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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animé Feature Film > CG > Appleseed (2004 Animé CG Feature)

Appleseed (DTS CG Animé Feature/2004)


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



You don’t have to be a fan of Animé to enjoy 2004’s Appleseed taken from the TV series, which says a lot.  Anyone can appreciate the originality involved with Appleseed and what makes that all the more impressive is this spectacular DVD edition released from Geneon.  Apparently there is also a limited metal case edition, which would be cool too, including a select set with an action figure.  Appleseed is a technical achievement that makes it look like some of the best out there, especially using certain technologies that are used in video games and you can get that feel during certain scenes that it looks like a video game, but the movement and lifelikeness is truly a work ahead of its time.  The earlier version from 1988 is out on DVD from Palm.


Let’s begin with the story, which impressed me with its narrative and storytelling capabilities even though it is not the most original. We have yet another apocalyptic world that is run by artificial clones known as Bioroids and while this new perfect world may seem ok on the surface, there are a few humans left willing to sacrifice anything in order to return the power to the people (as in real humans).  The film is just extraordinary in it’s use of style, music, and animation.  Some of the music is provided by Paul Oakenfold, the Boom Boom Satellites, and other guest musicians, but what you will notice is some of the musical references that come close to film scores like Scarface’s score by Giorgio Moroder or some of the James Bond themes.  There are also some more urban beats layered within making this a unique soundtrack that gives the animation such life and breath. 


The biggest reason to want to own this DVD though is for its quality aspects pertaining to picture and sound and is a real showcase piece for any home theater.  Beginning with the picture, which is a 1.85 X 1 anamorphic transfer that is encoded directly from the HD source and looks stunning!  I was able to view the film projected, on a 20” Apple Cinema Display and also on a regular tube television and all three did the film justice.  Colors are superbly rendered with detail looking astonishing.  Sometimes it’s hard to judge when it comes to animation because lines are not nearly as refined or become more pixilated because it’s a different medium than film, so therefore detail is a bit different.  I would love to see what this film would look life if ever issued with 70mm blow-up prints like Akira (1988, reviewed elsewhere on this site in its ever-stunning DTS edition) was.  This is also being promoted as 3-D, though not on DVD that way, but one could imagine such a theatrical presentation is possible with the depth here.


The sound is equally as kick ass too with the option of English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, as well as Japanese DTS 5.1, which is without a doubt one of the finest mixes I’ve heard for any animated feature ranking up there with the Region 3 Finding Nemo DVD, which is one of the few that has DTS instead of the U.S. release, which only included Dolby Digital.  When these films are made with such big sound it is pure lunacy for these studios to NOT issue their films with the DTS option, so thankfully this film has the better sound option to truly give life to a heavily engaging score and sound mix. 


What will stand out the most is the use of surrounds as well as left to right panning effects that occur in the front channels.  Traveling dialogue is just fantastic which gives character to every moment of the film with interesting nuances happening throughout.  There is also a lot of spatial dimension and depth to everything from the dialogue to the action scenes, even certain music tracks with a high concentration on ambiance as well. There is no doubt that during the creation of this that a sound mix was already being integrated into how the sound would play out in a 5.1 setting.  The surrounds are so engaged I almost wonder what a discrete 6th channel would have been like making this a great choice for DTS-ES, but what we have here sounds good enough.  This is the type of thing that audiophiles yearn to hear because it doesn’t just contain good musical recording or loud special effects, but rather the entire piece has superb qualities. 


This edition is already worthy of ownership, but just for a few more added bonuses the film also has commentary by the director and producer and a cool music cue that allows you to access four of the Boom Boom Satellites songs, one Paul Oakenfold song, and a few others, but the disappointing factor is that when it takes you to that scene for the song you can only listen to it in Dolby 5.1…boo!  There is also a trailer for the soundtrack, which is in stereo…ouch!  So the extras are just so-so with the only real extra being the commentary track, which is good, but not really necessary. 


Luckily the film speaks for itself and if you are dying for more extras or cool stuff there is a Region 2 disc that contains 3 discs, but no subtitles, so unless you speak Japanese you probably won’t venture for that.  That particular edition contains more extras in the ‘behind the scenes’ category, which would be a nice addition for those interested in the film more for its technical achievements.



-   Nate Goss


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