Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Animated Inspiration: Azureus Rising

With a fantastic, dystopian, cyberpunk feel reminiscent of Vexille or Ghost-in-the-Shell, this short is basically one big action sequence--which is both good and bad. On the good side, the animation is very solid and the visuals are simply gorgeous. I absolutely love the sterile, overly polished backgrounds--a nice contrast to the dirty, burned out Blade Runner motif. It makes me think of what ReBoot could've become with more recent technology. The down-side is that it does suffer from some of the usual anime flaws: for example, the villains are well-equipped, but instead of trying to shoot the main character when they obviously have the drop on him, they pretty much just stand there and wait for the protagonist to move first--at which point, they are easily killed by the protagonist. Stretches the 'suspension of disbelief' a little too much for my tastes. I think that the film stylization and animation does a good enough job showing that the protagonist is faster than the villains, so they really don't need the overpronounced pause there--although I do like how it serves the dual-purpose of staging. One of the things that I like about this animation is that it has a real cinematic quality in the shots and editing. You see a decent variety in the shot selection, one that leads me to believe that they were trying for a serious action movie feel rather than a lot of the simpler editing that we see in a lot of animation.

In any event, this film is a test sequence for a feature-length film being produced by Dave Weinstein. Just based upon what I've seen, I'll definitely watch it in the hopes that the feature will have solid dialog, good characterization, and a plot that is more than your usual video game 'shoot-em-up' story. With the loss of Imagi's U.S. studio, I'd love to see another studio pick up on the anime-influenced art style (and hopefully Japanese properties) and produce more films in the vein of Vexille and the 3D Appleseed relaunch.

Definitely watch this film in full-screen mode to get the full effect!