Appleseed (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voices of): Jennifer Proud, Jamieson Price, Kirsty Pape
Director: Shinji Aramaki

Reminiscent of the RESIDENT EVIL duo’s explosive openings and continued action throughput, APPLESEED (an animated feature using state of the art technology and 3DCG) blasts onto the screen grabbing your attention and never losing it. In fact the storyline moves so fast and jumps scenes that in places it can be difficult to keep up with!

Based on Masamune Shirow’s world-renowned manga of the same name, APPLESEED is set in 2131 AD. This futuristic world is all but wasteland, scarred heavily by humanity’s warring factions, except the Utopian city of Olympus. Masterminded to help humanity, it is 50 percent populated by a hybrid race called the Bioroids. A genetically engineered species designed with humanity’s ‘harmful’ emotions (anger/hate etc) suppressed, they can’t reproduce and have a limited lifespan. Their sole purpose is to stabilise and help create a peaceful society to help the remaining humans survive — or are they being manipulated?

Deunan, APPLESEED’s human heroine, is a highly trained soldier. Isolated and alone in an urban wasteland fighting a daily survival battle against the enemy, she finally stares death in the face when back into a corner. Suddenly her opponents are annihilated and instinctively retreating she is neutralised. Unaware that she has been rescued by a bioroid called Hitomi, Deunan is transported back to the safety of Olympus. There she is reunited with her former lover/soldier Briareous who she thought was dead, but is now more cyborg than man and he tries to distance himself. While Hitomi reacclimatises the somewhat battle traumatised Deunan and introduces her to Olympus and all it seemingly stands for they are suddenly catapulted into a death defying situation as terrorists attack Olympus.

What follows next sets in motion an unfolding series of events that not only threaten the survival of the human race but also uncover a web of deceit. With time running out Deunan puts her life on the line and with Briareous’ help they fight the real aggressors and attempt to thwart their deadly plan in an ultimate battle before it’s too late!

Director Shinji Aramaki never lets the pace slacken. This animated feature uses full CGI and this allows dynamic camera movements that help to improve the action sequences. Also according to the production notes the characters are in full CG and by a ‘toonshading’ process the characters keep a defining ‘cell anime look.’

What more could you want? Action, a plausible and interesting storyline, plus a beautiful heroine all set to a thumping soundtrack including tracks by Paul Oakenfold and Basement Jaxx.

An entertaining and mesmerising experience!

5 out of 6 stars