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.

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[Movie Review] Oz the Great and Powerful – Painfully Cheesy March 10, 2013


NOTE: SPOILERS

IMDB: 7.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 60% fresh

Disney had been known for two things, fairy tales and a good ending no matter what.

It’s no surprise Disney would touch on Oz, after all what’s better to attract the audience other than the nostalgia of our childhood.

Unfortunately when Hollywood attempts that, they often fail.

This movie shares several similarity with the 1939 classic Wizard of Oz, especially from the way they started the movie in sepia/black and white, then transit to color when Oz entered the world of Oz.

However it failed it’s attempt to be a valid prequel, instead it felt more like a stand-alone new franchise.(since they’re already making a sequel)

No doubt this movie is a visual extravaganza, burst of colors, beautiful costumes, amazing effects, I almost regretted not watching this in 3D.

They presented the world of Oz well enough to live up to it’s name, the costumes were good, the citizens of Oz were adorable pleasant people.

If I were to describe the movie in just one word, I know just the perfect word: cheesy.

You know there’s got to be something wrong with this movie when the actors and actresses themselves looked awkward on camera, I’m not even talking about Kristen Stewart sort of awkward, I’m talking about actually being awkward about what they’re told to do.

Rachel Weisz, an Oscar, Golden Globe award winner, looked awkward on camera. Perhaps she’s just not that great of an action star, but whenever the two wicked witches were supposed to summon their powers from their hands, it doesn’t feel very natural, especially so for Evanora since her powers are green colored electricity.

James Franco also felt painfully awkward on screen, it’s worst because he was supposed to be awkward, but he made it extra awkward with how awkward his awkwardness is.(it makes sense, trust me)

Every character felt one-dimensional, especially Mila Kunis’ Theodora.

She’s naive, she’s kind, she fell in love, she’s heart broken, she became wicked, and swore revenge…

The heart break and the process of her becoming wicked really didn’t felt like such a big deal.

Then right after she turns into the Wicked Witch of the West, she started screaming and screeching, becoming a completely different person, with little to no connections to her original self.

That was very hard for me to bear through because I love Mila Kunis, and I love Wicked Witch of the West because of the musical Wicked, instead this movie just ruined both of them for me.

They also gave a very weak reason to why the wicked witches were wicked. In fact they only showed Theodora becoming wicked, they never explained why Evanora was wicked, instead they simply told us, ‘yes she is wicked, she’s evil, she deserved all this’.

I was expecting a prequel of Oz would explain more than just how Oz gets to the land of Oz, at least touch a bit on Evanora’s history, and not make Rachel Weisz look like a one-dimensional villain.

Oz and Glinda the Good got together at the end, proving Theodora that everything her sister said became true.

The love between Oz and Glinda felt forced, I swear even Snow White falling in love with the prince made more sense than this.

It’s a shame that James Franco wasn’t that much of the cowardly Oz I was hoping for, the entire time he was this playboy caught up in a giant cat fight between the three witches.

I must also mention how much I didn’t like the wizard, right after finding out Glinda was the ‘wicked witch’, he immediately sides with Glinda without a single doubt, just because she looked like Annie she must have been the good witch?

Despite being the main cause Theodora became wicked, Oz barely felt sorry for it, if this was the original with Dorothy as the main character, I forgive that, but Oz is the main character, and main characters are supposed to do more than that to earn our respect.

It could also have served as a good lesson for kids, ‘when you do something wrong, apologize, and never lie to others when you know it’ll hurt them’.

The two side kicks are cute, but I believe they could have put a little more effort in making the flying monkey cuter.

I love monkeys, I could stare at them all day long, because of how beautifully innocent their eyes look, but this movie did not manage to capture that.(on this part Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters did better)

The china doll was adorable, but I would give more credit to the visual effects team who made her so realistic, from the way light reflects on her body, to the lines that shows every pieces of her.

That is pure art.

Even though the visual effects was beautiful, this movie didn’t felt as magical as the original.

This is another very common thing about prequel/sequel/remakes of a classical movies, no matter how much the visual effects had improved, the modern version just doesn’t feel as magical as the original.

Another example is Tim Burton’s modern Alice in Wonderland.

The very well done part of the movie has to the connection between Kansas and Oz, in which the flying monkey is a counterpart to Oz’s partner, the china doll being the little girl who wished Oz could let her walk, and of course Annie and Glinda.

That was really well done, and I would applaud the script writers for that, unfortunately the rest of the story was falling in pieces, the writing hardly made me feel enthusiastic or overwhelmed with any feelings.

To be very honest, this movie was a huge disappointment to those who grew up with the original.

I understand that there was a lot of hurdles Disney faced with touching on a classic that currently belongs to Warner Brothers, thus the lack of ruby slippers, actual terrifying flying monkeys, or even the slightest hint that Dorothy might appear in the future sequels of this new franchise.

I don’t have any idea what the sequel is gonna be about, perhaps the witches? Or even another prequel to what happened before Oz appeared?

We’ll only find out when the next Disney Oz movie comes out, meanwhile, perhaps we could pick up the original books by L. Frank Baum and immerse ourselves in the actual magical world of Oz.

Overall, 6.5/10.

Worth it for the effects, the storyline needs a lot more work, if you’re a loyal fan of the original, this won’t be what you’re expecting.

Also, was it just me, or did the witches all had to have their boobs and cleavage shown? Not like I’m complaining but that was definitely done on purpose right?

One more thing, my boyfriend was shaking when this movie kept referring Thomas Edison as the man who invented many things… but truth is, people who worked for him invented those things, not him.

Now I’ll post up the ticket stub if I watched a movie in the cinema~

 

 
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