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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Action > Computer Graphics > Japan > Appleseed Ex Machina (HD/DVD Combo + DVD Video/Warner)

Appleseed Ex Machina (HD/DVD Combo + DVD Video/Warner)


Picture: B+/B-/B-    Sound: B/B-/B-     Extras: B+/B     Film: B-



Note: The title is also available in the Blu-ray format.



Appleseed Ex Machina is a sequel to a 2004 film entitled Appleseed (reviewed elsewhere on this site), which was also directed by John Woo and produced by Shinji Aramaki.  Whereas Appleseed was impressive visually 4 years ago, the standards in 2008 have risen and while still stunningly nice at points, overall the sequel fails to fully capture the visual or plot appeal as the first film.  The story of Appleseed Ex Machina takes place in a post World War III utopian society in which genetically engineered humans have had the harsh emotions of hate and anger removed.  Even though the utopian society of Olympus seems to be at peace, terrorism around the world still runs rampant.  Secret meetings and covert spy missions are setup in order to attempt to bring the world back to order.  Of course everyone knows one land holding all the cards can turn out bad and when a mad man hacks into the satellite system to recreate man in his own image and likeness it is up to partners Briareos, Tereus, Deunan to save the world.  Turns out that Terus is just a genetic copy of Briareos and neither of them like the situation, but with the world on the line they must put their internal/genetic trouble aside. (– M.D.).


In the near future mankind engaged in a non-nuclear war nearly half of the human race was wiped out.  Mankind last hope is the nation-city, Olympus.  Where the humans who survived live among cyborg, and bioroids (artificially created humans) but even with all their technologies can they suppress human nature and war?  Deunan a human, Briareos a combat cyborg and Tereus a bioroid of the Special Forces protect and guard Olympus anywhere from domestic violence to foreign affairs. Things start to go to hell when unknown terrorist cyborgs start attacking the city and its citizens start going crazy during the international peace conference. It becomes not only a battle survival but human civilization itself.  This movie is filled with beautiful and breathtaking views of a futuristic city along with fast pace action and cool characters that come in with guns blazing.  With explosive scenes and fast paced music, the fights are like showdowns choreographed like the Matrix with incredible moves, along with sudden slowdowns in a variety of different settings and locations. The story is interesting for mecha sci-fi movie, the city is in trouble and it's up to main characters, so get in the mecha and save the day. (– R.C.).


The film is interesting, but not exactly this reviewer’s cup of animated tea.  The visuals are stunning at points and the plot is adequate, but overall it is nothing out of this world.  The character development the second time around is lax and the dialogue leaves much to be desired.  As the plot starts off exciting, this reviewer could not help but to feel it drag as time went on.  If you are a fan of the first film it is worth a look, but first time viewers may find the plot, characters, and visuals too bland for their taste.  If the film is worth anything it is for the explosive action sequences, but all else can be called merely adequate. (– M.D.).


The technical features of this High Definition release are very nice, especially in the areas of picture and extras.  The picture is presented in a 1080p High Definition 1.85 X 1 Widescreen that is enhanced for 16 X 9 televisions.  It is no surprise that the picture quality is amazingly crisp on this CGI animated film.  Throughout the film the colors are amazing solid and bright, there is little to no compression issues, with artifacting being completely absent in this CGI style.  The one issue could be that the characters do not always seem as real as they could be; often times having robotic movements with skin tones, facial movements and hair that is just not fluid enough to be real.  In other words the characters look seems a bit dated.  With that said, however, the visual experience is still pretty awesome.  The sound is not as solid as this reviewer would have hoped in its Dolby Digital English 5.1 and special features that are presented in stereo.  At times the sound presentation makes nice use of all the speakers, but more often than not the rear speakers are not utilized and the presentation lacks the ‘boom’ and ‘pop’ that should be heard in a battle oriented thriller like Appleseed Ex Machina. (- M.D.)


I thought this was a great movie, with improving CG movies, the computer graphics are looking sharper and more realistic and the movement of the characters are smoother and look more realistic and life-like, at times it almost feels like watching an acted movie than an animation. Along with cool and interesting mecha designs, it also raised interesting themes, ideas, and questions, are cyborgs still humans, does what create us matter, can the human spirit be found in a machine? An action intense movie, it appeals to the viewer on many different levels, so if you liked movies or games like Ghost in the Shell, Matrix, or even Transformers, Appleseed Ex Machina is a movie definitely worth watching. (- R.C.)


The DVD side presents the picture in 480p standard definition 2.4 X 1 enhanced for 16 X 9 televisions and a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track.  Neither are as impressive as the HD side, but adequate for what they are. (– M.D.).


The extras are very well presented in 1080i or 1080p High Definition, with many features for fans to enjoy.  For those wondering this HD release features all extras found on the 2-disc special edition DVD release.  The HD release offers fans a John Woo and Shinji Aramaki featurette that demonstrates their vision of the Appleseed film, a second featurette on how the film was digitally brought to life with all new groundbreaking technology, filmmaker commentaries (Beck & Chou), a featurette on the definitive history of the Appleseed anime phenomenon, and a final featurette that compares Eastern and Western styles of art and how the differ, yet are similar at the same time.  The extras are very nice and should please many long time fans. (- M.D.)  The DVD also includes 6 different available languages and subtitles (most I ever heard or seen for such a release (– R.C.).


This reviewer was never a huge fan of anime, but Appleseed Ex Machina does bring enough to the table to stand alone as an action packed CGI experience.  The plot is solid and the action sequences are amazing and even with dragging/poor dialogue it was an enjoyable experience. (– M.D.).



-   Michael P Dougherty II & Ricky Chiang


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