Review: Appleseed

This should catch up my backlog of things to review.  Appleseed is a Japanese animated film from 2004 which I was first introduced to as an example of a trend towards newer, shinier, and most especially more detailed animation from Japanese studios as their style evolves.  Stylistically it’s quite interesting, as a result.  The backgrounds and scenery are hugely detailed and have a somewhat “realistic” feel; but the actual characters are portrayed in the traditional “anime” style.

Plot-wise, it’s an adventure story with questions raised about the nature of life, human ethics, what it means to be a person, and so forth.  The actual adventure is unremarkable: find the special person, rescue the gadget, save the world.  Yay!

The film owes a lot to Blade Runner, with the major ethical question being the treatment of a race of totally-not-replicants-we-swear – you can tell they’re not because they’re considered (at least by the people in charge) to be a valuable part of society, though subjected to various stigmas, subject to potentially short lifespans, and not allowed to reproduce because of social stability or something.  So some people want to wipe them out, some people want them to integrate better with society, and a (human) lunatic fringe wants humanity gone and the “Bioroids” to take over.

The question is – let’s say, not sufficiently addressed.  As a result, it’s a momentous bit of philosophy hanging over a cheesy blow-’em-up film which muddles the tone severely – especially the five minute or so segment in which the problem is attempted to be addressed, but nothing particularly substantial is said on either side.

It looks good, but despite pretensions there’s not much substance to it.  I’ll give it a C, since I seem to have started grading everything.

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