I went to see the new ONE PIECE movie on Monday, One Piece Film Red to give it its full title. I was excited to watch it on the big screen. I was also making the most of something pretty rare over here: an early release for a movie in Japan! Well, it is a Japanese movie so I guess there are no surprises there. We usually have to wait weeks if not months for the majority of movies from other shores.
So how was it? Well, it was bright, colourful and very very musical. In fact I thought it was a musical as it features seven songs by the young Japanese singer Ado. It felt like a series of music videos set in the One Piece universe. The songs are performed by new character “Uta” which means “song” in Japanese. Here’s the brief synopsis of the film:
“Uta is a beloved singer, renowned for concealing her own identity when performing. Her voice is described as “otherworldly.” Now, for the first time ever, Uta will reveal herself to the world at a live concert.”
So the movie is basically the One Piece characters watching Uta’s LIVE Concert, which leads to some backstory about the new character and some rather confusing battles. The animation uses a mixture of traditional 2D and CGI, especially during the musical numbers. The effect verges on psychedelic at times. Ironically mushrooms play an important part in the story, but no spoilers here.
I’m a big fan of director Sam Raimi, especially his earlier movies. I love Darkman, Evil Dead II, The Quick and the Dead, Spider-Man and the brilliant Spider-Man 2. I’d heard this film was flawed but I still wanted to see it. I mean, I’m a huge comic book fan, too. I’m also an eternal (foolish) optimist who is a sucker for some fancy visuals.
Yes, this film is flawed. The basic plot premise is ridiculous. It shows obvious signs of its reported 50~80% of reshoots. But you know what? I enjoyed it. There, I’ve said it. Unleash your rotten tomatoes. I have been honing my ninja skills for the last twenty years, so I’ll probably dodge most of them in slo-mo Matrix style.
I went in with fairly low expectations and came out smiling. People seem to be forgetting what this is: a comic book movie. I went looking for magical battles between sorcerers and a mad-as-hell Scarlet Witch and that’s exactly what I got. There are some spectacular on-screen depictions of magical moments that could be ripped right off a comic book page. And I was happy with that. Easily pleased? Perhaps.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll be aware that I started a YouTube channel at the end of June this year. I do reviews of comics mainly, with some book, TV and movie reviews sprinkled in. I was delighted when I hit 100 subscribers at the beginning of November. My goal is to reach the magic 1000 over the next couple of years, but I realize how difficult it can be to make any kind of progress on the platform. Goodness only knows how many YouTubers there are in total. Let’s say more than ten!
My videos usually get between 50 and 300 views, and I’m always delighted if they reach triple figures. By a rare stroke of good fortune, my recent review ofThe Matrix Resurrectionsgot noticed by the infamous “YouTube algorithm” and reached ten thousand views on the day I uploaded it. This was down to luck and very good timing. For once, Japan got a movie release earlier than the rest of the world: December 17th. (I think it was out in Thailand, too.) We have to wait until January 7th for the new Spider-Man movie, though. Doh!
My Review of The Matrix Resurrections (2021) starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jada Pinkett Smith & more. The Video Review below is “Spoiler-Free” until 09:40.
I watched this Japanese animated movie last night and really enjoyed it. I was looking for a “Christmas movie” to watch and chose this because it takes place over Christmas and New Year. It was directed by Satoshi Kon, who is probably better known for his 1997 animated psychological thriller Perfect Blue. He also made Paprika (2006), another memorable animated movie that some say Christopher Nolan “borrowed” from for Inception (2008). I recommend them both. In researching the film, I learned that Satoshi Kon died of pancreatic cancer in 2010. He was only 46 years old.
Tokyo Godfathers tells the story of three homeless people and their experiences after finding an abandoned baby during one cold winter in Tokyo. Gin (pron. with a hard “g”) is a middle-aged man who has had problems with gambling in the past. Haru is a gay man who used to work in a Tokyo nightclub. Midori is a teenage girl who left home after fighting with her father. They exist as a kind of “pseudo-family” doing their best to survive on the streets of Tokyo. They are each believable characters who made me care about their stories.
Hi everyone, how are you doing? Have you seen the new adaptation of DUNE yet? I watched it at my local cinema last Sunday and I loved it! It is a truly stunning cinematic experience with beautiful visuals and an incredible sound mix. I’m a big fan of the book. I reviewed it on here last year. I’m also a fan of David Lynch’s 1984 film version. I went to see it when it came out back in 1984 in Manchester. I was only 11 years old and I didn’t understand a lot of it. But I got completely pulled into the film and Lynch’s bizarre world. It remains a really good memory for me.
I tried my first livestream on YouTube today. I reviewed DUNE (2021) and also talked about the Lynch movie as well as the original Frank Herbert novel. Here’s a link to my video review. If you watch it, please forgive my mistakes and pauses. It was great fun to make this livestream and I’m just delighted that it worked.
If you have seen the new film, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I will have a new book review posted on Sunday, hopefully. Until then, have a great weekend and thanks for reading!
-Wakizashi, *still thinking about the new DUNE movie*
It’s difficult to find good movie adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories. Out of the few I’ve seen, “Re-Animator” (1985) and John Carpenter’s 1994 movie “In the Mouth of Madness” are the best in my opinion. “Re-Animator” is a loose adaptation of the story “Herbert West: Reanimator” (1922). “In the Mouth of Madness” is not a direct adaptation of any Lovecraft story, it’s more of a tribute to the author’s weird fiction. (If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It’s a pulpy blast of B-movie madness with a memorable performance by Sam Neill.)
So when I heard about this recent film version of Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space” I was curious to watch it. Especially after I learned it was directed by Richard Stanley, the South African director who had seemingly disappeared from the movie scene after being fired from that production of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” (1996). I enjoyed Stanley’s first two films “Hardware” (1990) and “Dust Devil” (1992), which have since become considered “cult classics”.