Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

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So Dan and I finally got around to renting and watching Casshern. You can see the large high quality trailer here and medium sized trailer here. Casshern was not what I was expecting. Luckily it had English subtitles, or I couldn’t have watched it. Though the movie I was expecting would not have needed English subtitles, because based on the previews one would think it would be non-stop robot stomping action. What Casshern turned out to be was a rather grim and philosophical look at war and humanity. The movie begins after a war to consolidate most of Eurasia. We find out that the hero Tatsuya will be going to war and being forced to carry out ethnic cleansing. He dies in battle but is brought back thanks to his father’s research into, for all intensive purposes, stem cell research. But he comes back with super powers. Of course other people come back also with super powers. The government sends troops in and the new regenerated people are slaughtered as they emerge from the stem cell vats. A few manage to escape and they go about trying to destroy humanity using robots lots and lots of robots. There is an amazing fight seen between Tatsuya and a million robots that was uber great (featured heavily in the trailer.) It made some of the Neo/Smith battles in Matrix look miniscule and unimpressive. But this is really the only battle to showcase the hero’s ability. The rest of the movie is a complicated and spiraling look at morality and justifications. It is rather touching in moments, horrific in others, and very depressing. Like the Japanese horror movie the Ring, Casshern does not rely on gore, but pure acting and style. War is not depicted graphically (by modern standards) but it is felt in such detail that you can barely look at the characters as human, which is, what I believe, is the point of the film. Anyway, the new super powered Tatsuya must atone for his deeds in war, the true nature of his father’s research is revealed, the government is overthrown and then re-overthrown, and the “bad guys” can hardly be called anything but victims by the end. The cinematography is amazing though. The movie is stylized to the extreme. At times I found it too much and couldn’t watch. The use of color and tint is wild. Just look at the trailers the whole film is like that, and it is 2.5 hours long. Casshern was a big surprise. I was expecting nothing but destruction of robots with a weak love story thrown in, but what I got was something much more. It is like the first few episodes of Evangelion. You may think you just signed on for a giant mecha fighting show, but just like Evangelion, by the end of Casshern you are left with philosophical questions and a deep feeling of depression. But I recommend it for the style alone, but if you do see it, you are walking into something intense. Which is a shame, because I wasn’t in the mood for “intense.” At the time, I would have liked a lot more robot butt kicking and a lot less “nature of humanity.”

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