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  • Excellent animation and an interesting story combine in this action sci-fi success. The voice work is sometimes clunky, and the characters are all dull as dishwater. In fact, I can't really tell you about the characters, they are all fairly similar. This results in visually stunning action sequences. But it's hard to feel involved and connect with the characters emotionally. Chases, robot fights, fast and well edited cuts, this is how action scenes should be seen. As a combination of both robot/zombie film, it would have been better for some not so obvious mad scientists. Enjoy the action, and try and make it through the dialogue.
  • Back story: Vexille 2007, Nihon Sakoku (Vexille 2007, Japan National Isolation) is set in the middle of this century, at about the edge of the foreseeable future. There has been rapid development in the areas of human-form robots, able to assist humanity with running it's civilization. Ten years ago, technology reached a point where completely human-made robots reached the peak of their potential. The trend shifted towards the augmentation of the human body, and the merging of man and machine. However, the basis and ethical implications of such technology were condemned by international treaties and organizations, and all development was banned. Japan (the world leader in robotics) was completely opposed to the condemnation, and the potential ban it found imposed on itself. Japan withdrew from the international community and went into national isolation.

    Ten years later, there have been no visitors allowed in or out of Japan. There has been no cultural contact, and no shared media from Japan since the isolation. However, despite the self-imposed isolation, Japan remains the world leader in the field of robotics. The robots manufactured by the conglomerate DAIWA can be seen all over L.A., able to assist mankind with maintaining it's civilization. Before the isolation, the robotics industry was so vital to Japan that DAIWA had grown in to a colossal mega-conglomerate, with strong ties to every part of the government.

    After two incidents of terrorism by DAIWA, outside of Japanese territory, America discovers that Japan may well have cyborg technology. Fearing the worst, America sends its most highly specialized team (Sword) to secretly infiltrate Japan, and gather intelligence.

    The CG: There's no doubt that the CG is an important part of the appeal of this film, and for the most part, I think it comes off very well. Fans of the last major CG film released outside Japan will feel very at home with the visual style's blend of very photo realistic elements, such as mechs, landscapes, and high-paced action scenes, with low-polly toon-shaded actors. Although landscapes, mechs and characters are all very pleasing to the eye, the one complaint I have is that the characters sometimes suffer from very stiff movement, where motion capture seems to not have been used. Sometimes this stiff movement will happen between cuts in the middle of a scene, which tended to remind me that I was watching a CG movie.

    The Music: The film also follows a similar flare to Appleseed, in its choice of dance and electronic artists such as Basement Jaxx, Boom Boom Satellites, Carl Craig, etc, and other more aesthetic tracks by Paul Okenfold. The blend of music does a good job of making the movie come alive, without sounding forced.

    The story: The story was the most important thing for me, and probably the hardest to criticize. I enjoyed the story very much -- the progression is smooth, and easy to follow. The characters are presented well, and developed in enough detail to satisfy the viewer. The story progression starts very quickly, and immediately moves into meat of the story, which is infiltrating Japan. The story is spread out with a lot of action scenes, no doubt, because this is a CG movie. Most of which do a job in telling the story, but truth be told, are mostly for eye-candy value.

    The main criticism I have of the story comes down to the complexity and presentation. I think as a CG film, Vexille didn't have enough time to devote to its story.

    With a story so central to people and events of the past, I feel Vexille falls short in its delivery of everything it set up -- including the back story. Because of time constraints -- probably both in production and running time -- most of the story's revelations and plot points happen quite close together, which means the viewer's attention is often pulled away from one revelation to a new facet of the story, which does tend to dull the experience in the more dramatic scenes, and leaves little time to savour the experience.

    In all honesty, I think a more expanded Vexille story could have easily filled another film, with a little bit still taken out. Of course, this is a natural part of cinema and story-telling, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing.

    Final Verdict: I think Vexille is quite a solid CG film that stands apart from Applesed, with its own qualities, and enough differences to enjoy it for what it is. Although I was slightly disappointed by story in what I, personally, wanted to see, I think that just shows it to be a fairly well-balanced film, that I would recommend to anyone with a taste for action, CG or Japanese entertainment.
  • This year had perhaps seen a bumper crop of anime movies making it to the theatres, with the likes of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Paprika, Brave Story, Doraemon, and now, a science fiction mecha genre anime by the producer of Appleseed, Fumihiko Sori.

    Set in the middle of the 21st century, the world has become like that in Isaac Asimov novels, with robots having the intelligence finally to assist mankind in various tasks, which doesn't discount the fact that they'll be used in warfare too, with creations resembling those seen in Clone Wars. Coming from the largest factory in the world, Japan, for their technological genius, the world soon frowns upon their quest to fuse robots and humans (much like the brouhaha on potential abuse of stem cell technology), and Japan decides to shut itself off from the rest of the world.

    Naturally, US foreign policy dictates that they are curious as to what's going on behind the iron curtain, so they send their crack paramilitary unit called SWORD to infiltrate Japan. They are afraid of the potential threat the robots give to humankind, and more so are suspicious of the largest conglomerate and robot producer Daiwa Heavy Industries, who are dabbling into questionable robotic research. Led by Leon (voiced by Shosuke Tanihara), it goes without saying that titular character Vexille (Meisa Kuroki) will get to save the day (hey, it's her name on the billboard). Interestingly enough though, this movie has its weight put on the strength of its female characters, Vexille, and rebel fighter Maria (Yasuko Matsuyuki)

    There are many familiar elements in Vexille both character and plot wise, but that doesn't detract from the fact that there still are a number of plus points leading to the enjoyment of this movie. The designs of the mecha used by SWORD units, which is like an exoskeleton suit designed for middleweight, individual battles, are crafted to look like they just walked out of any generic Hollywood science fiction movie, as do the enemy's guard droids which look like they were heavily influenced by Robocop's ED209.

    And with the many ships and transporters, can someone say Star Wars too? But the one that takes the cake, is the post-apocalyptic look at Japan, making it seem like the planet of Arakis from Frank Herbert's Dune, complete with their version of the Fremen with their tinkering prowess, and those monstrous, lethal sandworms too, which take on a mechanical facade over here, known as Jags. Even the inevitable finale seemed to have taken a leaf from Herbert's literary masterpiece.

    As with any mecha-related stories, there's always a tussle between what it means to be a human and android (erm, Blade Runner?), and the hopes and dreams to preserve their way of life against a megalomaniac industrialist, who shares six degrees of separation with everyone involved. But we're not really here for rehashed cyberpunk stories involving the first 2 installments of the Animatrix, are we?

    We're here for the action pieces, and boy, they don't disappoint. From the get go we're treated to a full scale assault and brought to see what SWORD can do, and it played out to John Woo-ish distinction with plenty of violence set to slow motion, with numerous guns blazing that would even make the master proud. Credit goes to designing the well crafted action sequences so they are vastly different from one another, and the best has got to be the massive chase/race sequence in the latter half of the movie. And a bonus here is the music, contributed no doubt by the genius of Paul Oakenfold. This one delivered perfectly, adding a huge dash of zing to complement the action, though I thought I heard a few bars off his Ready Steady Go!

    The animation is in no doubt stunning with its photo-realism, and for a 2D movie, I thought it even beat Beowulf in the graphics, and intensity of the storyline. Vexille comes across as a recommended movie to catch before the dawn of the new year. Go see!
  • Reading some of the rave reviews on here I watched this movie with anticipation. The starting sequence was good with its action but unfortunately that is the best part of the movie. What i liked about the movie was its plot and storyline. Its like Bladerunner meeting resident evil (except with androids instead of zombies). It was interesting even though the ending - the action that triggered it - was weak and derivative. But on the whole the concept was good. What I disliked was the execution. The animation isn't very good. Yes it looks beautiful except for the characters. The characters basically look like those in-game cut scenes you find in video games. The characters especially their expressions are not well done at all. The hair are blocky solid strands. The characters' facial expression are stony even when it came to cries of anguish...stony expression with mouth open. It may be a small thing to some but for me it takes away from the movie. Entire time I felt like I was watching a video game.
  • Went into Vexille on the heels of the disappointing Appleseed Ex Machina and was BLOWN AWAY. Everything about this is top notch; the storyline, while involved, is still easy to follow and very engaging. You care about characters when they die, even the ones with limited screen time. For a standard (read: non HD) disc, the image is fantastic, though I watched it on a PS3 so the upconverting may have helped. The surround sound mix is totally immersive and goes a long way to bring you into the story. The action sequences, while somewhat derivative, are brilliant and very well staged and executed. All of this is served spectacularly well by the music, which is a combination of Oakenfold's signature breakbeat techno and selected songs by other artists, and is never off putting or out of place. Also, the anime style, a blend of cell shaded 2D and CGI, is reminiscent of Appleseed, only a bit more fluid and stylized. The Japanese audio track is solid as to be expected, and to my surprise the English dub is actually very well done. Bonus points for that.

    All told, Vexille is a must buy for cyberpunk, sci fi and anime afficionados, and is definitely reference material for your home theatre system.

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First of all, I'm a huge anime fan. I also watched everything about Ghost In The Shell. GITS has a great story and also writers of GITS has great intellectual knowledge. Sometimes you feel you need to learn more about political issues. In terms of science, GITS is still untouchable. From scratch to the end, it was full of cliché and what about the technological talks. I'm an engineer but even anybody could understand it's all fake. Rule number one, if you had no knowledge about the technology in detail either go and learn something or give up writing something about it. Dialogs and drama scenes were terrible. I just liked the soundtrack. That's all! I don't know how the people can write too much good things about this movie. I suggest them to watch the whole GITS and then watch this garbage.
  • ebossert14 June 2008
    Where did this movie come from? I rented it with reserved anticipation because it looked like another generic anime action movie. I had no idea I was about to witness the greatest animated cinematic experience of my entire life.

    Over the past few years I've grown fond of Japanese anime action films. My favorites are "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children", "Appleseed", "Karas: The Prophecy and Revelation", and "Ghost In the Shell." Yeah, I also like a lot of the artsy stuff like "5 Centimeters Per Second", "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time", and the most of the Studio Ghibli portfolio, but nothing wets my palette like a great anime action movie. And my goodness did "Vexille" wet my palette!

    In the year 2077, an elite commando unit infiltrates Japan to expose their technological secrets to the world. Character development is weak, but the storyline is excellent, with plenty of engaging scenarios, unexpected surprises, and formidable antagonists. The visuals are outstanding and the score is unorthodox and refreshing. The action scenes are also stunning. Whether it's a mansion infiltration, a high speed motorcycle pursuit, or an escape from enigmatic machina, the choreography, editing, and placement of the virtual camera are all top notch. One 11-minute scene is unquestionably the most nerve-racking and utterly spectacular action/suspense sequence in the history of animated cinema. Nothing comes close to this in the world of anime action. Nothing.

    Now, anyone who reads my other IMDb comments knows that there are two things that I really hate: Hollywood movies and art-house snobs. Of course, I'm sure that those stuck-up snobs will urinate all over this movie due to the relative lack of character development, but "Vexille" thrives so much on the action and storyline that the characters earn our concern because of how they are absorbed within this exceptionally crafted conflict. This is NOT a brainless action movie. The aforementioned 11-minute extravaganza does not exist for eye candy and superficial beauty alone (like most of the scenes in "FFVII: Advent Children"). It has a significant emotional weight behind it which makes the viewer clench their seat in apprehension for every single second of the entire sequence. I know, I know; the snobs would rather watch a couple kids walk around in a war zone collecting rice for two hours instead of an entertaining action movie. So maybe they should just spare us the "high and mighty" routine and not even bother watching this movie to begin with. (God knows they should've skipped "The Machine Girl.")

    One enigmatic complaint I've heard on the web is with regards to the dialogue. Some have claimed it to be "cheesy", but I honestly cannot recall more than one or two sentences that apply. (Believe me, I know cheese when I see it.) Most of the dialogue is rather intelligent and there is a noticeable lack of melodrama. Seriously, there are virtually NO eye-rolling moments in this movie, which is a huge positive.

    I honestly cannot express in words how awesome "Vexille" is. It's almost like I'm in a state of shock or something, because I just can't get this movie out of my head for a split second. Things might change over the course of weeks and subsequent viewings (of which there will be many, I promise you that), but as of this very moment, this film may have just cracked my Top 20 All Time list (live action included).

    Just watch it and judge for yourself. From the very first shot right up til the end, this movie is just non-stop entertainment. And why on earth are theaters showing some stupid kung fu panda tripe instead of this spectacular action film?
  • Mr. Bug2 August 2007
    Saw this as world premiere at Locarno festival. In 2K DLP projection on 27m wide screen. Looked very good apart from some aliasing at times. The film borrows visually from "Dune" (sandworms) and some others but it's quite interesting with its mix of not photo realistic and more realistic CGI elements. Will look great on Blue Ray HD disc. The story is about a Japan of the future which has shielded itself from all foreign surveillance for 10 years so nobody knows what is going on. There are suspicions of illegal production of androids by a mega corporation with unclear goals, potentially dangerous to the human race on a global scale.
  • lodoss9008 June 2008
    10/10
    See it
    completely original story line, amazing animation. Enough action, incredible acting. I really got involved with the characters in the story. It was interesting to see how it all went down in the end.

    Its so different then any other movie I have seen this year. You can make parallel of any other sci-fi film. But if Vixelle borrows from any film, it turns it around and does its own way.

    The fast past action slows down in the middle to engage you in the characters. Its great, like the main character Vixelle, she wakes up in a town, and is lost. You are lost. In no time, the plot is dropped and personally left speech less. Cannot recommend this enough. Well that and Death Note.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Ping Pong" is one of the greatest and most well-directed sports movie ever made. I am quite disappointed Souri Fumihiro's second attempt turned out to be such a failure. The setting of this film was extremely creative and promising. Japan became a closed nation in 2067 in retaliation against international restriction on robotic technology. "In the past 10 years, no one has seen the true Japan" was an extremely impactful quote to begin the story. Unfortunately, things take a downturn once the heroine reaches Japan.

    Surprisingly, people in Japan was living in a nearly homeless condition, and Tokyo had turned into one large slum. I must say I was a bit disappointed I wouldn't see all the amazing technologies, but it was a nice twist that offered another promising story. What really disappointed me was how there were so many things that didn't make sense. If no one had seen Japan for 10 years and their guard was so perfect, how did Vexille and team so effortlessly infiltrate Japan? The very existence of those "Jags" were way too random and its structure makes absolutely no sense. What was its power source? Why the worm structure? It just felt like they needed a device to show off the computer graphics. Another thing is, how can a company become so powerful that it completely control Japanese government? No amount of corruption can allow virus injection to the entire population. And why, oh, why nobody in the street was surprised to see a white girl walking around, when no foreigner had visited Japan for 10 years? I understand this movie is a science FICTION, but all stories must be plausible given the setting. Even SF films must give its viewers acceptable explanations.

    Other than its story, this movie had many other disappointments. Some scenes were excessively cheesy, even for an anime, and other than intro, music choice was very poor. The most disturbing thing was the inconsistency in computer graphics. Background scenes, various machines, and special effects were fascinating, yet all the characters and some other objects were in extremely low quality that reminded me of PlayStation blockiness. Characters also seemed to be very stiff and movements seemed very unnatural. I know Japanese films have much lower budget than American films, but a 2007 3D animated film with less convincing CG than 1995 Toy Story is simply unacceptable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There's two good things in here: the animation and the (very) basic premise. Once the veil of mystery is lifted about half an hour in, and explanations start being offered, the whole film degenerates pretty quickly. We have an evil genius type of bad guy with thin motivation for...taking over the world, of course, because he needs test subjects for an experiment. Does that sound believable to you? Granted, it's all fiction, but it has to be at least a little authentic. Anyway, the good guys aren't much better. In fact, they're extremely generic: we have the main girl, who's extremely emotional in spite of being part of the film's version of SWAT (who also carry out CIA-type missions). Then we have a hard ass girl, who's the main girl's ex. Both girls are pretty much eye candy and nothing more. Then we have the dude they're both after, who does nothing except getting captured, thus being in need of rescuing by the two girls. Then we have...the plot. Which is full of holes so big Leonidas could throw in the whole Persian army inside it in the blink of an eye. You'll see what I mean if you decide to watch this. If you don't...well, basically there's a company taking over Japan, on its own, and turning it into a wasteland. How does a single company take over a whole country? How does it fall so easily after two girls infiltrate it when it's supposed to be so powerful? Beats me. So much more could have been done with this with some more thought. That's really all it required. The writers sitting down and figuring out some tighter storyline rather than getting the easy way out and shrugging off all coherence.
  • Okay, so if you've read all of the other reviews then you know that the animation of this film is AWESOME! It's an excellent step forward for hybrid animation. Also, though not all of the reviewers agree, my opinion of the action in this film was that it was sweet and sick (in the most radical fashion.) For the animation and action alone, this film is totally worth the price of a rental. Which brings us to the plot of the film; while some reviewers thought the plot was empty or lacked merit, I am of the opinion that those reviewers probably didn't pay attention to all of the dialog. The plot was well developed, more believable than several of the big-budget live-action Hollywood films (such as The Happening, which totally sucked,) and played along the social issue of fear of technological invasiveness quite nicely, though it was a rather formulaic script. The dialog was a little weak, and there wasn't much for serious character development, but the nonverbal scripting played quite well. After all, this was an animated action flick, and quite frankly it was one of the better offerings from the anime genre in recent years. To recap, this is worth the cost of the rental if only for the visual imagery. However, if you have a well developed sensibility for the suspension of disbelief, then you will also likely enjoy the story as a whole. I know that I certainly did.
  • This is so far the biggest problem with Japanese animé: weak character development, mediocre and plain dialog that seems to be aimed towards children under 10 years of age, redundant stories, characters that look too much alike - we get it that it's a style, but some of the character look like cheap duplicates of one another like Maria & Vexille.

    The animation itself wasn't that bad, although it seems like there hasn't been much improvement for the past 7 years... the people are still stiff and have a dead look from time to time, the kissing scene between two main characters was very stiff and unnatural like two dolls kissing.

    The effects were nice and definitely passable, but the weak plot of the movie is tiring.

    now last, but not least, is the music... it didn't fit with the scenes, totally random and seemed to be there just because someone liked the sound and not how it fit with the story...
  • I really liked the story in this film. Easily one of the best anime stories I've seen. I'd say it's like "Ghost in the Shell" meets "Resident Evil". This film is an Action, Sci-Fi with a bit of a drama, horror undertone. The visuals are amazing. It has strong CG look but the textures almost looked hand colored. It has a real unique look to it. I can't explain. The score seemed a bit thrown together. The songs didn't seem to fit into what was happening on screen. Paul Oakenfold did a pretty poor job with the score if you ask me. The sound effects were well done and the voice acting was good. This film is worth seeing for it's great story and rich animation.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Masamune Shirow (pen name for revolutionary cyperpunk visionary/artist Ota Masanori) has wowed audiences around the world with his ultra-detailed, future design works and realistic military-inspired mecha in manga works like "Black Magic M-66", "Dominion", "Appleseed" and most notably "Ghost In The Shell". Many of Shirow's influential works have been adapted to both film and TV. If "Vexille" bears more than a passing resemblance to Shirow's cyperpunk world, then that is quite possibly intentional as both writer/director Sori Fumihiko and co-writer Handa Haruka worked on the film adaptation of Shirow's long running and much heralded manga "Appleseed" in 2004.

    At first glance "Vexille", an animated feature incorporating both traditional 2-D as well as cutting-edge 3-D animation, seems like an adaptation of one of Shirow's stories but is in fact an original work by Sori and Handa that seems as if to be a homage to Shirow's work as it has many of his trademark themes - the strong gutsy heroine, the omni present corporate entity/zaibatsu, the fascination for futuristic military hardware and robotics, the clash between the human and machine cultures.

    Originally released in Japan during the late summer of 2007, it was surprisingly overlooked by audiences in Japan. Perhaps it was cyberpunk anime overkill as the genre seemed to played to death in the last couple of years or maybe it had something to do with Sori and Handa's self-critical screenplay which focused on an alternate reality Japan, whose cybernetic/technological ambitions and industrial dominance causes the country to become a rogue government in the eyes of the world.

    The story of "Vexille" seems to recall Japan's WWII Imperial aspirations, as Japan leads a technological revolution spearheaded by one of it's leading industrial conglomerates, Daiwa, and begins development of technologies relating to radical cloning, bio-engineering and human/machine integration. This outrages the international community which sees these new technological applications as perverse. The United Nations orders Japan to stop all further development in these areas but Japan retaliates by sanctioning a policy of complete isolationism from the rest of the world and goes as far as erecting an electro-magnetic barrier around its borders which prevents any communications in and out of the country (reminiscent to the Tokugawa "Sakoku"- closed country period between 1633-1639 from which part of the title references). Ten years pass and American covert operational forces intercept communication that Japan's experimentations in cloning and cybernetics has reached a new level of sophistication that can transform humans into cyborgs. A task force code-named "SWORD" is dispatched to infiltrate Japan's zone barriers to investigate this threat.

    "Vexille" borrows liberally from countless sci-fi films from the past several decades most notably "Blade Runner", "Escape From New York", "Matrix" and "Dune" as well as other Japanese anime films including "Ghost In The Shell" and of course "Appleseed".

    Title character Vexille is voiced by the fetching Okinawan "half" (Eurasian) actress Kuroki Meisa, who made a notable movie debut in "Kamyu Nante Shiranai/Who Is Camus". She does very good work here as the spunky heroine with the weird (French?) name. She is the typical sci-fi heroine - strong, smart, beautiful and more than a match for any man. Surprisingly, even though the character of Vexille is supposed to be American, she looks eerily like Japanese "Azumi" actress Ueto Aya. Similarly, Daiwa villain and henchman Saito (voiced with menacing glee by seiyuu actor Otsuka Akio) looks a lot like actor Watanabe Ken.

    I was somewhat bemused by the stark character design contrasts in the film. Outside of the lead characters of Vexille and Maria, almost all the supporting and background people seem photo-realistic in appearance, foregoing many of the Japanese anime conventions we normally see (over-expressive wide eyes, strangely colored hair, perfect complexion). I'm not sure why Sori and his design team went this route as it is strangely odd. I would have loved to have seen Vexille, Maria and Leon rendered in a more realistic fashion instead of in stylized anime perfection. I also found it quite perplexing that most of the "American" character looked Asian or mixed. I saw very few if any typically White Anglo-Saxon looking characters or non-Asians (African American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, European). Perhaps this was intentional on the part of Sori (a statement against media preference for the blond, blue-eyed ideal) or maybe I'm reading too much into the film's racial commentaries of the future.

    Outside of Yasuko Matsuyuki (Hula Girls, Another Heaven), who voices the sexy rebel leader Maria and seiyuu actor Toshiyuki Morikawa (Last Exile, Bleach, Inuyasha, Devil May Cry) who plays Daiwa Industries CEO, Kisaragi, the rest of the cast does serviceable but not particularly distinguishable voice work as supporting characters.

    The CGI/anime work by Oxybot's Takata Toshinori and Yosumi Hidetaka are absolutely stunning and breathtaking incorporating a unique blend of traditional 2-D anime style and photo realistic 3-D effects. The world of "Vexille" is absolutely mesmerizing and recalls similar CGI work done in "Appleseed" and some more recent Japanese TV anime like "Zoids" and "Ghost In The Shell - Stand Alone Complex". In some ways it trumps the motion-capture work of the recent "Beowulf". While sometimes coming off as the type of cinema CGI one would possibly see in such video games like "Halo", Oxybot's work here is truly eye-catching and spectacular but not groundbreaking in scope as Pixar's CGI work in its films like "Cars", "Ratatouille" or "The Incredibles".

    With all its flash and fancy, "Vexille" is undone by its cold and emotionless story which goes through the standard motions of a sci-fi film but does not bring with it any human drama. People die but because they are cyborg/clones, there is no emotional impact. A similar criticism could be said of other CGI heavy films such as Awazu Jun's "Negadon" and the most recent "Cloverfield" both of which also had superior CGI effects but surprisingly very little human elements.
  • A visually spectacular edition to the CGI anime genre - buried inside a thoughtful and intensely relevant perspective of humanities future, putting an interesting spin on the common 'Neo-Tokyo' theme. The makers of Vexille have created a sci-fi backdrop to rival the likes of Akira and Ghost in the Shell. Sadly however the characterization and narrative structure both more than fall short, not to mention some minor plagiarism, in turn cause a visually inspirational piece of CGI cinema to fall into the rubbish bin of cinematic mediocrity.

    For fans of the genre, it's a great piece. A bit slow perhaps in the middle and I felt it was the films construction that let it down. For example, the first CGI Appleseed kept the structure simple and simple works. The first half of the picture introduced a sci-fi world, Olympus and its characters. The second half focused on a narrative plot. Whereas Vexille tries to be too clever, they push for a psychological standard to compare with 'Ghost in the Shell' but sadly there just isn't the depth and creativity of Masamune.

    Not a picture to dismiss and if your new to the genre your in for a treat but hardcore fans will not leave feeling overly impressed.
  • Buddy-5123 August 2008
    It's 2067 and Japan has become a nation completely cut off from the rest of the world because it refuses to adhere to a U.N. mandate banning the development and manufacturing of human-like androids. The nation has also set up a sophisticated magnetic force field that effectively bars all outsiders from entering its borders. S.W.O.R.D. is a secret U.S. special forces team sent in to find out what diabolical activities are occurring on the inside. The main character, Vexille, is a feisty female member of this special ops force.

    "Vexille" is a stylish and energetic dystopian fantasy, marked by imaginative storytelling, exciting action sequences, and animation that is a canny mixture of art deco, Soviet-era agitprop - with its heavy emphasis on facial shadowing - and technology-based futurism. Nicely done.
  • The plot: After Japan withdraws from the United Nations and expels all foreigners, the West becomes increasingly suspicious that Japan is conducting illegal research on robotics and transhumanism.

    Vexille is a generic cyberpunk story about of the evils of transhumanism, megacorporations, isolationism, and imperialism. The art is beautiful, but it seems wasted on such a derivative and clichéd plot. The story had some real potential, but they decided to dumb everything down, remove all subtlety, and turn the antagonist into a James Bond villain. This is the kind of movie that has themes that a 15 year old would find incredibly deep and philosophical, mixing in generic cyberpunk themes with Romanticism and technophobia. Very little of the movie was actually engaging. Both the characters and the action sequences were flat and mostly interchangeable.

    Maybe this movie had a point, when it railed against the lack of soul in technological advancement: the CGI art was beautiful but entirely soulless.
  • fliphop20 November 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    A movie that is protesting the mechanization of human beings... and the destruction of the soul.... is entirely CGI, and is full of mindless and pointless violence and special effects.

    The best character is Maria. This character fascinated me... the only character i can remember to speak less, is Clint Eastwood's man with no name from the old Sergio Leone western movies. It is a credit to the animators and artists and voice actor (... did they use motion capture? if so, then the actor as well) to portray this character as she is portrayed.

    Actually Saito isn't too bad, there are one or two scenes that hint at his complexity... but it is hard to find them when buildings are exploding airplanes are slamming through windows, explosions pound inside your head, etc.

    The kid character is not too bad... not great though. Wanted to know more about him. Sadly, I feel I know more about 'wall-e' the robot in the Disney movie than about this kid who is so eager to go off to battle.

    Some other strange things,,, a kid going to battle (whats his relationship with Maria? child?).. the never-explained desecration of the entire island of Japan the lack of curiosity that Vexille displays about this (ie, how about 'where is mt fuji?') Oh yeah. Actually the entire damn plot is strange and makes no sense. I half expected for the movie to stop in some parts and et me play a level of 'starcraft'. That is the level of exposition we are talking about here... just people droning on about missions and '50 years ago the xyz corporation blah blah blah'. The thing with the iron wire makes absolutely no sense, the giant wall is the same... the inability of the 'jags' to jump, when they jump all over the land. Why does the city have gates in the first place? How about a tiny little hole you drive out of? If the security is so tight, why are the top of the walls safe to hang around on? Why attack America? China is much closer and has more 'human guinea pigs' to experiment on. What happened to the presumably 200 million+ people of the island? Did they all die? Where when and why? Did none of these 'survivors' have relatives from the past to talk about? Pile on more and more of this stuff, and you lose your ability to suspend disbelief. . . you just start going 'wtf..' and wondering if this is the level where you get some awesome upgraded ship , again, wondering if you are watching a movie or a cutscene in starcraft.

    Miyazaki made a good film, called Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It wasn't good because of the artwork, voices, etc, although all those are great... it was good because of the story... the world created.. it actually kind of made sense... a little bit. . .

    Vexille's world has many parts that make almost no sense... but unfortunately the nonsensical parts of it seem to be rather central to the mechanics of the plot.

    But , what can I say. It is a much better film than Indiana Jones 4. . . and even I like it better than some of the Star Wars prequels.

    If nothing else, it is unique, and if you just see 5 minutes of it for the visual effects of the jag, just do it. Or, if you actually want a story, fast forward to the scenes where Maria 'reacts' to events happening around her.. and see her 'discussion' with Vexille... I found these scenes to be fascinating. If you only care about action, you will not be disappointed.

    But if you have to have things polished up, with nice neat plots to tie things together logically... you need to take a leap of faith before you are going to get any enjoyment out of this film.

    Bye and thanks for reading.
  • This was a very good looking film. The characters were well done and the machines and robots looked excellent as well. Just as its known that for every time you have a good experience you tell one person, when you have a bad experience you tell ten, so goes this plot-less film. I thought that this looked very similar to the animation of the "Appleseed" movies as the screenplay was written by the same guy. Too bad that the first "Appleseed" (although not too great in itself) did circles around this utterly meandering story. I am not sure who thought that this had a complete story to begin with. It very much seemed like they just decided to do a bunch of cool CG then decided to fit in some sort of storyline as an afterthought. As I wrote in my heading, you will probably get just as much out of this with the mute button on as you would with it off. I would suggest skipping this unless you are a hardcore Japanese Anime fan. If you want to see something good, try watching "Appleseed" or the classic "Ghost in the Shell, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, or Akira."
  • imdb-ary16 February 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Horrible movie, the plot is so stupid beyond imagining. So I'm not gonna even try to here.

    Well the plot is like this evil corporation has already took control of the entire country of Japan. But instead of using the country to develop some mega super weapon like what everyone thought it was doing and be generally bad ass, it instead decides to:

    a) Wipe out its own country's total population b) Wipe out all its own infrastructure c) Restrict itself to to a tiny tiny island where its easily destroyed d) Fire or kill all its employees until there's only a few dozen security guards and one android of dubious loyalty.

    And you wonder why they failed. Christ even James Bond villains have more brains than this!
  • When I first came across this movie online I checked out the plot synopsis on here and decided to give it a look. I was expecting lots of fighting in the future style sci-fi, but instead found this to be an incredible and profound film which has yet to leave my mind.

    First off, the special effects are amazing. There were many scenes throughout this film that blew me away. The camera angles, choreography, and the atypical soundtrack were all done and chosen impeccably. There is a particular action sequence in this film which had me riveted to my seat and completely engrossed to my screen.

    A lot of people have said that the dialogue is pretty dry (they're right), but I found that the depth of this story is almost completely revealed through the images on the screen than through the narration. As a result, the limited dialogue allows you to insert many of your own emotions into the film making it a very unique and personal experience.

    Overall, the film is an enthralling story of survival and salvation in a very bleak and downright frightening future. I guarantee this movie will be on your mind after your done with it and many of you will probably end up revisiting it.

    A must see. 8/10.
  • On the giant screen of the Locarno Film Festival open air cinema Vexille was an amazing experience. Visually is stunning but doesn't escape the "yaawn effect". The story is not so original but features interesting references to titles as Escape from N.Y.; Dune; Terminator; The Ghost in the Shell and many others. The score also is powerful and reminiscent of the sci-fi movies of the '80. Vexille is sometimes boring throughout, but the action scenes (in particularly the chase scenes) are really impressive and original. This is a movie you need to see in a digitally equipped movie theater to experience it's full impact.

    Don't miss the DVD when it will be released!
  • To summarize my thoughts in one phrase I'd say that this is unfortunately one of those production that just fall short of achieving greatness.

    It has most of the essential elements right ; The main storyline is original and interesting enough, artistically speaking its on par with what is to be expected of any big animation studio at the time and furthermore it has just enough action throughout not to be dull.

    For me, its biggest flaw has to do with characters development ; Motivations of each protagonist while made obvious are SO one-dimensional it give no chance to the viewer to get drawn-in to the storyline.

    Since the whole theme of the movie is about 'humanity' and what it represent to be human, one would say this make the ending sequence appear especially hollow.

    It would have been interesting to emphasize on the love,hate hopes & fears of the doomed Japanese denizen (as well as of those of Mariah's crew members) instead of merely presenting them as background elements ready for the proverbial 'Grinder'.

    This is especially aggravating with the main 'villain' whose dialogs & motivations are so 'cliche' they made me cringe.

    Had they for instance removed the whole first part set in 'Japamerica' and merely had Serra's team wiped out upon attempting infiltration (oh please kill Leon already!) and instead had her stranded far from home grieving for her friends and surrounded by 'enemies' who later became people who then became friends, then you might have had a good emotional setting for what came next.

    In short, an above average production, pretty to look at all the while being mostly forgettable ; No reasons to get out of your way to get it, yet with enough good content that you should at least see it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'd like to start out by saying that the artwork and animation in this film are gorgeous. Truly beautiful art, stunningly realistic animations. My only complaints about the art are pretty typical anime complaints: everyone's hair looks like leaves from some kind of weird plant growth on their head, and there is no detail in anyone's face, so everyone pretty much looks alike, except for having different colored leaves on their heads. This is truest of the 2 female lead characters, who are virtually indistinguishable looking.

    Where the movie fails is in the story, the characters, character reactions, the science, the sociology, and nearly everything else that doesn't have to do with the visual aspect of the film.

    The movie contradicts it's own internal logic over and over again. It ignores basic physics, biology and sociology. Here's some examples:

    1. People in huge metal exo-suits are able to "sneak" around. They can smash thru house walls, but when they infiltrate a house, they move like a commando team, as if no one can hear the incredible racket that half a dozen 8 foot tall "robots" would make. Somehow the exo-suited people are able to climb stairs that could in no way hold their weight.

    2. People in exos are surprised by a group of RPG launching soldiers. Why wouldn't these exos have radar, or other "bio signature" reading capabilities?

    3. The mission they are on requires a device to be active for 3 minutes. Why is the exfil for their mission 72 hours after insertion? Makes no sense.

    4. When the last ditch effort to crush Daiwa happens, it is foiled because the tunnels are a greater distance from the facility than thought. One of the bad guys opines "jags aren't much for jumping" as an explanation for why the facility is safe. WTF? We just spent like 20 minutes watching these things swim thru dirt and leap hundreds of feet into the air, covering hundreds of lateral feet per jump.

    5. People react all wrong to emotional triggers. Vexille cries out in aguish at Maria's death. WTF? She just met Maria, and Maria isn't even human. Vexille is upset that Maria shot Takeshi after he "turned". Why? She just met Takeshi, and she knows he isn't human anymore. Vexille is also perturbed by many small horrors, all of which are not realistic depictions, IMO, of this character. She's a freaking special ops commando, one of the most elite of elite, yet she's bothered by little things even more than a 1950s sitcom mom would have been.

    6. There's just too much more in the film that isn't believable, isn't at all true to real life, and which violates the conventions set up in the film. If a film's own internal logic isn't consistent, it's difficult if not impossible to understand and empathize with what's happening, and that's what happens in this film. (It's understandable, if complete nonsense, but there's no way to empathize or feel anything for anyone in this film.)

    7. Which leads to this point: there is no real attempt to give us any characters with any depth whatsoever. Everyone in the film is so flat that they are aren't just two dimensional, they are nearly one-dimensional.

    The few early attempts to humanize even the humans in film are too short (Vexille talking to a fellow commando asks him if he heard from his wife/girlfriend and he says "not since she left" and that's it.

    One quick shot of Vexille and Leon together at home, to establish their relationship; a reluctant embrace after a confrontation about Leon's past, and that's it. Other than that, everyone in the movie is a prop, including Vexille.

    8. It's fine to play loose with science in science fiction, but visually its hard to watch enormous heavy things flying on rockets that can turn on a dime, as if they had no inertia of their own. Weight, mass, inertia are all absent from the world this film inhabits.

    9. I just wanted to point out, since others have made comments about Paul Oakenfold's involvement, that Paul Oakenfold is a DJ. He did not write the music for this film, he simply selected songs for it. Mr. Oakenfold is very good at what he does, and for the most part the music fit the scenes it was paired with, but to credit him with "the music" is wrong. He just picked the songs, he didn't write and record them.

    ***

    Much of the film was maddening to watch, since it was so ridiculous, yet I've watched this 3 times now and will likely watch it more. Why? It's amazing to look at. The visual style, the colors, the lighting, the camera-work (yes, the camera-work!) are all stunning, and they are so overwhelmingly awesome that they make the movie watchable.

    If we could just get a story from a manga writer that wasn't a) completely incomprehensible, b)hackneyed beyond belief, and c) filled with crappy pseudo-philosophical undertones (I'm looking at you, Ghost In The Shell... and Akira... and Appleseed... and nearly every other anime that isn't Dragonball Z) there is no doubt in my mind that mainstream audiences would be excited about the format and turn out in droves to see it.

    Overall, if you like anime already, I'd be surprised if you didn't like this film. If you're new to anime, you'll probably like this film. If you think that The Matrix Revolutions and Reloaded were the best thing to happen to movies EVAH, you'll prolly like this.

    If you thought that Phantom Menace was crap, if you didn't bother with anything Star Trek since they added psychics, if you hold out on seeing a movie because Ben Affleck is in it without Kevin Smith directing... you may want to just rent this one, or even better, get a friend to rent it.
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