Sound: B- Extras: C Film: C
No matter how bad virtual reality and interactive-themed
films are for the most part, people keep making them. In Takashi Miike’s case, it is not to capitalize on the video
game market, but to try and tell a different story. However, Andromedia (1998) is the poorest of the films we
have looked at of Miike’s so far (Gozu, The Dead Or Alive Trilogy
and White Collar Worker Kintaro are reviewed elsewhere on this site) as
his output continues to hit U.S. DVD shelves.
In this science fiction tale, a father tries to bring his
daughter back by creating a virtual reality clone complete with “A.I.” (not the
movie, but the script cannot let go of those letters) when she is killed by a
Mack truck. He tries to explain to her
that she is on three DVDs (dual-layered) and he seems to think he can bring her
out of his PC eventually. Even if we
discount the preposterous notion that anyone could fit on three DVDs and how he
could duplicate her as the advent of such technology was not around at the time
of her birth could have been an incidental if the film had a more significant
point. Even the love story between her
and her childhood boyfriend has nowhere near the impact of the
mixed-but-memorable 1980 Ken Russell film Altered States. We have seen Music Videos more convincing on
Miike is trying to do something different, but is a bit
out of his league here, and the subplot of a corporation after this technology
feels thrown in, especially after they kill and it seems they could just go to
a PC store and get the same equipment.
Even the cyberpunk angle is limited, so the overall result is a
sometimes-interesting failure. Star
Trek – the Motion Picture (1979) did the love story better too, while Tron
(1982) is still more convincing in the technology department, based literally
on a videogame. The visual effects are
passable for a low-budget production, but they are not distinct enough to be
memorable, akin to bad Animé. This is
odd considering Miike is usually more visually distinct.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image uses its share
of CG generated footage and suffers as a result. Cinematographer Hideo Yamamoto, who shot Miike’s White Collar
Worker Kintaro and whose fine work is just too limited here by
circumstance, handles what is shot on film.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has good Pro Logic surrounds, obviously
exaggerated when the CG footage is up.
This was a Dolby-only theatrical release. More English language than usual surfaces in the film as
well. Extras include another film essay
by Tom Mes, bio/filmographies of Miike and four of the lead actors, a stills
gallery and the original Japanese theatrical trailer. Miike completists and those who will watch any such film are the only
persons who should look into this one.
Otherwise, Pathfinder has better Miike titles on the market you are
better off checking out.
- Nicholas Sheffo