Like anime but had it up to here with “Ghost in the Shell” hype? I’ve got a good new anime for you. “Blame!” a Netfix original, may be the best anime since Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises.” Based on a very popular manga, it deals with a “distant technological future in which civilization has reached its ultimate net-based form (sounds like today!).An infection has caused the automated system to spiral out of order, which results in a multi-leveled city structure that replicates itself in all directions. With humanity having lost access to the city controls and being hunted down and purged by the defense system known as the Safeguard, a little enclave in a corner of the city known as the Electro-Fishers is facing eventual extinction. A girl named Zuru goes on a journey to find food for her village, only to inadvertently cause doom when an observation tower senses her and summons a Safeguard pack to eliminate the threat. With her companions dead and all escape routes blocked, the only thing that can save her now is the sudden arrival of Killy the Wanderer, on his quest for the Net Terminal Genes, the key to restoring order to the world.” (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
This cartoon combines the excitement of “The Matrix” with the craftsmanship of “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” Although the plot is similar to quite a bit of science fiction including William Gibson, “The Matrix.” and “The 13th Floor,” the skill of the animation creates a real sense of urgency. While it doesn’t have the charm that many anime films do, it is made with enough skill to be really affecting. The animation is really good, apparently CGI but looking hand-drawn. I found myself unable to look away during the entire film. If you’re looking for proof that anime is still great, check out “Blame!”; the filmmakers are certainly blameless.
I assumed I would never like a movie with a talking raccoon, but “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a blast. The secret, I think, is in the casting. I am not a big fan of Chris Pratt, but he is perfect as Starlord in both films. Zoe Saldana is also good, but the show is continually stolen by Bradley Cooper as a foul-mouthed talking raccoon. Throw in Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot and you have a cast of outcast heroes worth cheering.
I liked this film better than the first because of the cast being so much fun to watch. Not only do we get Sylvester Stallone and (in a memorable role) Kurt Russell, but Michael Rooker gets to be the hero. The 3-D, surprisingly, is very good, and the film never seems stuck in Marvel Movie Formula. In short, the film is a hoot and will probably make a gazillion dollars. And, yes, Stan Lee and Howard T. Duck make brief appearances.
Forget Spiderman and The Incredible Hulk and Thor Forget Wonder Woman. PLEASE forget Elektra and Catwoman. The comic book character we need to see on the big screen is Vampirella. Sexy, brave, and mean, she is everything that most of the comic book heroes and heroines are not. When will Vampirella get her due?
One person who obviously agrees with me about this is Roger Corman, who gave us a cheap but surprisingly decent and sexy film of the comic in 1996. Made for just $1,000,000, the film gave us Bond girl Talisa Soto as Vampirella, and the Who singer-songwriter Roger Daltrey as Vlad. The story, while impossible to take seriously, is OK. It’s an origin story with Vampirella and Vlad landing on Earth. She refuses to join the traditional vampires of Earth, while he revels in vampire glory and performs a song. They have major chemistry together, but he is her enemy. Basically, Vampirella is a misunderstood, tough, loveable woman, and every horny teenager’s wet dream.
This film was made on the cheap, but it’s pretty good. The acting is better than you’d expect, and, if you don’t mind stock footage from “Galaxy of Terror” being used, the production values are OK. It’s much better than Corman’s infamous, unreleased “Fantastic Four” movie. And Talisa Soto is HOT!
Please, Hollywood, give us a big-budget Vampirella movie. She’s a great character and her story deserves to be told. Until then, watch the 1996 film “Vampirella”, since it’s a sexy, fun movie. And please boycott the Wonder Woman move; it looks lame.