Fumihiko Sori's VEXILLE
Movie review by Dennis McDonald
This movie has plot holes galore, the graphic concepts and technologies are derivative, and the characters are oddly un-engaging. Still, it moves along at a very fast clip, the story itself is unusual, and some of the action sequences are spectacular.
What I didn’t like:
- Characters’ facial expressions are flat and neutral. Given the quality of rendering demonstrated elsewhere in the movie this appears to be intentional. The result is stylish but distancing.
- Weapons, aircraft, robots, suits, vehicles, and“jags” (humongous lifelike sandworm-assemblages of cyclonic metal garbage) are gorgeously rendered but unoriginal.
- The Daiwa corporation’s motivation. I could not for the life of me figure out the reasoning behind their endgame. This was probably the biggest plot hole of all. (Perhaps this was explained better in the dubbed version but I just watched the Japanese version with English subtitles.
What I liked:
- The story. The references to Japan’s experience over the centuries with both isolationism and militarism are clever. (I also appreciate that a simplistic “Japanese Good - Americans Bad” theme was not employed.)
- The audio. Surround sound effects are excellent.
- The direction, especially in action sequences, is terrific. The chases are top notch.
In summary: With some caveats, I recommend this film.
Review text copyright (c) 2010 by Dennis D. McDonald