The Garden Filled With Weeds

Movie Reviews, ACG and Cosplay Discussion, or just any rambling topics that come to my mind.

[Movie Review] Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie: The Rebellion Story February 10, 2014


It’s actually pretty rare for me to do reviews for Anime movies, because I have a very different scale for them, I’m a lot more lenient and forgiving to the mistakes Anime may have made, as compared to a live action movie.

However, this movie really had me stunned for a really long time after watching it, so I had to write a post about it.

Still, this movie will not be like my other review, it’ll be more of my ramblings about this movie.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica(I’m just gonna type Madoka Magica from now on) is a very popular Anime, that experiments and challenges the concept of the Mahou Shojo(Magical girls) genre, it also deals with teenage girls’ emotions and feelings in a very believable and relatable manner.

It’s a series that makes you think it’s something, but turns out to be a completely different thing, and I guarantee you, it’s a pleasant surprise.

This movie is the third instalment for the series’ movie trilogy, all new events and storyline, also, the grand finale.

At first I thought this movie is going to be a happy conclusion of the whole series, something that marks the end of this journey, that we can contently tuck it into our collection folder and move on.

And… I was wrong, so very wrong.

I really should have expected it considering that was exactly what I felt when I first watched the Anime series, expecting rainbows and butterflies, but what I got was me looking down at my chest to see my heart shatter into a thousand pieces.

I love the visual in the entire series, when the magical girls are fighting against their enemies, the visual design for the enemies is shown in a very classical, dark fairytale kinda design.

It’s one of the reason why I love Anime, even despite of being someone who studies film, and kinda do a little bit of Animation here and there.

Anime dares to go beyond the norm, the only animated movie that was nominated for the Oscar in the last 10 years that actually made me feel that it was being bold and dared to reach beyond the limits of the norms for it’s visual design, is Coraline.

However anyone who watched more than 5 different Anime in a year, can tell you that, experimenting and reaching beyond what is expected of them, is a pretty typical thing in Anime.

Madoka Magica is a solid example of that, it’s not the best animated movie ever, it can’t be compared to Miyazaki’s films, but the effort put into it to make this movie, this entire series, special, is greatly commendable.

Another thing I’d like to talk about, is how the movie deals with emotions of the characters.

For a series centered around the topic of ‘hope’ and ‘despair’, you’d expect melodramatic plots of teenage girls crying over boys, and you’d get exactly NOT that.

Not sure about the male audience, but as a female, there’s a lot of things the characters go through in this series, that I can relate really well to.

Even for the ultimate despair, you can feel the character’s last shred of hope disappearing in front of your eyes, you feel for them.

Which was why when a character does a really terrible thing, you don’t completely hate them, because you knew how much pain they were going through, and so you forgive them a little bit for the bad things they do.

The character Kyubey, despite our ultimate hatred towards him, I actually really like his existence in the series.

He is the existence that sees a picture so big, he can’t be bothered to care for the smaller pictures. It makes him a cruel existence that exploits and manipulates teenage girls, for the greater good that only he know about.

The only reason why Kyubey is cruel and cold blooded to us, is because we don’t see what he sees.

We relate to the magical girls easily, they’re humans, they have emotions, we have emotions, we can sympathize with people who experience the same thing as us.

But for Kyubey, he is bigger than us, his goal is to maintain stability in the universe, we would probably never be given such a huge responsibility, so we can never understand his actions, which makes him look like an asshole.

When you really think about it, he’s just doing his job, to make sure this entire universe still exist.

That doesn’t mean I like him though, I still hate him.

The ending of this movie, is what made this movie complete.

It’s shocking and heart wrenching, but in a way, it’s not completely unexpected or unreasonable.

Following the lives of these girls, there’s a part of you that will eventually realise that, this is exactly what is gonna happen.

All the things every character did, were logical, and all these actions, eventually leads up to the climax of this story.

I love the direction they took with this, it’s a great decision, it breaks my heart, but that just means they succeeded in achieving what this series is striving for.

What is frustrating me about this movie, is whether will there be a sequel.

The ending left you at a point, that if this is the final end, it will be despair for the fans forever, it can actually be considered a bad ending, a tragedy. It leaves you empty, they take away what we hold preciously and throws it in the shredder, when reminded of this series again, a void will always appear within ourselves.

However, if there is gonna be a sequel, it would drive the whole series back up to a different direction, a hopeful inspiring story that will etched onto the memories of the fans for a really long time, giving the audience a complete conclusion. It will become a classic, something that does not die off even with the test of time.

In conclusion, The Rebellion Story is a perfect movie for the trilogy, however, I won’t consider it an actual ending to the story.

I wish everyone could give this trilogy a chance, and look beyond the fact that it’s Anime.

That’s all, and I’d really like to thank my friend BPRX(Cosplay Meme’s page admin) for helping me buy the tickets for this movie, I’m terrible at booking tickets for limited showings, without his help I wouldn’t be able to have such a great experience watching this movie on the big screen.

Rating: 10/10 – Well designed, well planned, a movie that is here because of the success of the franchise, but not here just for the money.

 

[Movie Review] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – A True Revolution December 7, 2013


IMDB: 8.2

Rotten Tomatoes: 89% [Certified Fresh]

Metacritics: 75%

My rating: 9/10

For many years, teenage fiction film adaptions were always judged on another scale.

A different scale from the usual movies, one that is arguably more lenient and taken less seriously.

With past examples like Twilight and Percy Jackson, the first Hunger Games movie created a good impression, increased book sales, brought in some money…

But this one, Catching Fire, is where the real revolution begins.

This film just straight up leapt the franchise onto a whole new level.

The last time this happened, I remember it was Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, where the first Batman Begins was pretty good, but the second just reached such a new height that it impressed everyone, including those who initially were doubtful about it.

A clarification, I’ve read part of the first book, didn’t finish it due to time issues, so I went into this movie with the minimum expectation of the first movie. It’s one of the things I like doing, it allows me to judge a movie as a movie itself, without prior prejudice and expectations because of the book.

One of the first thing I have to praise, is the pacing of this movie.

This movie is just so engaging that I didn’t realise how much time went past by the time this movie ended.

I remember a secondary school teacher told me once before, that a good movie, is supposed to make you not think about anything else, but the movie itself, while you’re watching it. It’s like marrying yourself to the movie for that short moment of time, fully getting inside the world.

And this movie did exactly that, I was into this movie the whole entire time I’m watching it.

It’s a roller coaster ride of events, and a real exciting one.

Another thing is the characters. One of the minor problem I had with the previous Hunger Games movie was that, I didn’t care much for the characters, only a few like Rue and Katniss, but the rest of them you don’t feel that attached to.

However in this one, some of the character’s death just outright breaks your heart, and even if it didn’t, you wish they didn’t die.

They portrayed these character in a way that you start feeling empathy for them, you start to like them, get attached to them, and so losing them became a big deal.

Many had praised Jena Malone’s performance, and I must say, she is amazing, she killed it in every scene, I really want to see more of her, I can’t get enough of her.

I want her to become the next big thing in Hollywood so I can see more of her performance, I think The Hunger Games franchise has the potential to help many uprising stars to become Hollywood’s next big star, like what it did for Jennifer Lawrence.

Talking about characters, in this one, the chemistry between the casts is greatly improved.

You could really feel Katniss and Peeta being stuck in this awkward position where things were supposed to be an act, but it hurts Peeta, and Katniss doesn’t know how to handle it.

In the last one I barely felt anything when Katniss kissed Peeta, but for this one, I actually could feel the tension between them, and I could see the feelings growing between them.

You see the growth in Effie’s character, you see the interaction between President Snow and his granddaughter, which are all really really well established, even though it’s just a few sentences, or a look on their faces.

One thing I’m very grateful about is that they no longer used the same amount of shaky-cam, I’m really not a fan of the misuse of shaky-cam, and I can’t be more grateful for this movie to be more stable than the previous one.

I’m not sure is it just me, or the lack of shaky-cam actually made this movie feel a lot more cinematic, it feels more big-scale, and I guess when you have enough money for a movie, you don’t have to hide things with shaky-cam.

The world of Panem becomes a little more familiar to us in this one.

In the previous one, we just know one or two things about it, but in this one, we get a little more details to the different districts, mainly thanks to the more significant existence of the tributes this time.

The director, Francis Lawrence, I’ve never watched any other movie of his, I just know he directed I Am Legend, and he started off as a music video director before stepping into film.

I have a feeling that this franchise is going to help his career, he’s definitely going to be one of the names people will start looking out for, at least I will have some faith in him when I see his name on a movie poster.

This movie proves that he can take on blockbuster movie and present a masterpiece in a short amount of time.

I am really excited for the next one, I think I’m definitely gonna pick up the books again and finish it.

I want to dive deeper into the world of Panem, I want to find out more about each of the characters, I wish Suzanne Collins continue the franchise and write more spin-off books. Maybe about the first Hunger Games ever, or just the history of the first rebellion.

Of course we don’t know will that ever happen, but that definitely shows that this franchise is getting successful.

 

 
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