
And then there are the visuals. On one hand we have the TV-series, which has the better art style of the two (outdated? Hah, I disagree; I have more problems with most anime characters nowadays looking too similar), creating some stunning designs and images, at the expense of a lot of still frames. Then there is the movie, which really excels in its animation. The TV-series had some amazing consistency, while the movie is much more experimental, even though it had to make some sacrifices for that.
Because yeah, if there is one complaint that you’re going to hear about this movie, then it’s the fact that the creators had to resort to CG for the actual character models. And really, for character-models done in CG, this really is one of the better examples of combining 2D and 3D, but it still stands out. The creators definitely prioritized movement over looking consistent, and it shows: the movement in this show feels very smooth and natural. The fluidity of the scenes is great.
Where this movie also stands out is a specialty of the director that Studio 4C got for this movie: Toshiyuki Kubooka, who previously directed Remaining Sense of Pain from Batman: Gotham Knight. He already showed there a great knowledge of human anatomy that he used in his gore, and he also uses this very effectively in this movie, giving a real edge to the combat scenes.
So, is this movie on par with the Television Series? I can’t say that yet, as it only adapted, what? The first ten episodes or so? They haven’t even reached the part where Berserk gets really, really good, but even then this movie had my constant attention and it was excellent at both building up and delivering solid action scenes, and it still has really good acting. It’s all really well balanced, but yeah: the downside is less time to flesh out some of the characters. Especially the side-characters suffered from this.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Managed to condense the Berserk storyline to movie-format. Wonderful balance and really went with its own direction.|
|Characters:||8/10 – The creators did a great job in bringing the characters to life. Unfortunately, the movie is only an hour long, and some side-characters suffered from this.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Really, the only reason why this isn’t a 9 is because of the CG. Perhaps the budget isn’t as big as some other movies, but the sense of aesthetics of this movie makes it a visual feast nonetheless.|
|Setting:||9/10 – Still maintains that unique take on the medieval setting here.|