Monday, October 1, 2012

Movie Review: King of Thorn

Much like Obilvion Island a few weeks back, Funimation opted to put the dubbed version of King of Thorn on youtube free for a weekend and since I remember reading a little bit of the manga a long time ago I was curious about how the movie was. I hadn't read any actual reviews for it but it seemed like it was well-enough recieved, although I hadn't heard just how much it deviated.

King of Thorn

Summary: In 2015 a new plauge swept the world where people would suddenly turn to stone and fall down dead where they stood. Panic engulfs the world and the only hope seems to reside in the company Venus Gate which puts 160 people in a cold sleep and promises to wake them when they've found the cure. When the people awake the world is greatly changed, although not for the better like they hoped.  

The Good: Haven't seen cryogenics in a while and the initial premise is interesting, a mysterious (and you know will never be completely explained) virus prompts people to freeze themselves in the hopes that when they wake up either it will have died out or there will be a cure? That sounds like the plot of a decent sci-fi film and it's under an hour and a half so it's not a huge time investment either. The characters are alright, only Kasumi gets enough development to feel like a rounded character, but they aren't so flat that it's annoying and honestly, if you're watching this film you're watching for the action, not for the character's backstories.  

The Bad: It appears that the movie deviated quite a bit manga (apparently they even cut out the villain of the manga) and, where the manga had more a Greek mythology naming theme going on, the movie decides that the story of Sleeping Beauty was so awesome that they must reference/quote/generally beat the audience over the head with it at every possible opportunity. Aside from that, which is annoying but livable, this movie followed a trope that I don't like where the premise involves some light sci-fi which is kinda cool and interesting but by the end of the movie all of the "science" has turned into never very well explained magic most stories, including this one, don't handle that shift too well. Apparently that part did come from the original manga and I was constantly rolling my eyes by the end when the laws of reality were completely broken and I just didn't think the movie was that good by the end. It was also paced a bit slowly and did have a good beginning but by the end I feel like the people who worked on it just wanted to end the story as fast as they could and took a rather messy way out.  

The Audio: As noted in the intro it was the English dub of the show that Funimation put up on youtube and, given that the cast comes from all over the northern hemisphere, that meant accents galore. I'm not a good judge at how authentic an accent sounds, although most of them sounded pretty thick, and accents are a bit of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing in English dubs regardless. All in all the dub was fine but it wasn't a fantastic dub, if you're a fan of dubs great, go listen to it, if not, also great, go listen to the Japanese track since it's probably fine as well. 

The Visuals: When the scene was done in regular cel animation everything looked fine, great even with a ton of detail. But there was a lot of CGI in this movie, not just CGI monsters but all the characters would also be in CGI and it looked pretty ugly. They did a good job and creating models that really looked like the characters but as soon as they started moving you could tell it was CGI, the way they moved was completely different and threw me out of the scene every single time. The sad thing is I don't think the movie really needed that many action scenes and could've cut one or two out/cut them down to save budget (and I'm also sad at how CGI is "cost-saving" in anime considering how many wonderful looking all CGI films we have in the US, it can be done!).

So I don't think I'll be getting a copy of this film or recommending it to any of my friends. I know that I get more irked about the  "jk it's not science it's magic!" thing more than a lot of people do so plenty of people are still going to like this film, you just won't see me suggesting it when people want something new to watch.