Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Returner... 

Well, I just watched the Returner, and what a great little movie this was! This isn't a big-budget film, and you've probably seen the whole "person comes from the future to save the world" premise many times already. However, this movie was refreshing in a lot of ways. Besides the good chemistry between the leads, there is a lot of cliches that either are avoided or subverted by the end of the movie.

It also has some healthy humor in it (the ending of a chase scene is hilarious!), and it doesn't go too over the top with the action (fighting is generally without wire-work) or effects (there's some explosions and crashes and stuff, but not all the time like in some movies).

The only part that brings things down a bit are the scenes from the future, where english is spoken. When english is your native language, the flaws in the delivery are more aparant then they would have been to Japanese viewers. Still, those scenes are pretty brief, and the rest of the movie more than makes up for them.

If you want a smart and fun little sci-fi movie, this is one to check out. It has some real heart to it. :)

Also, the DVD from Columbia Tristar has some really good extras (presumably from the original release) which are subtitled. An interview with the action coordinator and designer (mixed with images of his very detailed paintings). There's a split-screen with unfinished scenes on the top (unfinished cg, blue-screens, non-color-corrected stuff) with finished on the bottom. However, instead of one scene, it showed bits from quite a lot of them.

Best of all, though, was a video diary showing the filming of various scenes. This was a whole hour long, with footage from each of the locations! Narrating it was the director and female star, both of whom were very funny and had good information on what was going on. I think this was much more effective than the commentary over finished movie that you usually see on DVDs.

In the end, I was struck by how more I enjoyed the extras on this disc versus the Matrix Reloaded. Everything was much more candid and relaxed with a small crew, versus the huge army of people involved in Reloaded (many of whom seemed very style-concious with perfect hair, etc). I also didn't have to wait through glitzy animated menus to get to the content.

I think I'm going to have to buy this DVD in the future. For everyone else, I'd say rent it at least. It is by no means perfect, but it really is a cool movie. :) Now I just need to get ahold of the director's earlier movie called Juvenile, which was refered to many times in the diary. Looking at IMDB, aparantly he also directed the anime series Heat Guy J, which I've heard good things about...

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