science fiction

Jin-Rô * Hiroyuki Okiura * 1998

Animation has never been really my cup of tea, yet I do like the “Animatrix”. This film was on MTV a while ago and I decided to record it. “The Wolf Brigade” is an animation with quite life-like images and it plays in an apocalyptic future where the Brigade is a para-police-unit to avoid terrorists from disturbing society. The masses are not too happy with the reign, so anti-governental groups flourish. When one member of the Wolf Brigade sees a teenager girl blowing herself up in front of him, he has second thoughts about his occupation. Then he runs into an almost identical girl.
“Jin-Rô” has a nice, quite typically Japanese, dark atmosphere and a story critical to our nowadays society. The images are quite realistic and the makers sure had an eye for detail. All this makes “Jin-Rô” almost like watching a ‘normal’ film. I enjoyed it, maybe I should see some more “anime” to get to know the genre better.

Event Horizon * Paul W.S. Anderson * 1997

How many times a friend of mine told me to watch this film with me replying “well, it is scifi, and I don’t like that”, so after asking if I have seen it a few dozens of times, he put a tape in my hands… Ah well then.
So, “Event Horizon” proved to be everything I feared: a Holywood scifi. Based on a thin story about worm-holes (as if creating these will be experimental in 2045, they have been working out theories about that for years) and the things that the spaceship picked up from ‘another place’ (“fear” of course), the people of the “Event Horizon” didn’t live to tell about their experiences and when the maker and a few other go visit the ship after it returned our very universe, things turn a bit in the way of a horror which is not too well done (very cheap computer animations), credible or enjoyable.
Better filmtips in this section for sure!

Equilibrium * Kurt Wimmer * 2002

“Forget ‘The Matrix’! This movie will blow you away!” Quite a tagline, especially when you don’t live up to it. “Equilibrium” has only a few things incommon with “The Matrix”, but its level of quality is at best half that of the sublime “The Matrix”. The idea of “Equilibrium” is nice. In a future world, emotions are rooted out, because they are the source of war and other problems. This idea immediately raises a few problems, that are by far not solved in the film. Why a leader make his people enthousiastic about his ideas when they are not allowed to be happy or glad? How can the leader and inventor of such a system get angry and hold a grudge? Drugs are prescribed and “sense-offenders” (what a horrible term!) are hunted down by a special police force. It is the “cleric” John Preston (Christian Bale) that we follow in this film. Of course he becomes opposital to the system and tries to destroy it. So where is “The Matrix”? Maybe in the few way too fancy fighting scenes and the camera work? Oh well, “Equilibrium” is a scifi action film like you can see many these days, a weak Matrix spinnoff.

Beowulf * Graham Baker * 1999

As the title suggests this film is based on the epic poem “Beowulf”. If I am correct this is the oldest known text in the English language. It is said to be from the 6th century. So, in the 6th century they already wrote sci-fi?! I don’t know “Beowulf” myself (but I know the personage with the same name from “Tristan and Isolde”, a German saga), but I suppose this is a very loose interpretation or everything that isn’t described in the text is filled in by the makers of the film. The film “Beowulf” became one of these sci-fi’s playing in an imaginative past (?), like “Mad Max” or “Highlander”. Christopher Lambert is the mysterious stranger Beowulf who travels to a castle to fight the beast Grendel who kills all the inhabitents. The superhuman Beowulf falls in love with wonderbra Kyra and of course kills the supernatural beast and all ends happily. Alright.

The Animatrix * various * 2003

I have had this DVD in my hands several times and I was not the only one doubting whether or not to see this film. I can tell you: I don’t regret I did!

Already a nice surprise was that before I started to watch the films, I quickly jumped through the extras menu and heard that it were the brothers Wachowski themselves who had these films made. No cheap spinoff without consulting the creators of The Matrix trilogy. The brothers Wachowski wanted an animated version of their stories and asked nine prominent Japanese “anime” artists to make a short film. The brothers wrote the stories and came with suggestions, but still left the artists very free to fill in the rest. The result is nine animation films of about 10 minutes each, in different styles and treating different aspects of the world of The Matrix. The first film is an extraordinary realistic part much like the first film. The rest is quite typical Japanese “anime” with a lot of Buddhistic and “Matrixal” symbology. You will get the story of the time before the first film and different aspects of the concept of The Matrix. The extra information is very nice. Also you will get insight into the “Enter The Matrix” computer game, but that is not really my cup of tea.

So, if you like The Matrix, just have a look at this. The atmosphere of the animations is very close to that of the first film and they are done by the best artists and this definately shows. Also if you (like me) normally do not watch “anime”, this “Animatrix” is still a pleasure to watch.