20 May 2008

VEXILLE (Dir. Fumihiko Sori, 2007, Japan) - Style Over Substance

Vexille stands alongside contemporary Japanese Anime films like Appleseed and Sky Blue that are stunning visual spectacles and easy on the eye but lacking in terms of narrative, characterisation and content. Vexille, the most recent film of the Anime wave, is another standard science fiction genre film that presents us with a dystopian vision of a Japanese society that has become completely isolated from the rest of the world. A military corporation that manufactures humanoids has turned Japan into one giant fortress. The use of digital animation is simply breathtaking but the technical achievements are somewhat shadowed by a dodgy plot, poor characterisation and an absence of emotions. Vexille runs through science fiction themes like technology’s enslavement of mankind and corporate power with such a degree of conventionality that the film becomes purely formulaic. The makers behind Vexille need to be weary of the fact that it is simply not good enough to allow the spectator to gasp in awe at the wonderfully crisp digital landscapes on display whilst feeling nothing whatsoever for the narrative or characters. It has been a long time since somebody came up with an original and involving Japanese Anime – the most accomplished effort that comes to mind was Oshi’s Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence, a sequel to his influential Anime film released in the 90s.

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