Appleseed Ex Machina

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, Appleseed Ex Machina. It’s pretty simple to separate what works and doesn’t in Machina:

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.

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.

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.

t thX eo?meone who hopes Boyle returns to direct the inevitable third movie, this change bother me most of all.

Weeks still struck me as the second best zombie movie I’ve ever seen. The action is tight, the sights are breathtaking, and the plotting is fast enough to account for deficiencies in depth. Just don’t be surprised that director Fresnadillo hasn’t managed to one-up Danny Boyle- few can, right?
Image Source: IMDB

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