Tag Archives: Post-apocalyptic

Ergo Proxy, Anime tv series (2006)

Have you ever felt the pressure when you are writing a review? A cold sweat that the things you are about to write might not go over so well with everyone? I’m feeling that pressure right now. A certain amount of dread for a review that I have been promising for quite a while now. Namely that of the anime Ergo Proxy. And now that I’m actually starting my first draft for this, I don’t really know where to start. Because honestly I have no clue what to make of this series. When I first started watching this, and that was weeks ago, I really felt this was a anime that contained a lot of elements that I usually enjoy quite a lot. A dark dystopian future, a very unusual but utterly terrific style of animation, and characters that at first I thought I would really like. But at some point, it all started to go wrong. At least for me it did. So what happened? Let’s first talk about what this series is all about, before I am going to dive into the review itself.

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It was a dark and stormy night….unfortunately it was like this every night, and day.

Ergo Proxy is set into a future where thousands of years ago the planet was all but destroyed by a global ecological disaster. What is left of humanity lives on in a domed city called Romdo. It is supposed to be a utopia, but as is so often the case beneath all the shine, dark secrets are being kept from the general public. The humans that live in Romdo coexist with androids called AutoReivs. The AutoReivs serve humanity in different kind of ways either as Companions or Entourages. The peace is soon shattered when a series of grissly murders take place. Re-L Mayer is the investigator who is assigned to look into the case together with her AutoReiv partner Iggy. While at the site of one the murders, Re-L encounters an unknown entity. She has never seen anything like that before and later she is attacked at her house by a similar being. Her investigation eventually leads her to a young immigrant called Vincent Law that seems to be involved with these mysterious creatures called Proxys. But just how is he connected to them, and just what exactly is a Proxy? All the answers to these questions might be more than Re-L can handle, and might shake Romdo to it’s very core….

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You meet the strangest people these days while donating blood.

Ergo Proxy starts very promising. The first ten or so episodes tell a very interesting supernatural mystery, with some intriguing moments that will have you guessing at every turn. Re-L’s investigation into just what exactly is going on is a fascinating journey to follow, with many twists and turns. Eventually she ends up outside the city of Romdo together with Vincent Law and a young AutoReiv called Pino. And that is the point where it all started to go wrong for me. Every episode afterwards sees the three of them travelling across a dark and very depressive landscape aboard an airship. And almost nothing happens. The time is spent with a lot of talking, and talking….and more talking. Okay, this is maybe a bit of an exageration, but it is not very far of the mark. I don’t mind slow series at all. I certainly watched quite a few of those that were incredibly entertaining. But I do mind it, when a show goes into very deep philosophy mode about subjects that I can really not make heads nor tails of. And it becomes even worse for me when all of a sudden an episode is inserted that is just complete and utter crazyness.

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Woohoo….at least one character is happy in this show!

Let me explain that last remark. Episode 15 sees our three leads enter a quizshow completely out of the blue. Yes you read that right, a quizshow. It is so incredibly out of place when compared to the rest of the series that one just had to wonder what the point of it was. Another thing that I was not satisfied with, was the wrap up of the story. Everything just goes into full on speed mode in the last 3 episodes. It was almost as if the creators were thinking we don’t have any time left, let’s finish this as quick as we can. The result is an unsatisfactory conclusion with quite a few things just not fully explained. And then there are the characters. Both Re-L and Vincent are just not really people that I would love to make friends with. They are incredibly dull, have an expression on their faces most of the time as if someone has died, and quite frankly were not people I could feel any sympathy for. Which is a real shame because the design for Re-L especially is really beautiful. She looks bad ass so to speak, and could have ended up as a truly amazing character.

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Yeah, I just had to include another picture of the happy character.

This is turning a bit into a rant, for which I am truly sorry. Is there nothing positive? Yes there is. The animation style is really unusual but also very beautiful. The dark city of Romdo looks amazing, and so do the truly dark backgrounds. And then there is the character of Pino. This young childlike AutoReiv was a joy to watch, and one of the only shining lights in a series that consisted of characters that at any point seemed almost ready to take their lives. Or at least that was what they looked like at times. Pino was infected with the so called Cogito virus that makes her self aware. It only made her more human, and quite luckily a very welcome happy note in this very depressive series. The storyline itself, besides the for me truly poor execution, was still very intriguing. Especially in the beginning it contained some very cool elements that were a joy to watch and at times had me on the edge of my seat.

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Erm, no I am sorry. I am not going to shut up about my feelings for this show.

I really wanted to like this anime. I’m sure a lot of you reading this review might even be surprised at my reaction. But in the end the series just didn’t work for me. It unfortunately happens at times, and sometimes even with shows that contain elements that normally should have you bursting into joy. Another note of warning I also want to give to you is that this really isn’t a happy show. It can really affect your mood, turning it into something very melancholy. I know some people can be overly sensitive for things like this, and that’s why I’m at least mentioning it. So, in closing I want to say that this is my own opinion on an anime that really has some very high ratings. Don’t take my word for it, but just go and watch it yourself and maybe you will be someone that is going to really enjoy it. I hope not everyone is going to bite my head off after posting this. So with a few drops of sweat on my brow I guess I’m going to press the publish button.

I give Ergo Proxy a 5 out of 10 score.

 

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Blade Runner 2049, American/Uk/Canadian movie (2017)

The movie industry can sometimes be incredibly strange. In 1982 the original Blade Runner was released. A movie that many consider to be a groundbreaking piece of science fiction filmmaking. Throughout the years the film has become a cult classic, that has been gathering praise long after it’s release. Because when it was released 35 years ago, it did not perform very well, and even some critics did not give the movie very positive reviews. When the news was announced that a sequel was being made for this film, many people including myself, had to raise a few eyebrows. Why do you make sequel to a film that quite frankly doesn’t need one, and were there people really waiting for this at this point? When the first trailer was released for it, I became cautiously optimistic. For it really looked….good. With the release of the film now upon us, critics are giving the movie very high marks. With glowing reviews under it’s belt and cool trailers, one would think this film would become an overnight box office succes right?

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What do you mean this film isn’t doing well at the Box-office? 

Well, that’s where you would be wrong. Just like the original, the movie is currently under performing at the cinemas, so I guess in some cases history does repeat itself. This is going to be a bit of an unusual review for me, as I am not going to tell you much about the plot of the film. To do so, would be to rob of you of a lot of enjoyment as in this case the less you know about it, the more you will be surprised by it. What I can tell you is that this sequel takes place 30 years after the events of the first movie. The mighty Tyrell Corporation has gone bankrupt. Out of it’s ashes a new pioneer for the replicant technology, a man named Niander Wallace, arises. He has created a new type of replicant that is obedient and has been integrated into society to work as servants and slaves. The older types are still being hunted and retired by the cops known as Blade Runners. One of them, the Blade Runner known simply as K has stumbled on a secret that could shake the very foundations of society. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from coming out…

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This is my response to that! 

It’s very hard to describe to you exactly what I thought of this movie. Perhaps it’s best to give you my state of mind as I left the theatre yesterday afternoon, after having sat there for almost three hours seeing the movie for the first time in IMAX. And that state of mind was very, very sad. Not because I hated the film, but because of the atmosphere that this movie manages to create. One of the things that I love in films is to escape in a make believe world for a few hours. What we have here however is a very bleak and depressing future, that seems to penetrate itself into the very core of your mind. Together with the brilliant music created by Hans Zimmer, and the incredible visual style, I don’t think I have ever seen a more depressing view of the future than what has been created in this film. It’s one of the main reasons why this has become a must see movie, but it’s not only the visuals that make the film so astounding.

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Hello little man. 

We also have a script here, that would not surprise me if it got nominated for an Oscar. There are so many layers in it, that it’s difficult to tell too much about it without heading into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that one of the main things that I really liked about it, is something you might be surprised at: and that is the universal theme of love. K has a very unusual relationship, which is both beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time. But just like in the original it’s also the age old question of what it exactly means to be human, that makes it’s return. And even more than in the original 1982 classic, that question is even harder to answer in this sequel. Even though some of the trailers for the film would like you to believe this is an action movie, it really isn’t. It’s very slow moving, and while there is some action, the main part of the film is spent with K trying to figure out his place in the uncovering of the secret.

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I can see clearly now the rain is gone. 

Performance wise there is a lot to enjoy. Ryan Gosling plays K, and he manages to create a character that is both very human and at the same time also isn’t. This really is his journey, and for an audience to go along on that journey, you have to be able to create sympathy for your character. And Gosling certainly has excelled at that. The role of Niander Wallace is performed by Jared Leto. Though his character had a chilling aura, it certainly wasn’t a very memorable part. In fact it was his replicant enforcer Luv, played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks that made a much more lasting impression. She played a great villain, and pardon my French: a perfectly evil bitch. And of course there is Harrison Ford who reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Even though time might have catched up with him, he can still pull off the part. It was an absolute joy to seem him make an appearance again, and the movie just would not have been the same without him in it.

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The first person to make a remark about my age is going to get it! 

So, are there any negative points? Yes, there are. The film clocks in at almost three hours, and that was just too long overall. Some scenes felt unnecessary, and could have helped with the pacing of the movie had they been left out. At times the film is just a bit too slow. But then again, this really isn’t much different from it’s original counterpart. Now on to the hard part: do I recommend this film? I can honestly say that this is an incredible movie, with a fantastic script, a believable and utterly beautifully created world and some high caliber performances. At the same time, this movie also won’t be for everyone. If you can’t handle slow paced films, and expect an action spectacle you would be wise not to go this movie. For fans of the original though, this almost feels like coming home. It’s a sequel that pretty much rivals and at some points is even better than the classic. And that is a very hard thing to accomplish. I won’t lie to you though, it’s bleak vision of the future will take you a bit of time to let go of. Also be prepared to have the movie spinning around in your head for a while. But that usually is a good sign.

I give Blade Runner 2049 a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Embracing the End of life as we know it.

A few weeks ago Karandi from 100wordanime held a contest to celebrate the fact that she had started her Facebook page for her blog. The price for this would be a post written by her on any topic the winner would like. To my big surprise I recieved a message from her telling me that I had won the price! 😀 Now I think most of you already know her as she is I think without a doubt one of the most active bloggers of us all. Pretty much everywhere that I look she manages to give a reaction to posts by other blogs, and also writes a ton of stuff every day for her own blog. She also is one of the kindest persons amongst us, always giving a nice response and needless to say I have the utmost respect for her. It was a great honor to have won this contest, and I asked her to write a post about one of my favorite topics, the post apocalyptic genre. She has made a terrific post for it, the result of which you can find below. All words below are written by her, so if you have yet to discover her wonderful blog, please head over there and subscribe now. I certainly have enjoyed this post, and because it can’t be said enough: thank you very much Karandi for this great price.

Embracing the End of Life as we know it.

This post is for Raistlin who won the 100 Word Anime on Facebook launch competition. Thanks as always Raistlin for your support and for the great topic.
What is the appeal of post-apocalyptic stories? Really, they are set after the end of civilisation as we know it so you could almost assume that any story worth telling was already done and finished. Why not go back and talk about that mutating virus, that war, those final days before the asteroid hit or before the aliens conquered humanity and wiped out everything else?
Well, because that’s hardly the end of the story.
As Ian Malcolm put it in Jurassic Park (or at least the script writers did): life finds a way.
The end of the world is fun and all and watching people try to survive the cataclysm can certainly be good for a few laughs, tears and gasps of surprise, but the more meaningful story, or at least I’ve always found, is in what happens next. What are the next steps for those who don’t disappear in a blaze of glory or have their candle snuffed out?

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As usual, anime has a plethora of examples to draw upon when thinking about any particular genre. And while I was very tempted to make this an Evangelion post when Raistlin first gave me the topic, I resisted temptation because I still haven’t actually gotten around to writing my review of that anime, and ultimately Evangelion is about an absolute refusal to embrace an unpleasant reality and about the many ways people escape or fight against a grim reality.
So where did I look instead?
I actually had to start with Trigun. While not set on Earth, the story takes place after humans for whatever reason have left Earth to colonise another planet, but due to a particular individual they end up crashing onto a desert planet where survival is quite the feat even before you throw in a certain lawless lifestyle. Despite this, and despite some clearly villainous characters, the main cast of Trigun are decidedly optimistic in their outlook on life. Sure, survival is hard, but while the overall situation can’t change, small steps can be taken each day to secure survival and to help others.
It’s really impossible to watch Trigun and not be infected by Vash’s positive outlook. He isn’t some young and naive child clinging to a dream or an illusion to escape the daily grind. He knows how bad things are and he even knows he is actually responsible for some of the issues, and yet he’ll still flash most people that cheeky smile of his and hit them with “Love and Peace”.

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No. 6 is another anime where a main character lives in a world that has been essentially destroyed and the only survivors are in the numbered cities. Privileges are quite restricted and as a child, owing to his intelligence, Shion was on track for a very good life. However, one act of compassion, helping a run-away child, had both Shion and his mother face hardships.
Now, in some stories this would be where the main character became bitter and twisted and would vow revenge against the regime, but Shion is mostly accepting of the situation. He continues to act in a way that doesn’t damage his personal integrity, while finding ways to compromise within the frame of the law. Ultimately his hand is forced and he does go into hiding and finds himself at odds with the city, but even then most of his actions are to save the city rather than to see it brought low.
Both of these characters demonstrate strength and perseverance in the face of inequality and injustice. They put the lives of others before themselves and they seek, in small ways, to make their worlds just a little bit brighter for those around them.

And for me, this is what I love about post apocalyptic stories. They give the best and worst characteristics that humanity carries with them a chance to shine.
Thanks,
Karandi
100wordanime.wordpress.com

The War for the Planet of the Apes, American movie (2017)

After reviewing Kong Skull Island earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to do another review that featured monkeys, or apes if you prefer. Honestly it is just a coincidence that these reviews are coming out in the same week, as I saw this film quite a while ago. It’s just one of those posts that for some reason I did not get around to earlier. In 1968 the original movie was first released starring Charlton Heston, and it is considered by many to be a science fiction cult classic. And of course it was inevitable that Hollywood at one point would remake this. The first attempt dates back to 2001, and was directed by Tim Burton. Starring Mark Wahlberg, it certainly wasn’t a bad film, but it also can’t be considered a very good one either. However in 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released. The first movie that would be the start of a new trilogy was a terrific film. It featured amazing special effects that for a change served in telling the story, instead of being the driving force of the movie.

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Hmm, I wonder who the human is in this picture. 

Three years later the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes came out, and it was another amazing film. Again featuring ground breaking special effects, a heartwarming story, and plenty of action, it was a great follow up to the first movie. And now we have the War for the Planet of the Apes, which draws the trilogy to a close. In this third and final film, Caesar together with his family and the rest of his band of apes, tries to live peacefully in a secluded forest. This peace is shattered however when a ruthless human colonel attacks the camp of the apes. After suffering a terrible loss Caesar, together with a few of his most trusted friends, sets out on a path of revenge. In the middle of the quest they stumble across a young human girl who they eventually befriend and decide to bring along on their journey. Their path brings them ever closer to the colonel. Unbeknownst to them however this man has drawn his own plans, and they spell complete and utter doom for the remainder of the apes…..

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Kids these days like Teddy-apes more than Teddy-bears. 

Let me not keep you any further in suspense: War for the Planet of the Apes was a worthy end to a fantastic movie trilogy and then some. With a title that has the word war in it, you would expect a movie that has explosions, loads of action and other stuff like that in it. It’s all the more surprising however that this movie turned out very differently than I expected. This is not an action extravaganza, but more a very thoughtful drama set in a truly believable post apocalyptic science fiction world. We go along with Caesar and his friends on a journey that makes us question our own humanity at times. The apes were definitely possessed of more kindness, than the humans that were in this film. In fact, besides the young girl, there is not a single human character that you can relate to. Which is a good thing, because it’s the apes that you want to grow attached to in this movie. And they are brought to life in hyper realistic computer effects, that make the apes look completely real and lifelike.

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Haha, I am not worried you will miss me anyway. 

The main character Caesar is again played by Andy Serkis, who already did such amazing work playing as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings saga. Even though his face is completely hidden by computer effects, Caesar almost feels like a human, and that is mostly because of the amazing work of this actor. The colonel is played by veteran actor Woody Harrelson. His character is pretty much as far from being human as one can be, which is funny considering he is almost the only human being you get to see in this picture. At least as far as the bigger roles go that is. Harrelson creates a truly loathsome character, that you will grow to hate throughout this film. And that of course is a credit to the acting skills of Woody.

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Hey, come over here. Did you hear that joke about the monkey and the human? 

War for the Planet of the Apes is a movie that I label as a must see picture. I would even go so far as to call this closing installment the best part of the entire trilogy. Some people may at times feel the movie is moving along too slow. I was never bored for one second though. All the scenes that were in the film were created with a single purpose in mind: to make us truly feel for a group of apes and see them in the same light as normal human actors. And I would say the film certainly succeeded in that mission. The movie is a truly beautiful film to look at, with amazing special effects, and a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful tale as well. I highly recommend this movie. Even if you don’t regularly like science fiction I think you might still enjoy watching this one. Only if you are expecting an action fest it might be wise to avoid this one, for this is most certainly not an action oriented film.

I give War for the Planet of the Apes a 9 out of 10 score.

Alita Last Order Omnibus vol.1, A Japanese manga book (2011)

The Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, or Gunnm as it is known in Japan, has been praised by none other than director James Cameron. He is a huge fan of this manga, and has been wanting to direct a live action movie based on it for quite some time now. I doubt it will ever get to see the light of day though, as it has been announced so many times that is almost becoming laughable. For those of you unfamiliair with the original manga let me tell you quickly what the story is about.

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Battle Angel Alita is set in a post apocalyptic future and is centered around the character of Alita, a female cyborg. She was originally found in a junkyard, robbed of all her memories. The cybernetics doctor who finds Alita, decides to rebuild her, and when she awakens she discovers that there is actually one thing she does remember. It is the ancient legendary martial art of Panzer Kunst. With this deadly skill she eventually takes on the profession of  bounty hunter. The world she lives in is an interesting and very unique one. The floating city of Tiphares is the cause of a massive scrapheap on the surface which surrounds the aptly named city of Scrapyard. As the city of Tiphares is off limits to surface dwellers, they are forced to make a living amongst the junk, a very hard life indeed.

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Alita Last Order continues the storyline of the original manga, but does pretty much ignore the original ending, or so I have heard. While I did read a few chapters of the first Battle Angel Alita series, I have never completed it. But so far I have been able to follow the storyline along just fine without all the knowledge of the original manga. Alita Last Order starts off with the resurrection of Alita by her enemy/ally Desty Nova. Their relationship has always been a complex one, and it continues to be so in the new series. The story this time takes place on Tiphares, on which quite a number of things have changed. The city has turned into complete chaos, and numerous rebellions are underway. Amidst the chaos Alita tries to find out what happened to her old friend Lou, but at the same she also searches for more answers to her own forgotten past. Both things are incredibly hard to do, as Alita is about to find out…

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While I still prefer anime to manga, this series was just to good to resist. I fell in love with the character of Alita quite a few years ago, when I first laid eyes on her in the original manga. While visiting Animecon 2017 last month, I was amazed to find out that the series had continued in this new form, and as such I bought all five omnibus editions. The first installment certainly did not disappoint. The art for this is absolutely breathtaking, and at times I just kept staring at certain panels to admire them. Alita contains enough action to keep your attention throughout the entire 650 page count, but the story itself also is worth every minute of your time. The theme that keeps returning the most is the question of what it is like to be human. But even though that has been featured so many times in other media, Alita turns it upside down, and still manages to be original too. I simply have nothing negative to say about this series. If you love dystopian post apocalyptic science fiction stories, featuring great art, and enough action to leave you gasping at air, I highly recommend you check this manga out.

I give Alita Last Order Omnibus Volume 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

It comes at night, American movie (2017)

If there is one thing that is pretty much a fact in life, it is that nothing lasts forever. For one thing we all know that humanity will one day cease to exist. We don’t know yet how that will happen, but there are endless scenarios for that. And ofcourse we all know that a lot of these have been featured in movies. Now I for one am a huge fan of post apocalyptic movies, and no that does not mean that I want the world to end. I may at times be crazy, but I am sure as hell not that crazy. I particularly love the genre, because it usually features ordinary men and women that are put into situations that will see them having to overcome impossible odds. And in order to do so change the ways they usually did things in the life before the apocalypse. The movie I am about to review falls into the post apocalyptic genre, but really tries to take things in a completely different direction than is usually the case.

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So..like, does anybody know any good jokes?

The only thing that is clear at the beginning of the movie is that there is some kind of plague going around, that is probably responsible for wiping out most of humanity. We meet up with Paul a man that lives together with his wife Sarah and their teenage son Travis in a secluded house in the forest. They are pretty much cut off from everything, and only have each other to depend on. However the situation is beginning to look more grim every day, especially considering that their food is running out. One night they hear noises in the house, and they find that someone is trying to break in. The man responsible for that act is called Will, and at first Paul is very suspicious of him. Will tells them that the house looked abandoned from the outside, and that he was only trying to find some water for his own family. After a while, Paul reluctantly agrees to take Will and his family in. At first things are going well, and the two families are living amicably together. But as time passes by, a mutual distrust is beginning to take root. Is everyone telling the truth? Is everyone free of the disease? As suspicions grow, the tension begins to increase with every passing day with very dire consequences…..

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This man was left out as an extra for The Walking Dead and he is still frustrated about that. 

This is a movie that can be decribed as a psychological horror movie. It certainly has it’s flaws, which I will adress shortly. But it also does a lot of things right. For one thing it is highly original. When I first heard the description for this film, my first thought was “Oh, it’s another one of those kind of movies”. I expected either zombies or large abandoned cities where pockets of humanity still lived. But that really wasn’t the case. Almost the entire movie took place in one single location, and as such you run the risk of it becoming very boring. But I wasn’t bored for one minute. It tells the story of what happens to people when a situation like this would present itself, and it did so in a very realistic way. Here we have a movie that explores the human psyche, and how one changes when it comes to protecting family, instead of going along a well trodden path like zombies or stuff like that. And that was what made it all the more chilling.

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This is taking off road driving to a whole new level…

The cast consisted of pretty much unknown actors with the exception of Joel Edgerton, who played the role of Paul. Joel did a great job in my opinion of playing the desperate but also slightly paranoid father, who’s only thought is to protect his family. He puts enough emotion in the role to make it very believable and certain decisions he makes are tough, but most of the times you can relate to them. And that is mostly because of his acting. The film does leave you with a lot of questions at the end. And that is one of it’s biggest flaws. Quite a few things are left wide open at the end of the movie, and that can be a bit frustrating. It also is a pretty bleak and quite depressing film. A movie such as this is hard to recommend and it definitely won’t be for everyone. It is a type of horror that can crawl under your skin, and it certainly did that for me, but there will also be people who will experience it differently.

I give It comes at Night a 8 out of 10 score.

Blame!, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The Netflix original animeseries Knights of Sidonia, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand it has some very cool concepts, and definitely quite a few interesting episodes. On the other hand it also featured some very bland characters with little to no development of those said characters whatsoever. It is hard to get attached to a series in that way. I have done reviews for both Season 1 and Season 2 which you might want to check out if you are interested. This week Netflix has released a new animated feature made by the same people responsible for Knights of Sidonia. It is based on a 10 volume cyberpunk manga that was released in 1998. Has this movie been able to avoid some of the mistakes that were made in Knights of Sidonia ? Let’s find out shall we?

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Hi, my name is Killy and this is my gun. 

Blame! takes place in a very dark future, but it never becomes quite clear exactly where this story is taking place. A gigantic city that continues to expand and self replicate has been infected by a virus in the distant past. Because of this, it has decided that people should be wiped out. Pockets of humanity that are still alive struggle daily, scrounging for food and trying to avoid Watchers that are hellbent on killing everything. A small enclave of humans known as the Electro-fishers, are close to extinction. One of them, a girl named Zuru is out on a patrol trying to find food, together with a few of her companions. Unfortunately they are soon discovered by a Watchtower of the gigantic city, that unleashes a stream of enemies to kill them all. But then a mysterious stranger appears that manages to save them. Introducing himself as Killy, he says that he is human and is looking for people that have the Net Terminal Genes. With these, he might be able to stop the expansion of the city, and rescue humanity. But the question is if Killy’s motives are entirely noble, or if there is some darker purpose that he is working for….

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. 

Blame! has quite a few things that it does right. For one thing I really like the premise for this one. The story of an ever expanding city, that is totally focussed on wiping out humans is pretty cool. It created a very dark atmosphere that at times reminded me of the sci-fi classic The Matrix. The background designs, and animation are also pretty good. Even though at times it looked a bit like I was watching Knights of Sidonia, I thought it looked better than that series. Action wise there is a lot to enjoy as well. Killy has some pretty cool fight scenes, especially towards the end of the film, and those were highly entertaining.

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These people sure like to take every opportunity to show off their guns. 

Sadly though Blame! features characters that I really could not relate to at all. The only one that was remotely interesting was the main hero Killy, who looked very cool, but also had a dark and mysterious vibe to him that somehow worked. The rest of the cast though I could not care less about. In a post apocalyptic future, with people struggling daily, I think it would be very important to create a background for  your characters. But pretty much everyone in this movie seemed to made out of cardboard, without any kind of depth to them. And that for me was a major flaw that  made the movie at the end a bit of a forgettable experience. It was not a total waste though. As mentioned the concept itself is very cool, and there are enough scenes that are definitely worth watching. I just felt that this movie could have been so much better, and as such it was a wasted opportunity. Still, if you like dark cyberpunk science fiction movies, you might want to give this one a try. Just keep your expectations for it low.

I give Blame! a 6 out of 10 score.

Spectral, American Movie (2016)

Throughout history there has sadly been one constant factor that has kept mankind occupied: war. No matter what century you would choose to look at, there has always been some kind of war that was being waged at some place on the planet. There is a quote from Albert Einstein that also appears in the movie I am about to review : ” I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. A truly chilling prospect if you ask me. Warfare has also changed a lot over the past decades. These days people can be killed by the push of a button from a million miles away. There has yet to develop a situation that our modern weapons can’t deal with. But what if something like that were to happen? What if you were to fight an enemy that could not be killed by normal weapons…..?

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What are you looking at? They are invisible remember? 

Spectral takes place in the not too distant future. When a soldier gets killed by an unseen force on a battlefield in Moldavia, help is requested by the military. That help comes in the form of dr. Clyne, who is the designer of the so called hyperspectral imaging goggles, that allow soldiers to see things on the battlefield that they would normally not be able to. Together with a bunch of Special Ops soldiers, he gets sent into the city , in order to investigate this unknown enemy. It soon becomes clear though that they are not dealing with a conventional force. Weapons are useless against them, they move through walls like they are not even there, are invisible to the naked eye and are able to kill with a single touch. Soon the squad comes under siege, and when people are beginning to die, their only hope might rest with a bunch of children who seem to have found a way to stop them. However with so little people left, their task seems almost impossible…

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The annual Call of Duty conventions are getting more realistic each year. 

The first thing that springs to mind when you see this movie are videogames. Some of the scenery for this film, seems to have come straight from the highly succesful Gears of War games. And that’s not all. At times the way the action is shot, and the situations that arise, you really get the feeling that you are watching someone that is playing a videogame. Luckily though, it is a very good videogame. The special effects for this film, as well as the action are definitely the reason to watch this one. The spectral enemies the soldiers are facing, look really cool, as well as all the hightech weapons and gadgets the soldiers are using.

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Yep, this gun is big alright.

The group of soldiers are being played by couple of familiar faces, as well as a few unknowns. Max Martini plays the commander of the special forces unit, and one wonders at times if the guy really is from the military, seeing how many soldiers he has played throughout his career. Still, he always plays the role well, and in this movie that is no exception. James Badge Dale who portrays dr. Clyne, also does very little wrong. Most of the other characters though are pretty underdeveloped, and the same can be said for the story. It is all pretty straightforward, with little surprises, although the true nature of the enemy was pretty original.

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You are seeing this right? 

That said I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has plenty of action, some seriously cool setpieces, and if you like military science fiction movies I highly recommend this film. Ofcourse it won’t win the price for most original movie of the year, but if you can look past that, this movie has entertainment written all over it. This being a Netflix Original movie, I can honestly say that they are definitely on a roll with producing some very well made movies.

I give Spectral a 8 out of 10 score.

A wind named Amnesia, Japanese (Animated) movie, 1993

Memories. They pretty much are a part of our everyday lives. I would even go so far as to say they also define a lot of who we are. Some memories you will cherish forever: your first kiss, the first time you saw a particular movie or countless other happy events from your life. There might also be memories that you would rather forget and could live without. Whatever those might be, I think it would be even more dreadful to lose your entire memory. All the things you have experienced in your life, gone forever, not knowing who you are anymore, or your friends, and everything that is you. It is this frightening prospect that is the subject for the movie I am about to review.

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In A wind named Amnesia, a powerful storm sweeps across the world, causing the entire human race to lose all their memories. Everyday things like flying a plane, driving a car, and even talking, all of it is gone in an instant, causing society to collapse overnight. In the ruined wasteland of America, a young man called Wataru travels in search for answers. I am not going to say how Wataru still has certain abilities (that would be spoiling things for you), but just suffice it to say that he does. One day he comes across a mysterious woman called Sofia, who seems to know a lot more about the catastrophy that has befallen the Earth. Just who is Sofia, and why does she know so much? Pursued by a relentless robotic unit called a Guardian, Sofia and Wataru encounter a number of people that try to survive in the ruined world. The question is will Wataru find the answers he is looking for, or will the Guardian end it all before he finds out the truth….

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It is funny how time catches up to everything. This movie takes place in the year 1999, but I really have no, erm, memories about an event like this taking place in that year. That said this is a very good movie. It is actually one of the first Japanese animated movies I had ever seen, and it was always the storyline that drew me in for this one. I think it is very original, and it really shows what would happen if everyone were to forget everything. And with a frightening disease such as Alzheimer’s it is not altogether unrealistic. The animation, even though dating back almost 25 years now, still looks amazingly good.

Even though there is action in this movie, and also some mild fanservice, this film is more of a drama than an action movie. As such, there are certain points in the film, where it slows down, and that might not be for everyone. Still, I wasn’t bored by this movie for a single moment, and it was very cool to see it back again after so many years. If you like post apocalyptic films, with an original story, and don’t mind seeing somewhat older animation, I highly recommend this one. It is one of those films that will remain in your memory…..forever.

I give A wind named Amnesia a 9 out of 10 score.

ARQ, American/Canadian movie (2016)

I have very fond memories of the classic movie Groundhog Day. In that film, Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day, over and over again. It was a fantastic concept which also resulted in a very wonderful movie. Ever since Groundhog Day, timeloops have appeared in numerous movies and tv series. If done well, it can make for a great watch, for instance the recent animeseries Erased. Netflix has released a lot of great movies and shows this year, and they really seem to be on a roll. The sci-fi movie ARQ is Netflix’s attempt to create a new spin on the timeloop story.

ARQ takes place in a post apocalyptic Earth where something has gone drastically wrong with the world. The human race is the only species left, electricity is scarce, and the very air is hard to breath. Every day seems to be a struggle. One day the young man Renton wakes up in his house next to the girl he loves Hannah. Only seconds later a group of masked thugs break down the door to their appartment, and drag the bewildered couple straight down to the basement of the house. Renton has been working on a mysterious device called ARQ that is situated in the very same basement. He assumes this is what the masked men are after, and he desperately tries to find a way to escape. However, something goes horribly wrong and he gets shot while attempting to flee. But then something weird happens. Renton wakes up seconds later, right next to gis girlfriend. Caught in a timeloop from which there seems to be no escape, Renton and Hannah desperately try to find a way out. However time itself will be their greatest foe…

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This is one of those movies that just doesn’t do anything wrong, but also feels like you have seen this all before. Which is pretty funny, considering this is a movie about a timeloop. One of the things this movie does very well, is create a dark and tense atmosphere. The calamity that seems to have befallen Earth, never quite gets explained, and that somehow works for this film. It only adds to the sense of mystery that surrounds this movie. Robby Amell who plays Renton, and Rachael Taylor playing Hannah both do a pretty good job in their respective roles. The story of ARQ is one of the weaker points of the film. There are a lot of questions in the movie, that in the end will unfortunately not all be answered. Sometimes that works, as in the aforementioned disaster that devastated the Earth. But too many things are left wide open, and will leave you with a bit of a hangover at the end of the film.

That said, this is not a bad film. If you like scifi thrillers with a bit of a darker edge, there is enough to enjoy in this movie. Unfortunately though, as too many things are left unresolved, it will leave you wondering why you have invested all your precious time in it. And not even a timeloop can change that fact….

I give ARQ a 6 out of 10 score.