by Ruben R. Rosario
Available Now on Blu-ray and DVD from Funimation Entertainment.
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Japan isn’t known for making well made computer animated movies. Its here in the west that companies like Pixar and Dreamworks have made their marks and impact on the world. So when it came time to watch Vexille, from Oxybot Studio and Ping Pong director, Fumihiko Sori, I didn’t expect much of anything. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the studios adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed in a movie theatre, but it wasn’t as good or exciting as its source material. Vexille has changed all of these notions that I once had for Oxybot and under the guidance of Fumihiko Sori, Vexille is a wonderfully well made CG film, with tons of intense action and an interesting premise.
Vexille takes place in the somewhat distant future and focuses on the relationship between Japan and the rest of the world. Japan has found a unique way to merge biotechnology and robotics, in order to preserve the human life span. Once the UN hears about what they’re doing, they deem that their practices are unethical and should be monitored in their new findings. Japan decides that they want to take no part in this and decides to leave the UN and isolate themselves, via satellites that block out all frequencies of light and strict military control. Ten years later, America comes up with some findings of what Japan might be doing with their new found technology and decides to send out their special unit, SWORD, to infiltrate Japan and find out their new secrets.
With all of this set-up, Vexille manages to make something interesting out of plenty of concepts that have been used before. There’s influences from Dune to Total Recall and plenty of other sci-fi properties that one wouldn’t be surprised from all the elements that make up Vexille. Yet, the film manages to tell a compelling story through the use of its tragic characters and fantastic action sequences. One would think that all of this wouldn’t be possible by making this a CG film, but just like Pixar and Dreamworks, Oxybot pulls it off in a very Hollywood fashion and presents an amazing film unlike any other.
Funimation goes all the way to provide one of the best Blu-Ray releases they’ve ever done. Everything from the video, audio and special features presented on this disc make Vexille worth owning. The video is presented pristine 1080p video, Dolby True HD 5.1 English and Japanese audio and over three hours of special features. One of my favorite scenes in the film that made full use of the visual and aural presentation was SWORD breaking into Japan. Full of bass from DJ Shadow music to the images the team inching closer towards their goal that just made me love seeing this film on Blu-Ray. While the Japanese language track is really good, it was the English Dub that did a fantastic job at grounding the film in reality. While its very different from the original translation, the dub never comes off as overly dramatic, even when the main villain is busting out with a monologue.
Overall, Vexille is a film that anime fans and action junkies should not miss. Its got a great story and some intense visuals to keep anyone entertained for 100 minutes. Funimation put together a great disc and Oxybot put together a great film that’s quite a treat. Highly Recommended!
Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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