009 RE:Cyborg Cinema Review 1
Date: 2013 June 3rd Monday [14:54] | Posted By: Joe
We're not going to give you one, but two different takes on the latest anime cinema screening of 009 RE:Cyborg. We also have an interview with the film's director Kenji Kamiyama. Here's Joe's take on the title.
Production IG's Latest movie is a big budget action adventure based on the manga Cyborg 009 that started in the 1960's. Since then it's had several incarnations with different twists. The film was released in Japan in October 2012 and has already made its way to the UK at the BFI as part of a special screening with a Q&A from director Kenji Kamiyama. It'll also show in Scotland soon before hitting UK cinemas in June 2013 thanks to the good people from Anime Ltd. We like such a speedy turn around and hope it becomes such a regular thing for top notch titles.
This thoroughly modern feature needs to be seen on the big screen in 3D to get the full impact. Normally when it comes to 3D effects I'm a cynic and see it as a gimmick from studios. However for this it actually works. It gives depth to the 2D feel of the movie, with each layer on its own plain. It doesn't feel shoe horned in like some 3D films have been in the past. The glass effects with characters reflections especially stand out.
One question we had before watching the film was how do they handle subtitles for a 3D film? The answer is to make them 3D too, at first this is a bit jarring, but the brain soon adjusts, and the opening credits act as a warm up for you to get accustomed to it.
Keeping with the tradition of making Otaku News reviews spoiler free, the story follows the 00 team as they try and solve the mystery of terrorist bombers attacking skyscrapers with devastating results. Conspiracy theory, the fading power of the US and 911 are all touched on. The story starts with a fast pace and doesn't really stop. It's all action set piece after set piece. This is a good thing. Bullet time special effects are used, but not in a gratuitous way. They seem well placed, the first roof top fight is a great example of this and will probably be used in the future to show off the 3D setups of home cinema systems.
Animation is top notch, what you'd expect of Production IG. The whole movie is 3D CGI, but given a cell shaded effect to make it look 2D. The frame rate has also been reduced to shoot "on threes" or 8 frames per second, giving it a more traditional animation effect. It does certainly look a lot better than 3D movies that pretend to be 2D. They've paid a lot of attention to textures and other images, it's often hard to notice that the movie is actually 3D rendered. They've got the attention to detail right, with the characters having the correct weight move moving around, they avoid the crime of 3D animation being too smooth which often has jarring results. The in story computer screens, diagrams and HUDs are the exact sort of thing you'd expect from the Studio that brought you Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, no doubt they'll be studied by UX / UI people as interesting examples.
There are a few negative points to the film. We've got one embrace earlier on in the movie, that seems a bit clunky, the 3D models feel more like marionettes, than real characters in this scene. The story feels a bit too block buster. The scenario feels like any franchise could be switched into the story and it would work. There's also a few too many points left open that need explanation, like it's trying to be too clever and thought provoking, there are hints of Evangelion with this. Not all the loose ends are tied up, which feels a bit frustrating, you leave the cinema going, "but does that mean?".., you wish there was a bit more story and a bit a less action.
To sum up, 009 Re:Cyborg is an enjoyable action romp. You won't need to have seen any other of the Cyborg 009 anime or manga to enjoy the film. It's pure explosive anime action feature a feast for the eyes, definitely worth going to see in the cinema.