So I saw an amazing AMV for this anime at Anime Boston and I was hooked. ( To this and t.a.t.u.) This anime, based on a video game really caught my attention. Its plot and characters are really strong and its premise taken from the video game is also really interesting. Makes me really wanna find the game and play it. I’m not exactly sure what the title of the game/anime means, but it evokes images of the anime from now on in my mind.
This anime focuses around Shiro Emiya, the son of an adopted father that taught him the virtue of helping those less
Shiro. He just wants to help.
fortunate. When his father passes away, he leaves his entire estate to him, and Shiro continues his pursuit of justice and fairness and help for those who need it. And then one day everything changes. When Shiro witnesses a battle between what seems to be two warriors, he runs away and is stabbed by one. Rin, a fellow classmate saves him and it is at that point that Shiro summons a Servant, Saber. Rin and her Servant Archer team up with Shiro and Saber and these two discover exactly what is going on.
What is going on is that they are in the middle of a centuries old battle for the Holy Grail. There are seven Masters and seven Servants that are fighting each other for control of that Holy Grail in order to grant their wishes. The only way to eliminate competitors is to kill the Masters or kill the servants. From the beginning it appears that killing Masters is more effective, for the Servants will just disappear. But things drastically change this time around as the battles continue. With Shiro’s attitude and the relationship he develops with Saber, nothing will ever be the same for these magical warriors battling for their lives.
Those are some sexy Servants/Masters.
And that’s what I like about this anime. Though it focuses around the battles, not all 24 episodes contain violent action sequences. Most focus on Shiro’s attempts to quell the violence and find another way in which they can avoid confrontation and yet acquire the Holy Grail. (And I won’t even get into how complicated the Holy Grail itself is.) Shiro is constantly, and pretty much annoyingly, protecting Saber and preventing her from her primary function, fighting. But it grows on you as the anime progresses. And that’s where they social/relationship aspect of the show grows from. You begin to discover the pasts of the characters and really wish that not a single character would die. (Kind of the case… Hard to explain.)
But there are great characters in this anime. Shiro, of course, is a conflicted, troubled, angsty main character that really has to use the anime to work out his issues. Rin, his fellow student and collaborator helps Shiro as much as she can while trying to gain the upper hand over him. Illya is a little girl with a tragic past that only needs help from others, and yet at the same time is spine-tinglingly ruthless. Shinji Mato is a troubled boy who only wants to prove himself and meets challenges in his own way (I rather like him and his Servant.) And those are just the Masters to name a few. There’s Saber, Shiro’s Servant with a ruthless attitude that borders on heroically suicidal. Rider, Shinji’s Servant that is sexy and majestic at the same time. And Archer,
Archer. He destroys.
Rin’s Servant with a hard exterior and heart of gold complex. And all these characters are based on mythological/historically ancient warriors. It’s great.
These amazing characters set against a modern backdrop sets up what comes out to be an amazing anime. The battles are epic, the Noble Phantasms are great powers to have, and the mana, attacks, and spells come right out of the video game realm. I’ve never thought of how easily story driven video games can easily be turned into anime/cartoons, but they can, and they have. (Tales games, Final Fantasy, ect.) So please, check this out, it’s worth a watch.
There is only one word that can completely encompass what this movie truly is.
Sucker Punch. Yes.
Plain and simply incredible. When I went with a crew to watch this movie, some didn’t know what to expect. Others were excited. Even few others, me and my roommate/best friend Ian were just about ready to cause some mayhem up in that theater because of pure joy. This movie, as of this year, is my favorite movie of 2011. Heck, best of the past two years, let’s just throw 2010 in there. I thought, hey, The Fighter will clinch my favorite and do okay at the Oscars. Granted. Now… If only Sucker Punch had come out in 2010. It would have blown The Fighter out of the water. This movie was some ridiculous shit. Hands down.
You really will be unprepared.
Let me try to explain this without giving anything away. Not much to give away though, it’s really all just about the experience. Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is a supposed mental patient accused of killing her sister and almost murdering her father. She became deranged after her mother’s death and couldn’t take it any longer. Her father takes her to a mental asylum in Vermont and she is held there until she’ll be lobotomized in a week.
Parallel to this runs Baby Doll’s inner fantasy of being taken to a bordello in which the girls dance for their clients. Baby Doll, being that unattainable virgin, is being withheld for the high roller (Jon Hamm) that is set to come in five days. Baby Doll plans on escaping before that day and enlists the help of four other girls at the bordello. Sweet Pea (Abby Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung). With their help, Baby Doll further escapes from reality into her mind as she dances to obtain the four items she needs to stage an escape. And that’s basically it.
Let me just start off by saying that Emily Browning was amazing in this movie. She’s beautiful, talented, and really come into her own in her early twenties.
Emily Browning. New Favorite Actress.
I’ve seen all her movies since 2000, major and minor roles (Ghost Ship, Darkness Falls, Lemony Snicket’s, The Uninvited, now Sucker Punch) and enjoyed every one of them. As she’s grown up, she has taken on a wide array of movies, from horror to children’s to action and the occasional drama. If I had to pick a favorite actress that I’m going to watch from now on, I’m going to place my bid on Emily Browning.
And that’s not to demean the rest of the girls in this film. I really enjoyed the Abby Cornish/Jena Malone combo. Acting as sisters who followed one another to the bordello, these two really did feel like sisters. I’ve found Jena Malone great since Donnie Darko with her alternative look and quirky acting, and now I’ve got a new actress to look out for. Abby Cornish, a new up and
Sweet Pea & Rocket
comer from Australia, was quite the actress, and I didn’t even know she was from there! In other movies she’s done (Bright Star, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) she stuck to her roots and did more period pieces. But I find now that she’s broken more into action and other forms of drama, I feel we’ll be seeing a lot more of Abby Cornish.
Blondie & Amber. They're okay.
And then there’s Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung. Let me put it this way. Vanessa Hudgens is attractive. She may be talented in the way of singing and Disney Channel acting. But the part as a supporting cast member in Sucker Punch was about the only thing she could play. She was more for show than for play if you catch my drift. Jamie Chung on the other hand was a bit better. Playing as the fragile transporter bordello girl in this movie was not a stretch for a girl I’ve only seen in Sorority Row (not bad, I must say, even though most critics wouldn’t agree. It was brutal, at least.) Oh, AND SHE WAS IN DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION. Enough said.
Who I have to give it up to in this movie is Oscar Isaac. That man can act. As Blue, the bordello boss and mental asylum orderly, he switched between roles flawlessly at the end and kept up that “don’t mess with me, I have a short fuse” type of acting style. Although he may seem not that strong or menacing, he pulled it off with his voice and actions throughout the entire film. The first thing I’d seen him in was Pu-239 (great film) and I remember him distinctly in
Oscar Isaacs, Prince John. Better in Sucker Punch
Robin Hood as Prince John, quite the effeminate, yet brutal character. I guess if I had to compare him in acting to anyone, I would say Joaquin Phoenix (like in Gladiator).
Now, let’s talk about the special effects. I’ve heard people liken this movie to a two hour Final Fantasy cutscene. Yes. I agree. But about 1,000 times better. This movie was insane when it came to special effects. No need to see this in 3-D, this movie was just as badass in 2-D. This movie has everything (probably why they called it Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense, Thriller, Action… etc.) There are zombie WWI German soldiers, Orcs, Dragons, killer robots, you name it, this movie has got it. And it’s not cliche. It gives an authentic feeling to the old classics that every man in the world has imagined battling. And then it does it. Zack Snyder directive attention to the details of the small things, example, the texture of bullets and shell casings, the way glass looks when it is rained on, the inner workings of a functioning robot. All present and accounted for, slowed down, and shown in detail. That’s what I call devotion to the art of art direction.
All in all, this movie is hands down the best movie I’ve seen in a year. But what else do you expect from Zack Snyder. Let’s recap, shall we? 300, Watchmen, Guardians of Ga’hoole, Sucker Punch. That beginning of a laundry list of badass movies is what I like to call ridiculous. Zack Snyder is fastly becoming one of my favorite directors. 11 out of 10. Yes. 11.
Oh, and the SOUNDTRACK. Check it out, it’s quite amazing.