In the past, I’ve been critical of this CG version of anime, because, well, it’s weird, and it’s uncomfortable to watch, and manages to avoid the positive attributes of either Anime or CG, while exaggerating the flaws. It’s bad.
But… well, maybe it was just done terribly in the past. Because this Space Pirate Captain Harlock trailer is hot shit. Everything looks beautiful. Even furry-appeasing sexy cat lady aliens are visually appealing. It utilizes the freedom of the CG while maintaining that hard to define “anime” quality. It’s basically precisely the opposite of the Starship Troopers anime, or that terrifying Dragon Age thing. This is precisely what everyone else who tried wanted it to be. So, yeah, new rule: From now on you are allowed to make CG/Anime, but only if you do it Space Pirate Captain Harlock or better. This is the bar.
When did this happen? Why did we decide that actually having animators draw an anime was passe? I mean, we gave up on American classic animation years ago. But we were holding out for anime. But apparently anime lost out as well, cause it seems like every anime we’re getting recently is this weird CG trying to emulate anime look. If you want it to look like classic anime, there’s an easy solution. Just animate it like classic anime. Don’t animate it with this terrible style that creates monsters like this cat elf thing at twenty eight seconds. Eww.
As far as the content, well, I don’t know anything about Captain Harlock outside of that one Megas XLR episode, so this could be completely accurate, or wildly offensive. It does have giant ships, some if them with skulls on them, shooting at other giant ships, so I’m already sold. Just reminds me to close my eyes when that… thing shows up on screen.
Sam Jackson will be reteaming up with his Snakes on a Plane director David R. Ellis to star in Kite, the live action version of the anime about a abused girl who becomes a teenage assassin. And, in retrospect, Jackson’s probably not playing that part, Nicki Minaj wig notwithstanding. Instead he’ll probably be playing some generic bad guy, or a cop that’s trying to hunt her down. Which makes you wonder, why was he the first cast? “Before we cast our star, it’s vitally important that we cast the angry old man role!” Unlikely.
Because everyone’s favorite parts of Mass Effect were James Vega and “not being able to alter the outcome” we’re getting Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, which is pretty much all those two things. Here’s ten minutes which establish that the animation and voice acting is about as classy as the rest of the concept. Great.
Choose ninety percent of video games, this isn’t such a problem. An Assassin’s Creed movie kind of makes sense, since that game is just on rails anyway. Sure, you can choose how you kill a dude, but that dude is getting killed, and Ezio or whoever will tell you how you feel about that. But Mass Effect 3′s biggest strength is your ability to alter the story (complain all you want about Blue, Red and Green endings all you want, after three games my galaxy and your galaxy probably look noticeably different). So why go back to static, non interactive story telling? Just let it be.
And James Vega? I cared more about Jacob than goddamn James Vega. Who thought a movie about this useless character was a good idea? Literally anyone else would be preferable. Ashley “I Would Let a Nuke Blow Her Up Even If I Didn’t Have to Choose” Williams would be a better choice. I guess you pay the big bucks for Freddie Prinze Jr, you gotta use him in everything. Assuming that he still gets big bucks, which, after seeing that written out looks ridiculous.
And why do the Krogans have pointy chins? When have they ever had pointy chins? Why would you do that?
Yes, this game is long. It might not be very good, but its based on a well traveled franchise that doesn’t seem to quit. Naruto has yet another game for you based on a storyline that’s seemingly 5 years after I stopped watching anything of it. And honsetly, Naruto dressed as Goku from Dragonball Z is unsettling. It’s like having a nightmare where your girlfriend has your ex-girlfriend’s face. Turns out you were trapped in Vanilla Sky.
That this musical had to be made, but it got to be made. Macross still holds strong in a lot of people’s opinions of good anime, but Japan goes above and beyond yet again to bring us a live stage musical of Macross, missing a very important part of it, the mecha. Don’t see them using any mecha here. Hopefully the dancers dress up as them and do some sort of West Side Story dance fight which includes them walking like a crab for the mid-transformation. Time to go to Japan again…
Anime is always going to be creepier than its live-action version, so you don’t have to argue that. However, some fan cut together a very popular song from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog from what I have to assume is an obscure anime series or movie, I have never seen it before. Though, honestly, I have not kept up with it. But if a majority of its scenes take place in a laundromat then I’m not interested.
Hell yeah, Star Wars anime! It’s all 2D, and actually animated, with colors and style! This is what you expect when someone makes an”anime” version of something. Not that incredibly grey, lifeless mess that was Starship Troopers anime. Much better. And this was just made by a fan, not a massive team that’s actually being paid. What’s the disconnect?
I don’t know what the deal is with the music, though. The one I saw yesterday was silent, so I guess this is an improvement? Annoying music better than no music? We’re only little while away from someone getting a hold of it and adding a John Williams score and laser blast sounds and that Twin Ion Engine scream to the tie fighters. Then it will be perfect. For now, this.
Edit: Never mind, updated with one that has Star Wars-y sound, and not shitty metal. It’s much better. Now my only complaint is the lady TIE pilot. The Imperial Navy was highly prejudiced against any non humans or females serving, why do they have a lady pilot?
At this point, it’s hard to go into a Starship Troopers movie with a high hopes. The first one is a fantastic film hiding under a big stupid gun movie, but even if you completely ignore the satire, it’s a really good big stupid gun movie. Since then, an amazingly mediocre cartoon and two incredibly terrible direct to video releases have followed. It wasn’t good. But even with the low, low standards set by those films, Starship Troopers: Invasion is easily the worst thing to come from the franchise yet.
First off, it’s that weird CG anime. That is incredibly unpleasant to look at. Any artistic style is almost entirely lost, because they’re trying to make three dimensional characters in a style that was never really designed for three dimensions, but any chance you have at making a unique character design with the three dimensional models is hampered by this weird desire to look “anime”. You get the feeling that the characters were designed in 2D, and then those models were converted into these unfortunately proportioned creatures. It uncomfortable and weird. And it just reminds you that this would probably look pretty cool as classic 2D animation. But they didn’t do that. As a bigger screw you, none of the characters we know look anything like they should. Not sure if it’s because they didn’t have the rights to the character’s likenesses, or if it was a style choice, but either way, it’s bad. They have to constantly say “Captain Ibanez” over and over for the first half of the movie, just to remind you that this is supposed to be the character from the first movie. Rico gets screwed the least, if you squint and look past the eye patch (yeah, he’s got an eye patch for some reason) you can almost see Casper Van Dien. But Carl is terrible. They’ve gone completely opposite with every physical trait. He’s dark haired instead of blonde, his eyes are the wrong color, he’s all weasely looking. He could not look less like Neil Patrick Harris.
The movie starts with an evacuation from a mining base. The crew that arrives to help joins with the infantry already on the base, and they hop in their ship and fly away. Meanwhile, Carl, who’s gone from being the generally good guy forced to make terrible decisions that he was in the original movie to some sort of evil genius type, takes Carmen’s ship with no explanation, and then makes some evil threats and runs away. It’s very odd, entirely out of character, and far more mysterious than it needs to be. Everyone hops in the other ship and runs away. Eventually Carmen’s ship goes silent, they head back to find it, it turns out the ship is evil, then there’s a lot of loud shooting, a bunch of people are killed in incredibly telegraphed ways, and Carl’s secret project is unearthed. It’s a remarkably boring story, and if it weren’t for several minutes of loud shooting and yelling between every scene, it would probably take about half an hour to tell. Luckily there is enough loud shooting and yelling to stretch this out to an hour and a half or else we probably couldn’t justify releasing it on DVD.
With little to no story to focus on, we’re forced to worry about the characters. And by “characters” I mean nameless grunts that all have exactly one trait that will distinguish them from the others. There’s karate guy, and big guy, and black guy, and psychic guy, and sniper girl, and not-sniper girl, and guy that sleeps with sniper girl, and robot arm guy and shaky medic and not shaky medic and… others? There’s also the leader from the mining base, under arrest for disobeying orders, who’s call sign is literally “Hero”. He’s got that anime scar under his eye, to distinguish him, but he’ll also be the only trooper that isn’t constantly wearing a face mask, so that helps too. Everyone else is almost completely interchangeable, because they have that generic anime face, and without the ridiculously colored hair that we use in most other anime to differentiate characters, I don’t know how to tell them apart. They all have their own arc, based entirely on their one trait, and you can pretty much guess how it’s going to turn out.
Now, wait a minute, you might be saying. This is Starship Troopers. That first movie you’re so in love with wasn’t much better. Other than the Full Metal Jacket inspired boot camp stuff, the story was basically “Bugs are bad, shoot bugs.” And the characters weren’t much deeper than that either. Why’s this movie so much worse? Well, yeah, okay. I could point out that the violence is much more visceral when it’s not CG, or that with only seven characters we really cared about (Johnny, Dizzy, Carl, Carmen, Ace, That Other Pilot Guy and Rasczak) it was easier to care about a couple of them, instead of throwing a dozen caricatures at me and expecting me to become emotionally involved. But really, on the outside, they’re very similar. It’s the deeper level that Invasion completely failed on.
Those direct to DVD movies were terrible in every way they could be, but at least they understood Starship Troopers. That’s not saying they could duplicate the movie, but they understood the tone. Invasion doesn’t. If I had to guess, I would say that the creators of this movie have seen all the other Starship Troopers, but never understood them. They’ve seen the muted, or without subtitles, or maybe the subtext just doesn’t translate well in Japan. They understand the visual. They know how to make the bugs look, and how to make the ships look, and how to make the Mobile Infantry look. That’s great. But that’s where it stops. The tone is gone. No more satire. That’s the big one. The more subtle stuff being lost is understandable, but even the Newsreels are missing. Even Starship Troopers 3 managed to have the Newsreels. That’s a big loss. And then there’s smaller issues. Other than a bit early on where a doctor remarks that he’s never had a patient live before, there’a almost no humor. It’s very bland. The nudity is wrong. Obviously the nudity in the other movies exists because it’s a Paul Verhoeven movie, so of course there’s going to be some boobs. But the shower scene in the original served a purpose. Here’s all these guys and girls showering together, but they don’t care. They’re all troopers, and that’s what’s most important. Here the nudity is obnoxious. Guy sees a woman naked in the locker room and immediately starts hitting on her. Later she’s just walking around the cargo bay with no shirt and a towel barely covering her breasts. And the while all the guys wear the same clothes, the women wear this weird boob enhancing, arm displaying get up that makes no sense, and only exists to show them off. Because they’re ladies, and they should be ogled. It’s kinda gross.
And then there’s the issue with the armor. People are constantly complaining that in the books, all the Troopers wore armor all the time. But there’s a reason people don’t wear armor in movies. We can’t tell you apart. Everyone looks exactly the same. So, to solve that, they have what can only be described as “plot sensitive helmets”, helmets that seem to know precisely when to open up to enhance the story. Whenever one of their faces needs to be seen for some sort of character moment, their helmet just pops open. It’s very convenient. But also very weird. Almost as weird as the main character, “Hero” never wearing a helmet, even though they’re in space. Either keep them on all the time, or don’t wear them. The switching back and forth constantly is just drawing attention to the fact that they make no sense.
I’d like to find something nice to say about this movie. But I can’t. Every single facet of it seems designed specifically to piss me off. They could not fail to miss the mark any more unless they forgot to add “Starships” and “Troopers” I would rather watch the second and third movies back to back. I would rather read the original book. I would rather… not watch this. Don’t do it. Just watch the original. It’s on Netflix. And it’s got Jake Busey. Where’s he been?