June 2, 2005


I just watched the 2004 version of Appleseed and it is absolutely spectacular. The audio was immersive, perfectly mixed, and fully exploited. The visuals were distinctly Masamune Shirow, from the extremely detailed renderings to his distinctive drawing style. And since Masamune is a perfectionist, there were absolutely no corners cut during the production of this film.

The audio was across the board in 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS (Japanese only). Extremely low frequencies for when the ground was supposed to be shaking, with aftershocks included. High frequencies were not cut, keeping those sounds realistic. The musical score and electronic soundtrack made the mood complemented the action without becoming the center of attention. Everything from shattered glass to grenade explosions to shuffling was accurately mixed in. And the mix was very precise about locating the source of sound, allowing me to pinpoint the speaker and really feel like things were happening all around me, exactly where they should be. Without sounding like they are from the speakers.

The English voice actors were excellent. No stuttered speech to match the mouth movements, as it would appear the animation was done with English in mind. I haven't watched with the Japanese audio track yet, but it's likely that they can match the English mouth movements easier, as English gives more play with the length and pacing.

The video had no stupid static scenes so the artists don't have to draw as much. People move. Eyes move. When you are looking at people, their bodies are not artificially rigid. Great pain was taken on realistic facial expression and character movement. There are a few instances where CG and artistry still weren't equal to a real person, but those were few. If you're willing to accept the visual style as without artifice, then the effort put into capturing human movement is exceptionally convincing.

And all of the depth and intellectual stimulation that Masamune puts into his works is still present. This is not just an action film, just as his manga work is not just pretty pictures. He has real vision and ideas about what the future could be like, both for the better and for the worse.

This film is so good I just ordered the Limited Edition version. I'll give this copy to my brother Dennis for his birthday.

Posted by josuah at June 2, 2005 4:47 AM UTC+00:00

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