Based on the Japanese manga (where all good stories come from) written by Nobuaki Minegishi, what incredible things can I say about Oldboy? Considered the best in the Revenge trilogy, Oldboy comes from a very visceral place combining elements of all
kinds of storytelling into one film. It’s got revenge and tragedy, theatrical protestations and all the heart and music of an opera. People have said (CNN has said) that it is one of the 10 best Asian films ever made. Let’s back that up and rephrase. There’s no need to include Asian in that statement. Ten best films ever made? Sounds good to me.
I’ve seen Oldboy twice now and I’ve been thoroughly entertained both times. The story is fresh and there’s just enough plot and action that keeps you captivated to the edge of your seat. Visually striking, poetic in the way it is formulated and the scenes are shot… Think about the snazziest guy you know that does things in such an elegant way and give him a beat-up haircut and a hammer. That’s this movie in a nutshell.
If you laugh, then the world laughs with you…
Revenge, as I’ve talked about in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is played with in this movie as well. Just when you think you have the good and bad guy figured out, it turns itself on its head. Sympathy is the keyword in all these films. You are meant to feel sympathetic towards all characters in this film. Nobody is spared a reason for doing what they do, and that makes it all the easier to see this as a truly brutally honest humanistic film.
Basic plot, shall we? Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) was kidnapped after a drunken night out around his daughter’s birthday. He vanishes from society for 15 years and we get to see a montaged version of that process. Through Oh Dae-su’s diaries, we see the tortured mind that has no idea of his crimes or who he wronged. He writes down every name he can remember in case he has to seek
I forgot to mention Ji-tae Yu, but he did some great work in this movie too.
revenge or beg forgiveness, it’s all up in the air at this point. But, with no reason or rhyme, Oh Dae-su is released after 15 long years of seeing no one and having no company other than a T.V. This leads him on a calculated and cold chase for the man who put him away for seemingly no reason.
Choi Min-sik is a theatrical master in this film. I’m pretty sure Park Chan-wook liked him so much that he brought him back for Lady Vengeance for that reason (different character, just as good). He has a great sense of theatrical, dramatic moments, and he takes his time in delivering lines. That’s what I found interesting about this movie (and Lady Vengeance). Choi Min-sik gathers his thoughts (as a person not on camera would) and says things as if he is choosing his words carefully (no script style). It’s a very unique and non-traditional way of acting, and I enjoy it every time I see him (i.e. watch I Saw The Devil).
The cinematography in this film is a bit more fluid, but you see the same basic ideas come across in this one that you saw in Sympathy for Mr. Revenge. Long shots, wide angles, an extreme focus on the bigger picture. This movie has a fight scene from a side angle that is about 5 minutes long and took 17 takes in 3 days to make. Uncut and visceral, it’s realistic fight scenes like this that make martial arts films being made today possible. (You can see a similar scene in Tony Jaa’s The Protector.)
The plot is fantastic and the cast is great as usual. It’s movies like this that only come around once in a lifetime that everything comes together perfectly to make a film that transcends genre, style, and overall movie like quality. You feel you are watching something more real and ethereal than you expected to see with something created by man. I can’t say anything bad about this movie and I feel, for all audiences (above 13, I’d say) this movie is worth watching again and
A strange sense of Korean comedy…
again. Moviemakers out there, if you don’t already have this for your collection, get it. This should change the movie industry (hopefully) for the next 20 years. And I really hope Spike Lee doesn’t remake it…
This 11 episode anime was a little break from the monotony of the longer, 26 episode anime I’ve recently been watching. Found on Hulu (and thank you Hulu for providing anime to a small portion of your viewing audience) I watched this one rather quickly, quite obviously. But I watched it quickly due more to the fact that it was so damn fascinating. I read that this was a highly overlooked anime due to its unconventional length and plot. I don’t know necessarily how to classify the genre of this anime, but I would consider it of a sort of sci-fi doomsday with a sort of revelation coming of age story. Classy.
This story centers around two twins, Thor and Rai (both voiced by Alison Viktorin). Having been born on the Balkan galaxy system (150 light years from Earth), the lead a more secluded life on a outlying planet meant only to be an
Key anime art of Jyu Oh Sei. Different, right?
imitation terraform of Earth. It’s been 250 years since humans left the planet and life has unusually declined in this new living environment. Odd, but at the same time an amazing twist for this anime. Thor and Rai are two young boys who, as is now the fashion, won’t see much past 40 or 50. Not fully knowing this, the two boys plan on separate futures, both leading them back to Earth.
Key characters of the show.
And then disaster strikes. Thor and Rai’s parents are brutally murdered in their science lab for what appears to be no good reason. Upon finding them, Thor and Rai are kidnapped and trasported to the prison planet Chimaera. Meant for the wicked and despicable of the Balkan system, these two must survive a bevvy of human killing plants and wildlife that threatens to consume them at any point.
And wouldn’t you know it! Rai is taken into the belly of a Belasoma and killed within the first 10 minutes of the show. Now that’s something to admire. An anime that’s not afraid to kill of an important character in the first episode. Although there are constant flashbacks to this loss, Thor (now as a slightly older boy, voiced by Sean Michael Teague) must fight to become the Beast King and escape Chimaera in order to find his parent’s killers.
Third, what a B.A.
With this interesting plot in place, a slow, yet steady forward progression was created all leading up to a climax that was reached effectively and not clicheingly at all in 11 episodes. With a great twist on the flora of Chimaera being more powerful than the humans who inhabit it, a sort of Jumanji situation is created for Thor and the other prisoners of a planet with no guards and cells, only the threat of death. Despite this threat of death, the humans of Chimaera don’t band together to stay alive. They separate into four clans who, for the most part, kill among themselves and each other. These clans are only separated by skin color (what a commentary!) and hold women in high esteem due to their being only 20% of the population. With an emphasis on the survival of the species with sex and violence, it’s quite the show to watch.
Chen kinda dropped the ball on the strong character list...
Although there are some setbacks. With this survival of the species, there comes this inner turmoil in all characters to hold onto their humanity. And, as the show progresses, it never seems that any of the main characters are in any danger. Yes, they’ve mastered a way of living on a death bound planet, but their lifestyles in a brutal world seem somewhat sercure and safe. Also, this is a prison planet. Why is there no mention of any crimes? Yes, Thor and Rai are completely innocent, but what about all the other characters? Are they there for the same reason? It may have been explained quite quickly at the end, but I’m not all too sure.
Tiz (Trina Nishimura). Sexual tension at its finest.
There was some fine voice acting in this anime as well. For the most part… Sorta. Sean Michael Teague seemed to be a bit too old and young at the same time for Thor as a 15 year old versus an 11 year old. His soft spoken words didn’t necessarily speak to a death hardened child, but he made up for it in the end. Tiz (Trina Nishimura) was fine, and she even reminded me of a younger Yuffie type character. She certainly looked and sounded it. Eric Vale performed wonderfully as the ambiguous character Zagi, leader of the misfit boys. And Third (Duncan Brannan) you’ll just have to watch the character he becomes. It’s quite a stirring ending of the show. And sadly, as usual, Chris Sabat’s character performed for one episode of awesomeness, and then died. So is life.
With a decent fluidity in the animation when it came to the fighting scenes (that’s a big key for me that makes or breaks my viewing experience) and great opening and closing songs, I really rathered enjoyed this anime about life in the dismal future, and find it gave me a glimmer of hope there at the end for humanity. So definitely check this out for a watch. A solid 7.4 out of 10.