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Hasturion

While I understand the fan reaction, I feel like there is more to like here than the movie's reception would have us believe.

The brutalist architecture, the reliance on practical props and prosthetics is successful.
The story is much more clear than the anime, which many will see as a fault, but I disagree.
The anime reduced plot related dialogue to minimum, to spend more time on philosophical pondering, and on spectacular action. By focusing on a simple story of quest for one's identity, the movie gives context to a lot of Kusanagi's questionings from the first movie, and makes it central to the main plot, while keeping things digestible.

The issue is that the rushed pacing fails to let those questionings breathe, and results in blunt and silly dialogue. The editing often fails to make scenes flow.
As for the action, the attempt to recreate the scenes from the anime for an american audience end up placing the movie at a disadvantage. the framing the editing aren't as precisely choreographed or visceral as their model (the weapons and cybernetic bodies feel quite weightless). And the scenes end up disconnected from their context.

As for the whitewashing aspect, the movie features many asian actors, and the fact that Kusanagi's been whitewashed is addressed in the plot. While it remains a cynical corporate decision, I kinda dig how it is criticized by the movie itself.

Not a masterpiece. Not a disaster either.
7 months 1 week ago
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Hasturion

It's a small movie, but a fun one. the cast is good, the themes are good.
The protagonist winking and speaking directly at the audience works well, as do the funny visualizations, notes and pictures accompanying some of the internal monologue.

It's a bit of a letdown that the photography and directing don't match that inventivity. The shot composition is mostly forgettable, and when it does come up with something noteworthy, it doesn't seem to serve a cohesive style or narrative point.
The colors are quite flat and it's really a shame when the protagonist warrants a more vibrant and classy palette. In the same department, the CGI set extensions are rarely needed, but can be quite jarring at times (matte painting and set extensions in particular). It's all serviceable though.

Now when it comes to the story, there are two major plot threads: the Holmes matriarch disappearing, and a young marquis on the run. While sharing a common themes, those two threads never really mesh together in a satisfying way, and in fact, the mother plot is pretty much dropped halfway through.

tying those two stories together would have made the plot more complex yet more elegant. as it stands the mystery barely is one, save for a few cryptic breadcrumbs along the way.
It's a serviceable coming of a age adventure plot, but it's nothing particularly memorable.

The strengths of the story are the characters, chief among them Enola, her enthusiasm is infectious and she's a joy to follow. the marquis is a bit... hollow by comparison. It's a joy to hate Mycroft, and Sherlock not being a heartless egotist is a nice change.
It's an enjoyable watch, if nothing groundbreaking. I would have liked to see this get the visual polish knives out had, but that's a very high bar to reach.

!!spoiler!!!
On a side note I'm not really on board with the portrayal of the suffragettes as seemingly misguided, as if there always was a moderate progressive in position of power to latch onto, but well, I know that many people won't care or even notice.
10 months 1 week ago
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Hasturion

It feels more like an extended first episode for a TV show. In fact, I thought I was until I realized I was halfway through.
This movie stands up mostly thanks to the character of Robin, the only one dignified by a glimpse of her daily life, since none of the two male action leads get much more characterization than there core motivation and archetype (one is a young cop who loves his city and doesn't play by the rules, the other is a ruthless ex military out for revenge).
the other draw, is the visual aspect: poor, damp and run down, the new orleans of the film looks pretty cool, in accordance with the presentation of the powers: messy, leaving stigmates on the users, like burns, or saggy skin, scars... we have the feeling of an experimental, dangerous drug rather than the clean superpowers of most similar media.

That said, the plot is so flimsy, I wouldn't even call it predicable: I wasn't engaged enough to push me to try and predict anything. The villains have very :little personality or buildup, beyond the evil pharma company shtick (the old guard wasn't half as visually stylish , but at least it had an enjoyably punchable villain), and it really cuts down on the excitement of finding what powers our protagonists will have to face next.
the choreography of fights is dynamic, and the presentation inventive at times, but it also goes for handheld camera and lots of cutting, and while this messy style feeds into the overall mood, it's not very engaging.

watch it for the art direction, the actors and the concept, but don't go in expecting too much.
11 months 1 week ago
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Hasturion

Well acted and directed, this show suffers from an overly convoluted story.
The characters stubbornly refuse to share vital information among themselves, something hilariously pointed out by one character throughout the whole show. Their motives are rarely clear, aggravated by the fact that each exists in different time periods and at different ages at the same "time".
And of course each time travel has ripple effects that complicate things further, and there are many time travels back and forth.
In the end, it feels like the complexity is a bit much for what I could handle as a viewer, and felt more like I'd enjoy it more by not thinking too much about it, which probably wasn't what the creators wanted.
I just wish some of it was a little bit more straightforward, and that the creators and characters were less afraid to share informations wiith the audience and among themselves to move the story forward rather than relying on intertemporal quiproquos that oftentimes feel forced.
Keeping the plot centered on the initial mystery and keeping it personal, rather than expending to larger scale events could have helped too. The revelations raise more questions than they answer, and I feel like the resolution, whatever it may be, risks letting us down.

I don't want to sound too negative, the show remains an enjoyable mix between Stranger things and a scandinavian style thriller with a neat time loop gimmick, and plenty of twists and turns.
1 year 3 months ago
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Hasturion

This is not a great movie.
The dark character drama is never organically supported by the colorful science fiction premise. The result is that those coming here for the fun costumed action will be bored, as the action is very much delayed, and those who were compelled by the character studies will find those glossed over and never fully resolved.
It doesn't help that the action sequences are rather poorly directed, leading some pretty good CGI work to never feel as spectacular as it could be. the scale of the final monster is comparable to pacific rim, but the finale ends up feeling more like a kid clashing his toy and going "pow pow pow BOOM" than a choreographed action sequence.
Most of those sequences have issues with establishing the geography of the scene and providing iconic shots.
But there is some pretty good writing in places. you feel for those troubled teens with a heart of gold, and each has the seeds of a compelling arc, from the star jock cracking under the pressure of expectations, the OCD ridden asperger kid, the repenting mean girl. the dialogue is snappy and deadpan, which is a trope, but mostly well executed. But how do you make it work with being defenders of life on earth, piloting animal shaped tanks called "zords"?
It feels like a few passes of polish on the script and the storyboard would have been needed to find the gems hidden in this rough, mundane stone.
1 year 6 months ago
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