• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Appleseed

TITLE: Appleseed

YEAR: 2004

GENRE: Anime and Science Fiction

Science fiction has been a major influence in Japanese literature since the nineteenth century. This influence started crossing the ocean after World War II when American soldiers started bringing back magazines of sci-fi stories intermingled with Japanese folklore in 1945. This tradition has continued in the anime world as  affair share of Japanese animated products use the science fiction genre to tell  Appleseed follows the tradition of Japanese science fiction and delivers a fairly decent finished product that will be devoured by anime purists yet will be seen by the sci-fi world as not as special.

Deunan Knute (voiced by Luci Christian) is a beautiful and young super soldier that is one of the few survivors of a global war that has destroyed almost all of civilization. She is captured during a battle and ends up in the city of Olympus, a utopian-type of society that consists of half humans and half bioroids, a half clone half android combination. During her stay he meets Hitomi (Hilary Haag), a bioroid that is assigned to watch over and protect Deunan, and former boyfriend Briareos (David Matranga) whose body was severely damaged and is now a cyborg. Olympus has conflicting beliefs: the all-human military despises the bioroids and wishes for all of them to be destroyed while the bioroids, who were created to protect humanity, wishes peace and harmony within the groups. The all-seeing computer Gaia that makes the ultimate decision for Olympus under the watchful eye of a group of human elders makes a decision to release the Appleseed, a computer program that would allow the bioroids to be able to reproduce, which does not sit well with the military faction. Deunan is the key to all this, as she has held a necklace since her youth that holds the program to unleash the Appleseed. The Elders, however, want to go even farther and destroy the D-tank, a safeguard that was built to supposedly eliminate the bioroids but really holds an even more sinister plan that would eradicate humanity entirely. Deunan learns of this abominable plan, and works with the bioroids and the military to stop the extermination of mankind.

Appleseed has a unique approach to its animation, which is a combination of traditional hand-drawn cells combined with more of a CGI approach, and the results are mostly positive. Some of the scenes are downright spectacular especially the ending battle and the overall look of Appleseed is well above average for most anime. The problem here is in the details, especially the human faces which lack emotional expression and look too much like a video game. This detracts from more emotional scenes as reactions of surprise or sadness are limited. The story is entertaining and developed, but nothing spectacular as the general concept of Appleseed has been done before in numerous science fiction films. Themes of the evils of humanity and mankind’s perseverance to survive are highlighted but have been touched on before in other productions in a much better and creative way. This film was originally recorded in Japanese and I watched the English translation, so at times the lips do not match the words and some of the emotions of the original are lost in the translation.

This is a remake of a 1988 production that was a moderate success and spawned the sequel Appleseed Ex Machina which was released in 2007. Appleseed is a pretty good science fiction adventure that has a mostly stellar look but lacks enough in plot development and animation fine details to make this more of an average offering than a stellar one.

* * *

–Mark

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