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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > CGI > Anime > Gaming > Appleseed: Alpha (2014/Sony Blu-ray)

Appleseed: Alpha (2014/Sony Blu-ray)

Picture: A Sound: A Extras: B+ Film: B

Appleseed: Alpha is a beautifully digitally animated film that serves as a prequel to 2004's Appleseed and its sequel Appleseed Ex Machina. The best way to describe the animation style is that it is similar to that of the Final Fantasy animated films or most modern videogame cinema. The characters and environments all look pretty realistic are at time is on par with most CGI effects you see in big budget Hollywood films. About ten years or so ago when this animation first became a big deal with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (see our reviews elsewhere on this site of the above), most mainstream audiences didn't really get into it. Visually, that film was beautiful but the story was so bad that nobody really cared here in America except for die-hard fan of the game.

While this film, Appleseed: Alpha, is my first time seeing a film in the Appleseed series at the time of this review, I am pretty sold on the concept and like the overall style of the film. It reminds me in a way of Neil Blomkamp's Elysium and District 9 in terms of some of the tech and desert like landscapes. The strongest attribute it has is obviously its conceptual design and the animation itself. I do feel like it need some better voice actors to help carry some of the characters and some of the human animation is a little too stiff. Since I do enjoy gaming, in a way this film feels like it would have been more fun interactive. I felt at times like I waiting for the next level to load and the game play to start. With Sony backing this, I am honestly surprised this isn't a game. At any rate, the film itself is worth a watch if you are a fan of Cyberpunk or Military Science Fiction.

Appleseed Alpha depicts the early days of Deunan Knute and Briareos in the 22nd century as they embark on a journey throughout dystopic ruins of New York in search of the city of Olympus. They are hired by Two Horns, the warlord of the ruined city, to eliminate bipedal combat machines. During the fight, they encounter Iris and Olson who are tasked with preventing the malevolent cyborg Talos from capturing a secret weapon humans were building. Talos uses Iris to activate the gigantic war machine and its up to them to save humanity!

The sound and picture on the disc are top notch. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital high definition transfer leaves little to be desired and is accompanied with a powerful DTS-HD MA track that is loud enough to disturb your neighbors. The sound design in this film really shines in lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1. Having Ultraviolet copy is great in this release as well and a suitable presentation for your tablet or smart phone. Special Features on the disc are a Filmmakers' Commentary and an excellent eleven part Making-of Documentary.

- James Lockhart



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