And now I begin the journey of slobbering and raving all over The Matrix series. You know those experiences in movies when, after it’s all over, you want to believe what you saw is real? I had that. And the insane desire to practice martial arts moves. I can say with pure conviction that this movie was the exact point where I defined
That’s a stunner right there.
myself as a person. My love for action/martial arts films started here. My love for metal also started here. With how I’m saying this was such a definitive movie in my life, how can it not be considered amazing and a game changer?
For those who don’t know what The Matrix as a movie/concept is, I’m not gonna reveal too much, but I’m going to talk about this movie at great length. So sit back, relax, and be ready to jump into that rabbit hole.
The Matrix is the story of Neo (Keanu Reeves), a computer hacker by night and a computer programmer by day. The duality between his life is cleverly dictated by colors and clothing as well as surroundings. On a constant search for Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), Neo must steer two lives as Mr. Anderson and Neo in order to bring some semblance to his life. But he discovers something he may not have expected. In a chance encounter with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), Neo realizes the truth about the turn of the century world we live in even as we speak.
In a world so heavily controlled by technology and computers, it isn’t any wonder that a film with complete computer
Black is back.
dependence would be created. It adds an element of mystery to it when the creators of the film, the Wachowski Brothers, are really not well known at all. Wanting to keep their own privacy, it seems as if these brothers know something about the world they’re not supposed to tell…
He is the one. (How many times have you seen this homaged in movies?
I truly love all the influences that the Wachowski Brothers drew on in order to make this movie. Anime style world and immersion, sci-fi concepts and futuristic ideas of control and advancement, Kung Fu fight scenes, even turn of the century CG effects and camera techniques. This movie, in 1999, was the true game changer when it came to creating a whole new era of cinematography and special effects through computer graphics. This movie was well thought out in all aspects and stands as one of the last true bastions of original thought in cinema. Stand aside Inception, you took your “original” ideas from The Matrix. (The whole time I was sitting in the theater at Inception, I thought hmmm, this seems familiar… A dream within a dream? More like, are we within the Matrix?)
She wrecks pretty hard in this one.
Some people criticize the first film for creating this amazing start to a story with original story and unconventional means of explanation. Then the second half of the film deals with guns and fighting, turning into a traditional action film. That is EXACTLY what I wanted from this film. I am a sucker for great fight scenes and lots of blood and carnage. This movie made me think at the same time that it delivered in a visually stunning way. When you can cross genres like this film did, you know you created something unique.
Add to wonderful things about this film: acting. You got a great cast that each person has done a handful of works, but not that well known. You got Laurence Fishburne, a man who will always been seen as
The greatest fight scene of all time.
Morpheus. His ability to act as sensei and grandmaster of knowledge and leadership shines in this film. Joe Pantoliano as Cypher. He did some work before this, but I felt this was a springboard for a lot of actors to get bigger and better work heading into the 2000’s. His “cheesy action lines” felt well delivered, as did every line in this film. This is one of those movies in which every line feels original, as if Neo is awaking to a world where everything is new and fresh. That’s excellent. Carrie-Anne Moss is the sexy, badass, femme-fatale chick who rocks the short haircut and kicks in bullet time. I had no idea who she was, but this movie made me aware a woman can be just as cold and calculated in a film like this. Cue every other female hero in a movie after this one.
A world gone wrong.
And then we come to Keanu Reeves as Neo. People complain he didn’t do well. People make fun of Keanu Reeves in general as always playing that dumbass Ted from the Bill & Ted movies. I would say he lost the surfer accent in this movie and really took the reins. His character dictates the film and discovers himself throughout the series, regardless if anyone thinks Keanu is a good actor. Here’s the thing though. Could you imagine anyone else in the role of Neo? Will Smith turned it down because he felt he wasn’t mature enough of an actor to do the role. And Nic Cage was offered the role. As amazing of a movie as that would’ve been, it wouldn’t have been as good. I think the Wachowski Brothers made the best choice possible. Of anyone.
So you got the great acting, the amazing cinematography and effects, and an amazing storyline. What more could you need? ENTER THE AMAZING SOUNDTRACK. Don Davis absolutely
Mind bending with Aang. (Am I right?)
created the best score possible to set the tone for this movie. An amazing brass section to create revelation moments throughout the film, making the jumps and feats seem that much more badass. Quick trills and a pounding bassline when needed just to make you wish you were onscreen, in the Matrix, doing what Neo is doing. When a soundtrack, not even the songs used, can pump you up that much, that is an award winning musical score.
And then there’s the songs from the film. Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Rage Against the Machine… Talk about all the 1990’s greats that have exploded into the 2000’s. This movie made “Calm like a Bomb” at the end feel like the only song anyone could ever
I’m calm like a bomb.
end a film with. So kick ass. When I heard those ending credits roll, I knew what kind of music would define my life for the rest of it. Superb.
So combine all these outrageously amazing aspects into one film and create a series out of it? You have me hooked for life. I would consider this in the top three movie trilogies of all time, probably #1 of all time. Nothing gets better than this if you love movies. No question. 10 out of 10. Check it out to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes (I also love Alice in Wonderland. Go figure.)
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Strange Spanish text...
Now I gave this review “The New Face of Horror” for a reason. This movie may be 5 years old, but this movie packs a whole lot of suspense, shock, and plot into one film. With a simple plot inside of a psychological mess of meaning, this movie entertains the mind on so many levels. The Pang Brothers, directors of Bangkok Dangerous (surprisingly the original and the remake), The Eye, and The Messengers, these bros do a whole lot more with this film. I did find The Eye to be terrifying (the original, mind you) and full of disturbing images, it was coming from an honest place in the horror genre that speaks to exactly what horror is. The idea of seeing just what frightens you and not being able to stop it. And, I would like to argue, Re-Cycle does the same with its intent.
The movie starts out like any Ring-like/Grudge like plot device. Ting-Yin (Angelica Lee) is a successful author of romance novels, drawing on her own heartbreaking life experiences with her lovers. When her agent announces that the book she will be currently working on is one of a supernatural nature. Delving into a world of literature and life she is unfamiliar with, Ting-Yin finds difficulty in this topic. After her ex-lover of long ago returns from divorcing his wife, Ting-Yin finds she must reexamine just what love means to her. And then that’s when things get weird.
Ting-Yin and the girl.
Ting-Yin, after writing a bit of her novel, finds that the supernatural events she is writing about… are happening to her. After scenes of suspense and danger, Ting-Yin escapes into a world not her own. She wanders through this world, encountering those who would wish her harm and others who provide help. Will she discover the meaning of this world and the characters she encounters? What exactly is the meaning of Re-Cycle? You’ll have to check out this wonderful film to discover its secrets.
The chilling ghost town of Ting-Yin's mind.
What really blew me away about this movie was the Guillermo del Toro special effects. Who I consider to be the greatest creature/effects creator of all time sets the bar for me when it comes to comparison on fantasy effects. And this movie ranks highly on the del Toro scale. The hanging forest chills me, and the mask that the little girl wears is terrifying. In an almost Silent Hill (again, there’s a review on this movie on my blog), the world that Ting-Yin encounters rivals that of the decayed town in which the main character of Silent Hill finds herself in. In an almost eerily similar way, at times in the film, Ting-Yin finds herself in a section of her world that begins to decay (or recycle, as it were) underneath her feet. And there’s one section of the world that will leave you in shock.
Known as the aborted fetus room (I’ll call it that, thanks), this place of horror and its demented baby fetuses is classically considered to be a comment on the issue of pro-life. I found it to be interesting in that, in a Chinese film, a woman encounters this house of horrors in what is truly a reality for many Chinese people. Due to the regulations on population size and number of children allowed, many women would have to face this trial for themselves. But, as the Pang Brothers divulge, “That just happens to be one of the topics in the movie. We are not out to say if abortion is right or wrong.” (That was said by Oxide Pang. What a badass name.)
But this movie really rolls a lot of fantasy worlds I find endearing into one. For one, Silent Hill. The idea of a demented ghost town is always a creepy thing. Then, there’s the elements of a “Fall” type realm. In another strain, The Fall is a movie I cherish close to my heart. Tarsem Singh brings an amazingly visual movie to light with a wonderfully tragic story. Not that this movie had that, but it came so damn close I cried regardless at the end. And, as always, my personal favorite, Alice in Wonderland. As if Ting-Yin herself was the Alice down the rabbit hole, this author turned experiencer of her own mind effectively symbolizes Alice and Lewis Carroll all at once.
I actually liked this cover better.
There were only a few drawbacks to this film. The biggest one I would say is the love interest. Well, former love interest. The few parts he had were entirely dubbed over by another Chinese actor. This jarring experience really ruined one of the more emotional scenes that was meant to show you the anguish between Ting-Yin and her lover. The other was the few slightly below average demons in the world in which Ting-Yin traversed. If only a bit of special effects work had been done instead of makeup, it may have looked a bit more demonic and devious. But, all-in-all, this movie delivered on all levels. With a move from the suspenseful and shocking to the macabre and surreal, this movie ends with an emotional bang, in a good way. So definitely check this out. If I had seen this movie earlier, I would’ve given this one of the more enjoyable and engrossing movie watching experiences of 2006. 9.8 out of 10.
7 Comments | tags: aborted fetus cave/room, Alice, Alice in Wonderland, Angelica Lee, author, baby fetuses, Bangkok Dangerous, best movie watching experience of 2006, Chinese dubbed over, Chinese horror film, decayed town, demons, disturbing images, drawbacks, emotional scene ruined, ends with a bang, escapes into another world, ex-lover, fantasy effects, fantasy worlds, ghost town, good original plot, greatest creature effects, Guillermo del Toro special effects, hanging forest, honest filming, levels of entertainment, Lewis Carroll, like The Grudge, like The Ring, makeup effects poor, movie of discovery, new face of horror, Oxide Pang, Pang Brothers, pro-life, psychological mess of meaning, rabbit hole, Re-cycle, regulations on population size, romance novels, shock, Silent Hill, supernatural, surreal, suspense, Tarsem Singh, terrifying horror film, The Eye, The Fall, The Messengers, Ting-Yin, Toro scale, tragic story | posted in Movies
This show was ridiculous. Not exactly a fall through the rabbit hole, but this was a wonderland all its own. Ganta Igarashi is not your typical Alice and there’s no white rabbit to lead him along his way. With a endless repertoire of metal instrumentals and scenes of excruciating death, this show comes almost as close as Metalocalypse does with its protagonists, Dethklok. In some ways it almost goes farther. Pretty scary, right?
This show is sparked all by one little middle school massacre. A mysterious Red Man (if you remember way back when in my reviews, kinda looks like Skull Man) comes bursting through the window of Ganta’s school and kills all of his classmates. And you know who gets blamed? Ganta. Put on a trial and given the death sentence, Ganta must attempt to survive the Hell on Earth that is Deadman Wonderland.
And I would venture to guess that Deadman Wonderland is worse than Hell. There are dog races in which any participating runners have to dodge death in all forms and only one can survive to win cast points. Cast points are the
The Deadman Wonderland Prison. Fun, huh?
currency in which an inmate can buy and survive in Deadman Wonderland. It is especially important to gain cast points (not magically nerdy, mind you) so you can buy Candy. Candy are capsules of disgusting sweets that counteract the poison in your metallic neck leash. So despite being on death row to be executed, Ganta has to attempt to survive, every day.
Are we all really just prisoners of life? (Joke)
Inmates, other than being subordinate to the guard staff, are given free reign to destroy each other. Ganta is constantly in fear for his life, being a scrawny middle school midget with quite a rap of offenses that would piss most guys off. And it’s not only that. The Red Man Ganta encountered bestowed some strange crystal upon his chest that allows Ganta to use what are later referred to as Branches of Sin. This use of the blood as a weapon become quite helpful with Ganta’s “body type,” but the fallback (as there always is) is that Ganta has to fight in Carnival of Corpses (pronounced by the Japanese as Cannibal Corpse. Coincidentally, songs similar to the huge body of work Cannibal Corpse has created play during these fights) which could kill him at any moment. It just looks so promising for Ganta doesn’t it? You’ll have to watch to find out.
The voices of some of the characters are fantastic. Romi Park, famous voice actor of the Japanese version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric, is a bit whiny, but gets the job done as Ganta. Tsunenaga Tamaki is wonderfully twisted and done by Junichi Suwabe. And finally, Senji, the badass, ripped Branches of Sin fighter Crow, is admirably done by Masayuki Katou. I was overall impressed.
Now let’s talk about that animation quality. It’s dark and bloody. Very
Pretty sick, right? Good old Red Man
reminiscent of Metalocalypse. I guess that’s why I liked it so much (look for this review in the coming months). The fluidity of the blood coursed throughout the veins of this sadistic fighting sci-fi anime in every scene. With more swearing than I’ve ever read in any subbed anime, I gotta say it was ridiculous to hear bleeps in Japanese. With other problems that probably cut this show short to 12 episodes, its unfortunate that the show was cut so abruptly short. But it ended in a way I didn’t expect either.
Azuma Genkaku (Toshiyuki Morikawa) was a fantastic way to end it. Tying the whole metal music themed anime together, Azuma wields an axed guitar that allows him to supersonically bend the Branches of Sin wielders to their knees. His tragic past is explored and brought to the forefront to end the show (an unfortunate end, both for the show and Azuma) although I found him to be one of the most compelling and interesting characters in the show. With nothing certain and a future in Deadman Wonderland ahead, what will happen to little “Alice” Ganta? Check out this show, it’s definitely worth the horrific watch. A solid 9.7 out of 10.
What will happen "down the rabbit hole?"
2 Comments | tags: 12 episodes, Alice, axed guitar, Azuma Genkaku, blood as a weapon, Branches of Sin, Candy, Cannibal Corpse, Carnival of Corpses, cast points, compelling and interesting characters, Crow, dark and bloody animation, Deadman Wonderland, death row, death sentence, Dethklok, dodge death, dog races, Edward Elric, excrutiating killing/death, fighting sci-fi anime, fluidity of the motions, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ganta Igarashi, guard staff, Hell on Earth, horrific watch, inmates, Japanese voice acting, Junichi Suwabe, kills classmates, Masayuki Katou, metal instrumental music, metal theme, Metalocalypse, middle school massacre, middle school midget, music, neck leash, problems that cut this show short, rabbit hole, Red Man, ridiculous premise, Romi Park, sadistic, scary, Senji, Skull Man, strange crystal, swearing, Toshiyuki Morikawa, tragic past, Tsunenaga Tamaki, twisted warden, whiny voice, white rabbit, wonderland all its own | posted in Anime/ T.V.