Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Appleseed

directed by Shinji Aramaki

Appleseed poster  
The first thing that stands out about Appleseed is the way it looks. The backgrounds are all animated in 3D, giving a textured appearance that lends more realism to the movie. But all the characters look as though they have been drawn using more traditional animation techniques, with solid blocks of colour. In fact the people are also created in 3D, using an unusual method which incorporates motion capture. The effect is distinctive, and not unattractive.

But not amount of distinctive graphics will make up for a lacklustre story, so does Appleseed have any substance beneath its gloss?

The story begins in a post-war city in 2131 with an all-action scene. There's no speech as we watch a female soldier battling killer robots, surviving with a combination of great skill and extraordinary luck. She turns out to be Deunan Knute, an élite soldier. Just when it seems she has met her match she is extracted and taken to the city of Olympus.

Olympus is supposed to be a utopia, a place where humans and Bioroids can co-exist peacefully. Of course, like all places that are labelled utopian you know there's going to be something rotten at its heart. Bioroids are a genetically engineered species designed to live in peace with humans. Although the war is nominally over, there are still people who mistrust Bioroids and suspect them of plotting to replace humanity.

In Olympus Deunan meets Hitomi, who is assigned to show her around. She also has a traumatic reunion with Briareos, her former lover. Briareos was badly injured in battle, and he's now a cyborg. He may be stronger than he was before, but for some reason those who restored him didn't see fit to give him a body that looks remotely human.

Bioroids have their emotions suppressed so that they don't fall in love or get angry easily. But someone obviously is angry, sending robots with orders to kill Deunan. The city is clearly not a safe haven for her, and it all has something to do with whatever is hidden behind the Appleseed seal.

The plot of Appleseed is reasonably diverting, but it's very easy to figure out where it's going. There's quite a lot of spiel about the way mankind's nature is too self-destructive and warlike for our race to survive. Mix in a number of weepy moments amongst all the action and you get a movie that's intended to appeal to most tastes. It takes itself a little too seriously, but nevertheless it's fairly entertaining.

Film Details

Year: 2004

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson