2014. április 18., péntek

The unworthy offspring - War of the Worlds: Goliath

We are getting back to the War of the Worlds franchise a bit. I have to make up for an old debt of mine. I try to focus  on relatively fresh alternate history/historical fiction material and reviews more and more on these pages, and the War of the Worlds: Goliath of 2012 borderline qualifies that criterion. This is an anime made by Americans, actually. Admittedly, I made only brief trips into the anime world yet. According to my limited cinematic experience, the message and the story of Japanese animes with a Japanese topic are a little hard to grasp onto. It doesn’t work for me either when they try to touch Western history. This happened to me when I was watching the Steamboy anime.

War of the Worlds
. Yes, we have been here before. Tripods surrounded with clouds of poison gas, vaporizing death ray, bloodsucking aliens from Mars, red weed, and the glorious Earth bacteria, you name it. The War of the Worlds: Goliath is an interesting anime adaptation of the original H.G. Wells novel. A historical fiction work with steampunk elements, or more like a pseudo-sequel of the original. 

The plot takes place fifteen years later after the original Martian invasion of 1899 and tells a story about a second attack. The anime refers back to the first invasion with beautiful pictures in the intro. Not a single word is told, but none is needed, they are telltale and plastic, completely functional from a dramaturgical point of view. I’m afraid we have just touched the most valuable parts of the movie already.

Fifteen years ago, faceless invaders from the hell of deep space commited genocide against humanity. Now it's time for a rematch.

World War One has been just postponed

It’s not like the story writers didn’t have some good ideas. Placing an international elite military squad into the age of ultra-nationalism was a daring and promising attempt to get my attention. The respective national consciousnesses of the age were absolute and look incredibly competitive nowadays. I mean, grade school children were taught to verse warmonger poems about exterminating each other, not to mention the racial theories. The Martian invasion changed the Earth of this alternate universe forever, of course. Still, a multi-racial strike force against the aliens promised a lot of interesting interaction between the team members. 

The Goliaths of the human battleline. A lot of effort went into the promotion of the anime.

Somebody said explosions…?

There are some, but I wasn’t satisfied. The main reason for this that the storywriters had settled for a Michael Bay-ish visual orgy with pasteboard characters and action movie cliches. I consider Bay as the apostle of the cinematic equivalent of sleep-denying torture.  He doesn’t use the story to keep your attention but every tricks of visual compulsion. Release me- you are screaming internally. I broke halfway on Transformers 2 and wept.

It's not like the Martians didn't make some improvements.

The War of the Worlds: Goliath is not that bad, but it’s not far off either. Japanese stories are maybe a bit hard to digest, or I’m just lacking the required sensitivity and cultural background to grasp them. Maybe it’s just the different strokes, but the real trainwreck is when Western creators utilize a fashionable template (in this case, the anime-style) to produce a cliched animated action movie. I’m afraid that the War of the Worlds: Goliath is not really more than that. 

Again, much effort into the design and visuals of Goliath. No argument there.
Don’t get me wrong, our nine year old kids will be charmed. But for me, The Great Martian War 1913-1917 had more entertainment value, despite it’s nowhere close to the visuals of the Goliath with its cheap manipulated historical footage and fake interviews. Too much effort into the visuals, too less into the story, that’s why I consider War of the Worlds: Goliath as a failure. H.G. Wells deserves more.

Nincsenek megjegyzések:

Megjegyzés küldése