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  • With Stan Lee's name practically being synonymous with half of the major comic book titles, one only has to add his name to the title in order to sell a new product to certain audiences. Myself, I was more interested in one of the members of the voice cast. I could literally listen to Anna Paquin read out both volumes of the Sydney phone book. However, a name in the cast will only take one so far, and there has to be something behind the facade to keep the audience interested. Mosaic is a pilot in every sense of the word, clearly intended as a demo tape for studio executives rather than something to hook the audience with. Given that this pilot is being sold on DVD in Australia before a series is contemplated, I would suspect that Mosaic has ended up where so many pilots end up. Discarded and forgotten about by executives who are overloaded with this kind of material already. Thanks to the wonders of DVD-Video and the collector's market, however, we can enjoy this effort at creating a new franchise, as well as the reasons it did not take off, at our leisure.

    The problem that probably killed Mosaic at the marketplace is that it is clearly intended for the Saturday morning cartoon circuit, a market that appears to be very much on its last legs. This sets limits upon the creativity of the screenwriters that do not sit well with the subject material at hand. In the seventy-two minute running time, such subjects as a hidden alien race, an international conspiracy involving the robbery of museums, and a parent unknowingly swearing to wipe out a subrace that apparently includes his own child are all touched upon. But the need to pander to that all-important preteen market severely limits the depths to which these subjects can be explored. The irony here is that in the mere two minutes that Mosaic touches upon the last subject in the list I have just outlined, it does so in a far more intelligent and insightful manner than the entire hundred minutes of the third X-Men film, which fans around the world have disowned in droves. Perhaps a series was not picked up because Fox could not stand to invite the comparison.

    As I previously mentioned, Anna Paquin could read the phone book for a couple of hours and have me mesmerised. Her smooth, soft voice could be poured onto pancakes and eaten. It also helps that the character she is voicing, Maggie, is clearly modelled after her. Her character gets the vast majority of the screen time, and it is a credit to her that she sounds so sincere when delivering dialogue that occasionally devolves into the childish. Kirby Morrow and Nicole Oliver deliver most of the rest of the dialogue, and provide an adequate framework for Anna to bounce her lines off. However, for all intents and purposes, this is really Anna's show, and I submit that you have not lived until you hear her voice coming out of the mouth of a blonde cartoon woman. Granted, it is no substitute for seeing Anna in front of the camera, pulling the most wicked face while delivering the sort of lines that just stick in the memory forever. But when you have bought or stolen every DVD you can find in which she appears...

    The imagery is also quite a nice throwback to the days when animation was done with cels and ink rather than a computer. Looking somewhat like the Japanese animation that flooded the market in the mid-1980s, Mosaic is very pleasant to look at. All of the usual 1980s cartoon staples are present and accounted for. Invisibility is represented by a white outline of a transparent character while characters punch, kick, and throw each other about for what seems like hours on end with nary a drop of blood spilled. Mosaic is unafraid to let the audience's imagination fill in some of the gaps. Unfortunately, it also relies on the audience's imagination a little too much when it comes to critical questions. The ability of the chameleon race to evade detection by mainstream society for so long is very high among them. Also begging the question is how the chameleon race can live for the centuries they claim in an environment that is ostensibly identical to ours. But the story is fortunately enough to distract viewers from such questions.

    The character of Maggie is at once the strength and the weakness of this pilot. Being a Stan Lee character, as much as possible is made of her attempts to understand and come to terms with her newfound powers. It does sound a lot like a stripped-down version of X-Men, but Mosaic is one of the few entrants in the market that actually benefits from this approach. Cast overcrowding in a two-hour feature is a very difficult thing to avoid, but Mosaic gets the balance right by allocating almost all of its seventy-two minutes to a single character. We spend so much time learning of Maggie's world, both inside and out, that at the end when the plot takes on a threatening new direction (presumably for future episodes), it has that much more impact. Unlike the third X-Men film, which left the most rabid fans of its predecessors wanting to erase it from existence, Mosaic leaves the viewer wanting more. About the only problem, as previously hinted, is that it allows too little time to delve deeper into its subject material. A continuation of this particular episode is not just wanted, it is practically necessary.

    I gave Mosaic a seven out of ten. I would have liked a deeper, more inventive plot, but what was delivered certainly kept my attention all the way through. It is definitely a keeper.
  • stan lee has a penchant for taking a ridiculous idea and turning it into something fairly entertaining. let's face it, spider-man was a ridiculous idea, but it has grown into an amazing phenomenon. mosaic will never get there; stan is way past his prime, but it is entertaining none the less.

    the main character is likable, but not as much as stan wants you to like her. one thing that makes no sense to me is that the movie is titled mosaic, when the character mosaic is neither the protagonist nor antagonist of the movie. sure, maggie would have been a stupid name for a superhero movie, but surely they could have done better than a secondary character for the title.

    it's more entertaining than some of the big budget comic book movies, worth the the hour and fifteen minutes or so required to watch it.
  • The beginning credits for this animated Stan Lee production contains scenes of superhero ripoffs of other popular characters like Batman, Captain America and the Hulk. Not a good omen, I thought, of an original superhero film by Stan Lee. Imagine my surprise when I found that this film had a freshness and joy to it I found contagious. Is the movie great? Nope, but I'll get to that in a minute.

    Let me focus on the reason the movie works: the hero. None of the powers Maggie (Anna Paquin) gain are original. Shape shifting, invisibility, wall-crawling, super-strength...they've all been done before. In fact, before this film I would have argued that there were no original heroes left to be had. Somehow, this combination of powers with the character of a high-school female drama student seemed original to me. Yes, we've seen teenage heroes before but I really found myself taken with how Maggie's reactions to her abilities seemed more real than scripted. There are very, very few original female superheroes (Wonder Woman and the Invisible Girl are all that come to mind right now) and a majority of them are thinly-veiled excuses to have chesty woman in tight, revealing clothes. The character of Maggie is never used in an overtly sexy way (though when she turns invisible her outline looks rather naked and she has a dream of being in her underwear) and she is written with more depth than would be expected from a direct-to-DVD animated feature.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the film doesn't support its main character. From writing to animation, everything else is lackluster. It would be nice to see someone put more effort and money into animating these direct-to-DVD films (Ultimate Avengers I and II) beyond the level of..well..direct-to-DVD animated fare.

    The tone of the movie tries to go beyond Saturday morning fare with some mild swearing and scenes of violence but Batman: The Animated Series routinely found ways of being far more sophisticated without cursing or on-screen bloodletting.

    So, why do I give this an 8 out of 10? Is the main character that good? Yes. I think strong, smart, realistic female superheros are rare and must be embraced even if the films they are in aren't up to par. Stan Lee struggled for a while after Marvel with characters that never found the glory of his original run at Marvel. Mosaic is the first project that I feel touches that magic everyone felt in the 60s when Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, and the X-Men first hit the shelves. I can now say I can't wait to see what's next.

    The Fuzzy Dan Speaketh
  • The story seems good enough. Daughter of an Interpol agent gets tangled up with mysterious ancient relic, which then gives her comic book hero powers. The characters are well developed and likable. The pacing is good and really does feel similar to an episode of 'Mighty Max'.

    The writing is clichéd. There aren't any big twists, save for one minor one near the end. The ending is abrupt, and predictable.

    Animation is decent enough. A bit like the current warner brothers cartoons, except with a higher budget and more detailed animation.

    Its kid friendly with no swearing and only has some violence (neck snap of one security guard).

    If you are lacking good Saturday Morning Cartoons and need a fix, this will do. Otherwise skip it.
  • I just saw this on Netflix and I disagree with the previous poster.(crispy comments) this is a CARTOON. yes the main character acts ditsy. So did Buffy the Vampire Slayer. yet she had a good run (7 seasons).

    Stan lee is obviously trying out different new characters in a one off setting similar to the action pack setting that brought us Kevin Sorbo as Hercules and the dreadful Cleopatra 2525.

    the art is similar to the old sat morning cartoons. however it is a little more adult in that it actual SHOWS (not in shadow as most PG rated cartoons) one person getting murdered and another beaten to a bloody mess. no bloodless fistfights here.

    as for Crispy's complaints about the "over-sexualization", I would point to several other cartoon such as batman the animated series and justice league and their depiction of super heroine garb.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm just an average teenage girl who is a fan of comic books. I only happened to be watching this at 2 in the morning and I thought it was fantastic! A lot of people say that there are a lot of ripoffs like the powers, effects, and images. But really the entire idea put together is completely original and unique. And really if there such a thing as being original anymore? A kick-ass teenage drama student who has the powers of a chameleon, with a best friend who is in love with her, a guy who is pretty much from a different planet teams up with her to save the world from an Alchemist crazy chameleon dude. A lot of action and unsuspecting twists. I loved this movie and I can't wait for more.
  • Stan Lee's new animated direct-to-DVD movie, 'Mosaic' is nothing new or amazing, despite the Hype-Master's -- er -- hype. It isn't bad, but there are a few cringe-inducing moments, mostly when overly-expositional dialogue is forced into the script.

    The plot concerns a high-school drama gal, Maggie, who gains strange chameleon powers from an artifact her father finds on a case at a museum ( he's with Interpol ). Anna Pacquin voices Maggie, and does as well as she can with some contrived dialogue. The other voice actors range from so-so to adequate, again hindered by the script.

    The animation, script and concept are 1990's Saturday morning cartoon quality. The artwork is occasionally brilliant, but mostly serviceable. All in all -- meh. It was only ten bucks, but I'd wait for it to go on sale.

    My copy came with a small comic book, and there are some amusing extras. That Stan, what a card.
  • "Mosaic" has some good ideas but the story is a mess and any discriminating audience will find it banal. this animated film tells an original story by Stan Lee, a brand new superhero from the man himself! When Maggie Nelson (voiced by Anna Paquin) gains chameleon-like super powers, she decides to investigate a mysterious murder at a New York City museum. While piecing together the clues, she uncovers a plot to take over the world.

    The film really feels like a television pilot, with animation that isn't terrible but never really warrants any special mentions, a plot that is predictable and filled with clichés and a lot of confusion on the script level. There is a reveal about a young man named Mosaic (voiced by Kirby Morrow) and his relationship the big bad guy that is totally predictable for Instance. It MIGHT have been a twist back in the 60's, but nowadays its cliché. There are also a lot of unexplainable; I'd even say "bad" decisions from a script level. Although it appears to be clear that "Maggie" inherits her powers from a magical artifact, there are constant hints that her pet chameleon is also involved, despite numerous references to a prophecy explaining exactly what is going on. Characters only show hints of a personality (which once again gives the impression that their traits would have been developed over time) and a lot of stilted dialog that is not only badly written but makes no sense (a scene where healing abilities are described as "shapeshifting" comes to mind).

    I am tempted to say that if there had been a sequel, this could have been the start of an interesting female series. The more I think about it though, the more this feels more like a dated concept, or a knockoff of a classic superhero story than anything else. There's no doubt that with time this character could have become a classic, but that's because this story Is written as if there are no other superhero comics in existence. As is, "Mosaic" is only good entertainment for pre-teens. (Dvd, November 22, 2012)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is pretty much based off of a comic in how the style of animation is done and the script. Stan Lee wrote the script. It starts out with a typical way of a murder happening and someone who gets their hands on something they have no clue how to use.

    Maggie is pretty beautiful and seems well put together in what she wants to be and who she is. Sometimes she acts like a teenager though she has the body of an adult. The only thing she doesn't have seems to be her father's attention most of the time. He always seems to busy with his work to stay for her full performance. It's basically the typical idea of superhero background. Father gets attacked and she gets her powers after. We get the whole Spiderman genetics detail of her body changing too when she transforms. There are a lot of things that seem like a copy of Spiderman and they do make fun of it once in a while. One bad thing about this, she talks to herself a lot. She always seems to have to give explanations of why she is doing something.

    Mosaic is basically the gateway to the other side. The person that explains all that has happened to her and what the Chameliel world is like. I wouldn't be surprised if he was the love interest (Not saying yes or no to that) because of how he acts. He's actually rather cute as well in his 'normal' face. He and her make a cute couple… anyway. He knows much and yet seems to always be surprised when she one ups him.

    The artwork is actually very beautiful and detailed, much again like a comic book. I fell in love with the art style in this for it was also very colorful and bright even in the darker parts.

    The voices seem odd, almost like they are disconnected from their bodies. It's somewhat like a radio show this way with the artwork done afterwords. It isn't bad, just different. Another thing that seems interesting is that they explain a lot and they tried hard not to have cuss words.

    The only problem is that it doesn't have an ending. It actually keeps it open and I have not found anything more about the show giving a second movie.
  • Just saw this on TV, for FREE, thank goodness. If this movie was aimed at 12 year old girls, (as the juvenile characters and tone would seem to indicate) that's an insult to 12 year old girls. I'd like to think that even *they* would appreciate a well-written story that's smart and engaging. Mosaic was boring.

    The main character comes across as, well, a dumb 12 year old girl trapped in the body of a fully grown woman. She acts like a childish simpleton, with little-girly mannerisms, a vapid smile, and a terrible, superficial "what a fun sleepover!" vocal delivery, even during serious situations - the voice actress, Anna Paquin, SUCKS. Her tone is too fluffy and clueless and it sounds like she isn't paying attention to the meaning of the dialogue/scene, or really interacting with the other actors in a convincing way. I know in animation the actors are usually recorded separately, but *good* voice actors can overcome that disadvantage. Too bad they went for a Celebrity Name instead.

    It's more than a little disconcerting to see a character who behaves/sounds so young/immature, drawn with the body of a playboy model. I assume this was done to try to appeal to boys who might otherwise be bored silly by the slow-moving plot and lack of action? Well, good luck trying to make a movie for both little girls AND big boys. That makes for a squicky experience I like to call The Britney Spears Effect.

    The previous reviewer who said the main character wasn't overly sexualized, must've missed the scene where Maggie walks straight towards the "camera" until her chest completely fills the frame. There's no good reason for that...it's just plain gratuitous and tacky.

    What can I say about the story? Generic superpowers, generic villains-wanna-takeover-the-world plot. I'd like to see more female superheroes starring in movies, etc. But this one ain't exactly a great role model for girls. She only reinforces the stereotypical male fantasy object - a ditsy busty blonde, sweet and kinda dumb, more interested in romance and shallow pursuits than real adventure - who'll help out the men in her life, in a cute, non-threatening way, but always rely on her guy to lead the way and tell her what to do. Sure she has some heroic moments where she saves a few people, but it feels contrived, not triumphant.

    She has the ability to shapeshift and turn invisible, but persists in changing back to her normal form constantly, EVEN WHEN SHE KNOWS PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR HER AND EVEN WHEN SHE'S SPYING ON THE BAD GUYS (who, of course, catch her). It would be so easy to hide from them, but then I suppose the producers/animators wanted us to look at the purty girl as much as possible. It just makes her look...stupid. Plus, if I remember correctly (bored as I was), it's the Mosaic character who comes up with the plan to utilize her abilities at the film's climax. (Oh yeah, did I mention that - unlike every other movie about a superhero/ine - "Mosaic" is not even named after the main character? If you need more proof that she's useless...)

    And how about that whiplash at the end of the movie, when we're supposed to believe Maggie's mourning the death of someone she "loved", (would you believe they actually used the cheesy clichéd "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" scream?) and the next second she's all smiles again, perky and joking around, and reciting Shakespeare (badly) for her audition. There is no emotional honesty here. Consequently the viewer can't get emotionally invested.

    Bad writing, superficial characterization, clichéd scenarios, and really basic unimpressive animation. Waste of time.

    ETA: If I may reply to pharmstock's comments directed at me: Regarding "over-sexualization", I said nothing about "super-heroine garb", actually. And I have no problem with the way women are portrayed in Batman The Animated Series. I wouldn't compare that smartly written, stylishly animated series to "Mosaic" at all. As for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, maybe she acted a bit "ditsy" in the first season but the character was created to subvert the horror cliché of the dumb, helpless blonde. She was a Valley Girl...easy to understimate, but smarter and stronger than she looked. I don't see what that has to do with "Mosaic". You can't take Buffy's most superficial characteristics, omitting the *reason* for them, give them to another character for *no* good reason, and then try to justify it by saying, "well, Buffy did it."
  • Oh the irony.

    The basic premise of this show is "change and adaptability". Maggie's special powers to change her physical appearance to mimic others along with her natural talents as an actress, all play around this theme of adaptability winning over the obstinate and unwillingness to change. The latter is personified by the ancient Chamelia race who are so grounded in their overconfidence about their own natural superhuman abilities).

    It is ironic that in a show revolving around the themes of "change" and adaptability, the creative team shows none of those traits.

    Stan Lee manages to bring some very human and very well fleshed out characters, akin to his classic work on Spiderman in the 60s. THe problem is that although the characters were interesting and easy to relate to, Stan Lee's characterization of them are straight out of 1960s comics. Mosaic is littered with some of the most unoriginal concepts that seem plucked from a variety of sources.( THe shape changing powers, girl next door protagonist, ancient race of super-humans, and magical artifacts etc). Yes it would have been a very original concept, had it come out back in the 60s. But For an "original creation" by Stan Lee, it is possibly one of the most unoriginal combination of concepts there is in existence today.

    Scott Lobdell, the writer, brings some entertaining dialog and fun, witty lines to this show. However, he too seems to be stuck in "the old days". His script is laden with unnecessary exposition in the dialog and even some campy monologues(like when Maggie talks to herself, out loud, about her new powers)that would not seem out of place in a 1980s children's comic book. I accept that some exposition is required in comics since a writer only has 22 to 30+ pages each month to tell a continuing over-arching story, but this is a single animated movie, not a bunch of 30 page comic issues. Not to mention that most of the dialog comes across as being rather juvenile.

    So we have Unoriginal concepts, juvenile story and writing that seem to be stuck in the days of care bears and cotton candy. Take that and top it off with some of the best animation of the early 90s.

    But oh wait! It's not the early 90s anymore.

    Even the look and feel of this show is dated. The character designs are very simplistic with minimal art detail aside from the inconsistent shadows. This looks like a lost cartoon series pilot movie from the era of Captain Planet that Film Roman dug up, added some digital effects and colors and passed it off as a new product. The animation is only mediocre compared to today's TV series standards which is seriously dismal when compared to other Direct-to-DVD animated features like Ultimate Avengers and Superman:Doomsday.

    Mosaic had a great premise but could have been so much more if it had been left in the hands of a better creative team who can adapt to the changing times and deliver a product that people would want to watch. Not one who's members are each stuck in their own dated style of their respective heydays.
  • DarthBill4 August 2008
    5/10
    So-So
    Warning: Spoilers
    Stan Lee, once one of the most innovative & imaginative driving forces in the comic book industry (he gave us the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, The Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, Dr. Strange, etc. - with help from such gifted artists like Jack Kirby), now offers us this passable if unspectacular DVD feature about Maggie Nelson (voiced by Anna Pacquin). Maggie Nelson, who looks a lot like Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four, is a young woman in her late teens who aspires to be an actress who is sucked out of her ordinary life into a world of adventure when she gets jacked up with the powers of a chameleon, among a few other nifty gifts (such as super strength, wall crawling like Spider-Man and the ability to become invisible, much like the aforementioned Invisible Woman, whom she resembles quite strongly), and then must help the mysterious man known only as Mosaic (voiced by Kirby Morrow) thwart an evil race of man-chameleons.

    Definitely not on par with Stan's best work or even better DTV's like Ultimate Avengers 1 (though the animation quality is about the same) or Justice League: The New Frontier. But I guess Stan needs to keep himself busy and, while the feature is a bit lackluster, it's not really bad enough to be outright bad either. It obviously tries to put a hip new spin/twist on the concept of the teenager becoming a superhero storyline, but never quite rises above it. It has a few inspired moments, just not enough.

    Maggie is likable enough, but not as fleshed out as we would like (though the pervert in all men should relish the nightmare scene where she runs through the streets in her underwear and the fact that her invisibility powers make her appear nude even though she really isn't), and she's certainly not as interesting as Mosaic himself. Anna Pacquin (the miscast Rogue of the X-Men films) throws out a decent vocal performance for Maggie, and is supported by career voice actors like Kirby Morrow (well cast as the title character), Cam Clarke, Scott McNeil, Gary Chalk, Kathleen Barr and Nicole Oliver (all of them veterans of the 2002 He-man series, interesting enough).