Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame
Join Date: May 2006
Re: Rate & Mini-Summarize the Last Movie You Saw
Background: Casshern is based off the anime show, Shinzō Ningen Kyashān, from the 1970's, but it has many differences to the story than the original show. Also Casshern, along with Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow, was the first movie to use "Digital Backlot" technology. "Digital Backlot" is the same technology now used in movies like Sin City and 300. The actors act in front of a green screen, where everything is added in post production. Casshern & Sky Captain were literally released within months of each other back in 2004 and are the pioneers of this style.
Plot: *Warning: Spoilers For First 45 Minutes* After centuries of fighting between Europa and the Eastern Federation, the Eastern Federation comes out the victor, but as it always is with war, the aftermath is never peace. The people of Zone Seven, one of the last areas of Europa still populated with people, are deemed as terrorists and an ethnic cleansing occurs.
The ehtnic cleansing helps supply bodies to a renowned scientist named Dr. Azuma. He is the husband of a dying wife, Midori, and a son, Tetsuya, who wishes to go fight in the army only to spite his father. A tranquil scene shows his family and his son's fiance, Luna, and her father, Dr. Kozuki having a family portrait done. He has discovered that the people of Zone Seven hold in their DNA, "Neo-Cells." These "cells" have the fundamental capability to do anything involving organic growth and restoration. This is highly sought after by the highest figures in government and army because it means it's a chance for them to live longer....perhaps forever. For example, the Chancellor of the Eastern Federation Empire needs new organs and is always strapped to an oxygen tank.
As Dr. Azuma falls deep into his futile work, his wife becomes more ill by the day. The problem isn't that he can't restore and grow new organs and limbs, it's that none of it works.
On one faithful night, as his wife, now nearly blind, is at home being attended to by a house maid, a car arrives and she sends the maid out to greet them. As she sits and waits, a familiar hand brushes against her shoulder and a voice says "Mother, I'm home." She is relieved that her son has returned home from the army and they sit together...
At the same time, Dr. Azuma is visited by Dr. Kozuki and Luna, who waits in the lobby and lays down on a bench. Dr. Kozuki is eager to see the progress on his Neo-Cells work and to see how the good Dr. is. After telling Dr. Kozuki of his dilemma with the organs and limbs, Dr. Azuma receives a phone call telling him the horrible news. He is speechless and cannot do a single action or say a single word, only drop the phone from his hands. Back at home, a man enters the same room as Midori and tells her that Tetsuya has been killed in the war.
Like most deaths in the army, military, or whatever branch of service, the body is returned to the family. The phone call that told Dr. Azuma of his loss, also said the body had just arrived at his facility that night.
Like a surreal dream, the same Tetsuya that visited Midori that same night before she was told the news, is walking into his father's lab facility and sits next to where Luna is laying down. He whispers into her ear and she turns in her sleep, but does not wake.
At this moment, a Lightning shaped piece of technology comes crashing into the the testing chamber with all the Neo-Cells. Seconds later, all the limbs and organs become active and start attaching to each other and what appears are dozens of reanimated people.
Soon after, the army arrives and effectively eliminates all, but 4 of these newly reanimated people. One, who escapes first alive, jumps out of one of the higher floor's windows and lands on Tetsuya's casket. Tetsuya, who had been having bodily spasms and suffering searing pain, makes contact with the first "Neo-Sapian" and they stare at each other for a moment before the army arrives. It sees a car coming towards the laboratory and takes out the driver and guard and sees Midori sitting in the backseat. He grabs her as a hostage and meets up with the three other Neo-People that have escaped alive.
Still in shock at what has happened, Dr. Azuma does something extraordinary. He lifts Tetsuya's still corpse from the casket and carries him up into his test chamber and places him in the pool of Neo-Cells. As Tetsuya's disembodied soul watches on, he is forcefully thrusted back into his body where he desperately gasps for air.
The Neo-People decide to take refuge in Zone Seven where they are immune to the radiation and find solice in one of the war castles of Europa that used to be a robot factory. There, the leader of the Neo-People, Burai, tells them that the second they were alive, humans did nothing but take their lives back. They were never given a chance, never given a chance to be. So they will fight back at the humans, they will use the robot army of Europa and exterminate them, like they had exterminated their brothers and sisters back at the laboratory.
Simultaneously, at Dr. Kozuki and Luna's home, Tetsuya is being treated in a thermal heated water chamber due to his muscles being super strong and yet having an extremely weak body due to the reanimation process. Dr. Kozuki tells Luna that he has been working on an experimental armor for the army that can dampen physical stress on the body and enhance movement, speed, and reflexes. He will give it to Tetsuya once he is ready.
The following days, the Neo-People attack the Eastern Federation with the robot army and it becomes an onslaught of horror. Coincidentally, one of the Neo-People, Sagure, demolishes half of Dr. Kozuki's home. She kills Dr. Kozuki and as she is about to do the same to Luna, Tetsuya emgerges from the chamber, already in his suit, and his journey begins.
They say once in awhile, a god will appear created from Lightning, they call him..."Casshern."
My Thoughts: In all my years of watching anime and J-Cinema, I have never come across a gem such as this. A movie that took 3 years to be brought over to the US. A movie that redefines how I look at a science fiction movie or anime. This movie is a pinnacle of visual art and an achievement in storytelling using "Digital Backlot" technology. If you have any chance of buying this or even renting it, do so without a second thought.
Notes: The audio is only in Japanese, but the subtitles are excellent and it would be a shame if they had dubbed this movie. The DVD has ZERO extras. Only two previews, Transformers and Next.
Tidbits: Anime fans might recognize some action songs from Bleach, the composer of the movie did both the score for Casshern and Bleach at the same time. Also the director is married to Hikaru Utada, who did the title track for the movie.
Overall: 9.4/10 (Score Rounded Up)
Trailer: Japanese Trailer - http://www.apple.com/jp/quicktime/tr...ern_large.html
English Subtitles Trailer - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0405821/...lay-E35207-310