Lucien’s Review: Shin Godzilla

What a fascinating film I just watched.  I love me some old Godzilla movies.  The effects are so bad, but the kaiju fighting is just too much fun.  Plus, watching them dubbed adds an extra layer of cheese that cannot be compared.  I didn’t really like the new Godzilla movie that America made, partly because there was so little of the actual monsters.  A similar criticism could easily be leveled at this movie, but I won’t.  Why?  Because this film just took the most fascinating approach.  There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s get down to it.

The plot of this film is just focused exclusively around Godzilla.  No other kaiju to fight.  This movie has our titular monster as the big bad, which again sounds like it would be boring, but this movie just so odd.  It tells the story of a new Godzilla in a world where he never existed, now coming for Japan (what is his beef with that place?  What the fuck did they do to him?) and the Japanese government desperately trying to save their country from destruction.

This film is perhaps the most political movie I’ve seen in years.  It’s weird.  95% of this movie is spent with characters just talking.  There is so much talk about Japanese politics that you almost forget that you’re watching a Godzilla film for a while.  I wanna hate that, but I don’t.  Getting to see this Japanese government and some genuinely-likeable characters desperately trying to figure out what to do in the face of an international threat that is looking to take excessive measures to stop Godzilla is genuinely touching.  The head of a special department who is trying to figure out a way to stop Godzilla specifically is my favorite.  You genuinely get the feeling that he is invested in this effort to save his country.

Since the entirety of the movie revolves around the political sphere, if you hate listening to people talk about politics for almost the entirety of the 2 hour runtime of this film, you’re gonna hate it.  That’s the big and small of it.  Even when you see things happening in service to the plot of the film, they always find a way to bring it back to the the government’s efforts and how international pressure comes into play.  It’s actually kinda smart.  You genuinely feel for these people who are stuck in a world where they have red tape and public to worry about.  I like this perspective.  In the American film, it was all about a small section of military characters, none of whom were particularly interesting.  This movie has a kind of authenticity because they keep it focused on Japan and make the outside world as not evil, but disconnected.  You can take all this for what you will.

That being said, this film has a LOT of elements that are silly to the point of ridiculousness.  Since there are a lot of American characters in this movie, you get some genuinely funny Engrish.  This female character who is the American liaison to Japan is my favorite.  It’s clear that she’s a Japanese actress and English is NOT her first language.  But believe it or not, they get real American actors to play American parts.  The problem is that the writing for these actors is clearly done by somebody where English is their first language.  So the dialogue is so fucking stilted.  It’s kind great.  Oh boy.

Speaking of ridiculous things, let’s talk about the effects in this movie.  In the old films, it’s clearly someone in a suit.  This time they decided to trade in the suit for CG, and it’s…terrible.  I love it.  When you first see Godzilla in his original form, it looks so bad that I was laughing my ass off.  The eyes especially.  That was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Maybe that’s why they worked so hard to keep the focus off him.  Because too much time with the monster and we would have been laughing our asses off.

But it isn’t devoid of cool effects.  There is one scene that just blows me away.  It’s when they finally do real damage to the monster, and he loses his cool.  What follows may not be amazing, but is done with so much finesse and really good musical cues that you feel how desperate the situation is.

One thing I do wanna point out is a track used in this film.  When I first heard it, I laughed my ass off.  It’s so clearly robbed from Evangelion.  I mean, to the point of shameless.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I know that FUNimation is at least partly licensed in the production of this film, I’d be amazed that they haven’t sued the living shit out of this studio.  It’s so obviously the track from Evangelion.  They do change it just a little bit later in the film, but it’s not enough to make me think it’s anything else.

I also wanna talk about this film’s weird habit of suddenly taking strange angle shots right the fuck out of nowhere!  I mean nowhere!  They’ll suddenly have a shot from the weirdest angle and then cut away.  Whoever was behind that decision, I want to know why.  These shots just come and go in a split-second, and serve no purpose in any scene they are in.

Overall, I’m not sure how to rate this film.  There are a TON of flaws that one could easily nit-pick to death.  But, I had fun watching it.  This is a genuinely entertaining movie, for me.  Maybe it’s because I liked these characters, and the politics they were talking about was genuinely interesting.  I don’t know.  But your mileage with this movie will vary.  So glad I watched it with subtitles.  If I had had to suffer the dub, I know I wouldn’t have been able to take ANY of it seriously.  The genuine strength of the performances comes out only in original Japanese.  This review may not make much sense to you, but this is the best I can talk about it.  Do with my review what you will.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Evangelion 3.33 DVD Release – Late 2015/Early 2016?! The F*CK?!

I’m about to have a nerdy, pissy moment where I just rant about something that bugs me.  If that isn’t what you’re into, I’d recommend reading other things.  But this just pisses me off.  There was a joke on a Reddit forum that said, “12th Impact will happen before this movie gets released.”  I like that.  It’s kinda funny.  But it’s only kinda funny, because the cruel reality is that it might be true.  Ugh!

In a release in FUNimation’s Twitter (linked here), they said that they were looking for a release in late 2015/early 2016.  I am calling bullshit on this!  Why the delay?  What’s the problem.  Well, I put my journalism skills to the test, and did a little digging.  It seems that the creator of the series didn’t like the dub, so FUNimation is redoing it from the group up.  Can I just put out there how much bullshit it is that that guy has this kind of power over a film that already completed!  It was released in theaters, here in America, in ENGLISH!  Don’t like the dub?  Too fucking bad!  The product was made!  You can get your panties in a bunch all you like.  Creative license should count for something, should it not?  Oh, right, this guy is a fucking god to fanboys/girls of the franchise, so of course his opinion has to carry so much weight.

I don’t know what pisses me off more about this.  What is it about Japanese production companies and how pissy they get about stuff.  Whether it be Kotaku and their need to kick dirt at Hideo Kojima as he leaves, or the endless bullshit that comes from Square Enix, what it is about Japanese entertainment companies that makes them so fussy about the smallest things?  This movie was completed 2 years ago.  It should have been out by now!  Yet they didn’t, because the series creator doesn’t like the dub?  Fuck that guy!  Sometimes, a series has to do some creative work with a dub.  Why?  Because otherwise, to American audiences, it doesn’t sound right.  If you translate a lot of things straight from Japanese to English, you’d get some really weird sentences.  ADR directors who can take creative license and make an anime series/film sound good should be respected.

Although, this isn’t the first time that this franchise has had to get its panties in a bunch, is it?  Remember how the original series ended?  That was terrible.  All because the show ran out of money.  So, the ending was pretentious and stupid.  Everything wrong with that show was tied up in the final three episodes.  Ah, but they had a movie made!  Finally, the creator’s vision could be brought to life like never before!  Oh, yeah, that was even more pretentious.  Between all the segments that had Shinji on the train, and the ENDLESS talks about how sad Shinji is, the third act of the series was just awful.

So yeah, for those who wanted to own this movie and financially support it (I have nothing against piracy, but I believe in buying things when you want to support the companies that make them.  But if you want to make things easy, no judgment here), you get to wait potentially another year.  Ah, but what happens if Anno doesn’t like the next dub?  How long are we going to cater to his pretentious ass?  You tell me.

Until next time, a quote,

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.”  – John Ruskin

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Where the F*ck is Evangelion 3.33?! and a side-note on Kingdom Hearts III

This has gone WELL beyond the point where it is ridiculous.  For real, instead of actually talking about this movie, FUNimation has seen fit to simply choose to ignore it.  Like the people who pre-ordered it on Amazon just forgot.  I have to talk about this, because this pisses me off!  They talked about a tour of the film to specific theaters nationwide.  I see that FUNimation has decided to milk this cash-cow for all its worth.  Now, however, their total and utter silence on this is beyond insulting.  I would think that they would be rushing to get the film out.  If it was good enough for theaters – it’s good enough for DVD/Blu-Ray!  So where is it?!  Where is this movie?!  It’s been over a year, and nothing has come out.  Where the fuck is this movie?!

This is the year of companies in Japan fucking with their audience.  I just don’t get why they think it’s a good idea.  At least with Final Fantasy XV, it’s Tetsuya Nomura’s ego project.  What’s the excuse here?  It’s done!  The film is fucking done.  What possible reason do they have to delay it?!  Do they even known?!  Does anyone?!  I’m dying to get an answer here.  Someone on Reddit said that we should “politely” take our issues to FUNimation.  Well eff that!  It’s been over a year since you released this film in theaters.  I could maybe accept this bullshit from HBO, but you are FUNimation.  You all ran as fast as you could to get Attack on Titan out in English.  I refuse to believe that a film that myself and other people actually want to see would go beneath your notice.  Did it get lost in the shuffle?  Were you too busy working on shit like Tokyo Ghoul (yes, I’m sorry, it’s shit) to notice the film remakes that everyone has been waiting for?  I want an explanation!

I don’t get how so many Japanese companies can make these kinds of rookie mistakes.  If it isn’t Square Enix saying that a remake of Final Fantasy VII wouldn’t be financially feasible (the stupidest statement of all time.  For real, that is so stupid that it bear repeating).  While we’re on the subject of Square Enix, let’s talk about Kingdom Hearts III.  I am hearing a lot of stuff about this game coming out this year.  That…confuses me a little.  I haven’t seen a single English trailer.  They just started development of this game last year.  For real, this all feels REALLY rushed, to me.  I hear them talking about Marvel and Star Wars and Frozen worlds.  All three of which sound terrible.  It sounds like something being rushed out the door as a cash-grab.  We’ve had enough of that with this franchise.  This company has been delaying and delaying and they are still hiring people for Final Fantasy XV.  Why is this game being rushed to market so fast.  We don’t have screenshots.  We don’t have anything.  What is this game and where is it coming from?

But yeah, this all comes back to – where the fuck is Evangelion 3.33?!  FUNimation, if you would be so kind a to let me know, me and my split personality would be most appreciative, you teasing fuckers.

Until next time, a quote,

“FUNimation: you should (not) be watching.”  -Reddit comment

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Attack on Titan

I know, a lot of you are probably in shock.  I can hear your thoughts now.  “Seriously?!”  “How can you like that show?!  It has all the subtlety of a jackhammer that is backed up by a wrecking ball!  One Direction has more nuance than that!  You go on and on about your love of great stories.  So what the hell is this doing on here?!”  Valid complaints, I admit.  This show has a lot of flaws that, if it were most anything else, would make me absolutely hate it.  There are so many elements that should work against this series in every single way.  And to be fair, they often do.  But I have to admit it, I love this series.  I love it so freakin’ much.

To be fair, this series is one thing and one thing only – adrenaline.  Pure, unbridled adrenaline.  I guess this is a kinda review but not really.  There will be no score at the end.  It is just me talking about it.  I don’t do reviews on TV shows.  I might do a First Take or a SION post, but never reviews.  There is just too much to talk about with a series to give it a proper review.

Attack on Titan is all about motion, action and adrenaline.  There isn’t a second that goes by in this series that isn’t high-octane action, with a pinch of enough mild moments to not wear your body out before it even starts.  If anything, the calculated way that they mix adrenaline and contemplative moments seems almost perfectly-coordinated.  It is that good.

This brings us to the next thing about the series that I love – motion.  The motion in this show is always break-neck speeds, but done in a way that is so well-animated that it is feels like choreographed stunts.  This series was made by the same people who made High School of the Dead, and it really shows.  This series has Madhouse’s signature style of motion all over it, and bless the series for it.  No joke, the fast-paced action and how they perfectly-capture it works so well.

Which brings us to the next thing to talk about – the scale.  This is a series all about scale.  The scale of the Walls around the city.  The scale of the buildings.  The scale of the Titans.  The scale of the soldiers.  Everything is about size and how size is used.  These people took on the Michael Bay style of scaling something and improved on it, vastly so.  When they want to show off the scale of the series, they do it almost impeccably.  It makes every action scene that much better to watch.  What’s more, it never falters.  Ever.  There is not a single action scene in this series that falls flat.  I have no idea if they knew how big this series would get, but whoever the animation team was behind this, they clearly took their time to get it right.

That’s not to say that everything in this show is perfect.  The lack of subtlety sometimes does work against it.  This series was also made by the person who made Death Note, and while I love that series to death (it is one of my favorite anime of all time), that series has all the subtlety of a ham sandwich.  It is over-the-top almost constantly.  So is this series.  Sometimes it is funny.  Other times, it is ham-fisted and WAY too corny.  Then there are the Titans themselves.  Sometimes they look absolutely awesome. No joke, some of these monsters earn all the epicness they are given.  Those creepy smiles that they all seem to have, open-mouthed, unrealistically long and with HUGE teeth.  There are some, though, where I guess they ran out of money for the series, and they drew the STUPIDEST faces on them.  The scowling female Titan is my favorite.  Her face looks so fake that it is more than a little funny.  I suppose the almost-film quality animation had to falter somewhere.

Another issue I have is that the gore factor in this series is REALLY overhyped.  This show can be bloody, but there is almost no true gore.  False advertising.  I was expecting this series to be a bloody mess, but it keeps cutting away at the good stuff.  What gives?!

Part of me is curious what the story behind this series was.  They devoted a TON of quality animation to this series.  That kind of financial investment, was that all on faith that this series would be huge?  Was there a model that they were going off of?  I am curious to find out what got them to invest so much into something I had never heard of before Tumblr absolutely exploded because of.

So yeah, I love this series.  I love it to death.  Call me sad or into terrible shows.  In a lot of ways, this show is so utterly-cliche.  The characters have all the depth of a trampoline.  The element that truly keeps the series going is the plot.  It does have a lot of twists and turns.  And the more that you learn about what the Titans truly are, the more interesting it becomes.  There are growing hints that they are not some abstract monster, but a man-made creation.  Part of some darker purpose.  That is interesting.  In a way, that is sequel-bait, but I refused to believe that FUNimation hasn’t thrown money at this series.  After all, it is big on a level that Fullmetal Alchemist is.  So yeah, we’ll see where it goes next.

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s sad, what most people here are willing to settle for, in exchange for some fleeting sense of security.  You know?  And make no mistake, it absolutely is fleeting.”  -Armin Arlet, Attack on Titan

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Harry Potter Anime? Hell Yes!

I’m going to put out there something that may not be popular with many people – I hated the Harry Potter movies.  For real, all of them.  I hate them all.  They are all cash-ins that started out so-so and stayed that way.  It isn’t that they are actively terrible.  That would be something to enjoy, much in the same way I enjoy the Twilight films.  They are all so bad that it’s kind of funny.  I can even enjoy the Hunger Games films when I’m not taking them seriously and watch them as a comedy, much in the same way I did Divergent.  But the Harry Potter movies had so much more potential for cool and they totally butt-fucked it into oblivion.  Why?  Well, there was money to be made and they had to market everything.  With a couple notable exceptions, like the guys who played Dumbledore, Lupin and Sirius (if they hadn’t made his entrance into the third film so bad.  For real, Gary Oldman could have made that awesome, but his presence in the third movie was not the least bit emotional, as it was in the book.  He was just a cooky guy), along with the woman who played Professor McGonagall, it was terrible.

However, there came some wonderful human being who decided to take how shitty those movies were and show us how these books were really meant to be portrayed – as Harry Potter Animeanime.  Look to your right, and you shall see what I mean.  Click on it and bask in the radiance that is that wonderful idea.  Look on the brilliant character designs that actually look like what you imagined from the book.  You must look on how amazing it is with a quiet reverence for the brilliant SOB who saw that anime is the PERFECT medium for this series.  I mean, think about it – you could incorporate everything that was great about the books!  With animation, so much more of the elements of the book series that the films couldn’t make good could come together in a beautiful way.  The magic battles would look fantastic, since the use of color could be done in a much more profound way.  Not to mention – we could actually get the magic right!  One of my biggest pet-peeves in the third film was that the Patronus spell was totally botched!  I imagined it like an animal charging from the wand.  A wispy animal that would be like light and smoke, attacking the Dementors.  Can you just imagine how awesome anime could make that look?!

Then there was the botched Death Eater attack at the Quidditch World Cup in the fourth movie.  In the book, I always saw that as a kind of neon, terrifying light show.  In the movie, it was fast, the shots didn’t show anything, and they cut out some of the dark aspects of the scene.

Which is another thing – in the anime of the books, they wouldn’t have to pander to kids!  So, in some of the more sensitive points of the novels that the films glossed over to avoid pissing off more Christard soccer moms than they already were, they could show it in all its glory.  Anime is still niche enough that they could get away with it.  Look at Attack on Titan!  That’s a series that is gory as fuck and about giant naked people who slaughter the fuck out of people.  Thanks to Tumblr, it’s a cultural icon!  For real, it’s almost as ubiquitous to the Internet as Adventure Time!  If we can go all the way with the darkness of stuff like that, we can easily take the darkness of the books and REALLY have a go with making it actually frightening.

They could also take a hell of a lot more time out to develop characters.  You could do it like Attack on Titan does with how they tell each chapter of their story.  They have these little things that signify which little arc they’re in.  They could do the same for each year at Hogwarts.  That would work wonderfully, and we could actually go through the elements of the book.  Maybe even add that change that Rowling wanted to make with Harry and Hermoine getting together!  If you’re about to bitch, shut up!  It’s true, her and Harry would have made a much better couple.  In fact, could we focus more on her?  She was clearly the superior intellect of the lot and had a far more interesting story than the others.  Let’s make her a much more prominent figure.  So yeah, we could get to know and care a lot more about these characters in an anime.  Part of the problems with the film was that you never understood why Snape was such a dick to Harry.  They had to gloss over just how hard it was for him to see Lily get with Harry’s dad.  I’m with him, actually.  Harry’s dad was a dick!

But the thing that an anime of these books could do the best of all – the climaxes.  My biggest complaint in all the films was that it totally fucked up the third act of each story.  The best parts of the books were seeing how the mystery that they were trying to solve and what all the build-up was leading to.  You were on the edge of your seat as you got to those pages!  I loved it!  Still do, despite now having grown up and realizing that in real life, we would bomb the fuck out of Hogwarts, especially after Voldemort started blowing up our world.  The movies consistently screwed it up.  The third film was the worst.  In the book, the reveal of Sirius Black, Lupin’s connection and affliction and the truth about Ron’s rat and who else was involved took its time.  It was amazingly dramatic.  The film rushed the fuck out of that!  It annoyed me to no end!  You saw that Sirius was angry and looking for payback, but he was still a smart guy who had spent years orchestrating his escape.  He had a kind of charm about him, with the reader not knowing if he was the good guy or bad.

An anime version of the books would be so awesome!  I really hope you agree, because it’s true.  For real, FUNimation, if you’re paying attention – find a way to get the rights to make this series!  We would all thank you.

Until next time, a quote,

“I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for.”  -Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Delay of Evangelion 3.33 is Bullsh*t!

I know that probably nobody who works at FUNimation will read this, but I just thought that I would do a brief post about something that is pissing me off – the delay of Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo, here in the states.  And before people rag on me for not wanting subtitles, I have loved the dubs for the first two movies, and that’s how I want to see the third.

See, there was this sick English trailer released for the film.  The first one of its kind.  And oh my god, I was pumped!  Made it even better when there was a bit at the end that said that it was coming out on March 31st!  I was about to run and pre-order on Amazon, before I noticed a little thing that said that it was had been delayed.  I looked it up, and according to the site, it has been delayed until August 25th.  Now that is REALLY annoying, but it gets worse – that’s in the UK!  For real, the UK has a confirmed final release date of August 25th.  But here in the States, when you go on Amazon, it’s available for pre-order, but has no release date.  None at all.  A little odd, considering that they have it for pre-order.  Then, I looked on FUNimation’s website.  I needed to know why it was delayed.  The reason has pissed me the fuck off!

It’s a stunt to make money.  For real, that’s it.  See, they are delaying it in the States so that they can keep it in theaters for longer.  Which means, it’s so that they can milk it for more money.  And do you know what that means?!  That means that this film could end up being delayed until the end of the fucking year!  Because they want to make more money!  That is fucking bullshit!  Release the damn thing, already!  It’s done!  For real, it’s already done!  Is your precious bottom line really that important to you?!  I realize that not one damn person from FUNimation will see this, but you know what – I hope they do.  And realize that what they are doing is dumb!  It’s been two years that we’ve been waiting.  Let’s end it now!

That is all.

Until next time, a quote,

“Stupid is as stupid does.”  -Forrest Gump

Peace out,

Maverick