venerdì 24 giugno 2016

MOVIE REVIEW: Song of the Sea

Not every movie is Disney or Dreamworks when we talk about animation movies on the big screen. Some times, something gets out of the dust trying to gain a little place in the Animation Olympus. Today we'll take a look at "Song of the Sea", a 2014 folkloristic movie directed by Tomm Moore, but we also have a special guest throwing two pennies in, Giulzilla, who loves Moore's productions, and also suggested the movie to me and others.

Let's start by saying that the movie came in Italy just now, and it was released into foreign theaters 2 years ago (2014). The bad thing is that here in Italy it got no spots whatsoever and just 4 people went watching it at the first shooting in Lecce yesterday. Me and Giulzilla were 2 of those people.

This movie is like a fable inside a fable, it starts in fact with a mother telling to her son myths and legends about ancient irish creatures, namely the selkie (a magical woman who has a marvelous singing and capable of transforming into a seal, just like a weird nordic mermaid). Ben's mother is pregnant, and all of a sudden she runs away from her family while Ben's getting fast asleep to "save her baby", Saoirse. Six years pass, Saoirse cannot talk, and Ben hates his sister, because he thinks that she stole his mother. The two children then discover that the stories told by their mother were not surreal, but instead they were part of a world not visible to the human eye, in which the only one able to save them is the selkie. In a race against time, Ben and Saoirse have to recover the dying spirits through the melody of a shell that the boy received as a gift from his mother, and and the singing of the selkie herself. Being a fable, the plot has to be read as it appears: not everything has a complete explanation, and there are many absurd things happening, being archetypes of cartoons in general (for example the capability of Ben of putting out of his pocket a lot of huge things). A huge problem is the complete absence of a real climax, giving that the movie always has the same pacing throughout the whole experience and there are no plot twists and keeps it simple for the sake of being simple in its core. There is also the little issue of characters being too simple (Ben and his father are too idiotic for my tastes) and surreal for all the wrong reasons. Kudos have to be given to its moral, being strong and understandable for an adult from the beginning of the movie.

Graphics and Sound
Technically speaking, Song of the Sea hits everyone thanks to its naturally peculiar graphic style, not unique, but with a lot of details, perfect and necessary to empathize witht the characters for both adults and children. Everything seems handmade, everything seems real even if it is surreal, and it has its own lively, strong and vivid colors. The artistic veil of this movie is strong, and I can't deny of confusing it for a Tim Burton produced movie. Every environment is unique and it captures everyone with its own beauty, both natural and artificial. Accompanying the peculiar graphics there's sound, keeping originals songs and subtitling them, with the special outline of the folkloristic soundtrack, that helps the environments and keeps them alive and vivid.
Giulzilla: Given the moral, what an adult will appreciate is the incredible beauty of the traditional animation, simple and apparently childish, but rich of details, colors, lights and animations as fluid as water. Every scene looks like a painting, every element looks made of paper, sometimes being almost tangible for everybody's eyes, and feelings are given from backgrounds that seem like a patchwork. Honorable mentions for the soundtrack composed by the french Bruno Coulais, in collaboration with the irish group Kìla, in some moments surpassing the beauty of the scene, or giving it more value, showing at the spectator an excellent quality. Music and animations are one of the same, giving the feeling of being built at the same time. The songs which the movie is based on fulfill their duties with suggestive music pieces, composed by sounds that remind those that we hear submerged in water, and the mixed english-ancient irish give an even better feeling of myth and magic that is the same for the whole movie. In regards of this, a big thank you goes to the dubbing editor that had the brilliant idea of keeping the original songs, but subtitling it in italian, aside the fact of giving the italian adaptation a nice dubbing and a fair translation.

Final comment
Giving that I've never seen a Tomm Moore movie before this, I can say that I appreciated it for what it was, but I cannot say that it has no defects: a lot of things, like the plot itself, looks like it has no sense, once you gain everything vital in it. For this reason, the more fussy ones won't like the movie as much, but the ones that will love it will be children or adults watching it just to enjoy it as a not conventional fable and less pretentious than a lot of others. Song of the Sea is a wonderful movie, with its highs and lows, finding its own strength in music and graphics, having less strength on the plot. It can be appreciated if you watch it without looking for the negative sides. 
Giulzilla: This animation movie is true poetry for me, and it has to be taken as it is. You don't have to look for the sense of things, an intrigant and elaborateplot, but it has to be watched for its incredible beauty and the emotions it shows, for how it keeps the human existence marvelous, in life as in death, in happyness and pain. Just like when you read a poem, this movie has to be watched by being just accepting everything as it happens, being drifted by its magic atmosphere and what the plot has to offer. Despite that, I feel like "Sonf of the Sea" is slightly inferior Moore's previous work, "The Secret of Kells" (2009, nominated for the Oscar as well), that rapresents similar characteristics, but less childish, sometimes even brutal, and more intriguing and mystic.

venerdì 10 giugno 2016

MOVIE REVIEW: Warcraft - The Beginning

It's not news that Blizzard's one of the most long running and innovative companies in the videogames genre. After a good series of both Warcrafts and World of Warcraft, followed by free to plays such as Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, and the newest addition Overwatch, today we see the birth of a retelling of the original Warcraft story in cinemas.

"Warcraft" is the first stone of the long bridge that will unite the gap between those who don't know videogames and those who remember "Warcraft: Orcs and Humans" with a nostalgic eye. The story begins just like "Assassin's Creed Brotherhood did back in its day, just from middle/end story, in which we see an orc fighting a human for no apparent reason. Through the first part of the movie we will come to know that orcs had once a huge world that got destroyed once Gul'Dahn became warchief, thanks also to a mysterious and evil magic force called Vil. This race went looking for a new home, eventually finding Azeroth, the world of humans, elves and dwarves. After the orcs came in the world, the commander Anduin got in charge of calling the ancient guardian Mediv to find a way to push away the Horde (Get it?) and bring it back to its original place. 
The story always stays on the epic side, without ever being too much or too less, and resulting at some points less interesting than it should be. Don't get me wrong, the movie is awesome indeed, but it has the "flaw" of being too much epic and making people lose interest by being too packed in the whole experience. A better pacing could've helped. Anyways, characters are strong, and the cast is not huge, but newer people will have more trouble understanding all roles and people's names.

Graphics and Sound

Let's not beat around the bush: Blizzard graphically speaking did a wonderful job, using environments that a lot of people learned to love and that most people today, with nostalgic eyes, watch on the big screen. Characters are nice and cannot be confused one with another: everybody has a particular connotation and everybody answers to a name that can be remembered from lots for different reasons. Adding to the cauldron is also a decent soundtrack, that more or less uses the same track with different instruments for the whole experience. Last, but not least, is the italian dub, really clean and smooth, believable and really nice to hear.

Final comment
Since I have not played the original Warcraft, I can just say that I appreciated this movie for the only reason that it introduced me to a convincing and appealing story, with an epicness that only movies like "300" and "the Gladiator" can achieve. This is a great movie that has to be watched for what it is, an epic retelling of a successful old videogame trilogy, which I surely wait the sequel of. 

martedì 7 giugno 2016

MOVIE REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks

Disney is known to be one of the most important and greatest world societies, a real multinational industry based on children dreaming with genuine, unforgettable and perfect works. Even if today there are not so many movies or productions worthy of being "classics", there are still the old ones, which can put up a fight to this day, surprising elders and younger audiences, through a simple and literally clean care for detail and feelings of watchers. We'll take in exam "Saving Mr. Banks", the movie about the movie Mary Poppins, which is about what happens before, during and after the movie productions, as well as what changed in Traver's mind through the experience.

The Story
This movie is based on the real story and feelings that Travers felt before the movie productions. 20 years have passed since Walt Disney called the writer to convince her giving him the rights of the character, and we start watching the situation unfold from the moment Travers goes on a flight from London to Hollywood. Even though we know the ending of the movie, what surprised me the most was how Disney went all out for character's details, and how well they are built in the whole story. The cast is pretty small, but while we watch the story we want to see (the movie one, that is), we are at the same time watching a story of a weird child in a visibly older aged family, which we'll discover about in the movie. There are a lot of similarities between what happens in the movie and what actually is done by Travers and characters. We learn how characters behaved at that time, as well as the sources for a lot of iconic scenes from the original Mary Poppins movie. Walt Disney, reenacted by Tom Hanks, is literally perfect. He's natural, never out of place, resulting excellent in how the story proceeded. At last, the few discrepancies in the readaptation of the movie are supported by a convincing character development, more than how the story goes.

Graphics and Sound
The movie is literally an authentic jewel: 60s Hollywood and London are mixed as good as milk can be in tea, and a lot of Disney costumes and plushies from the 60s have been used, resulting huge figures in a complete Disney movie. Music is pretty nice and never out of place, it accompanies every moment pretty well in however condition it can be. Who saw Mary Poppins can truely understand how nostalgia can play a huge trick while watching this movie, which can be (both on its own and saw after Mary Poppins) full of character and strong like few.

Final comment
"Saving Mr. Banks" is one of the most well done storic movies I've ever seen. It has a perfect mix between plot and character development, going on for the whole story, helping the watcher empathizing with Travers, in a nostalgic, melancholic, sweet and special story. Prepare your tissues, this movie is great.

And here we are!

Hello there fellas, welcome to Akki News, a blog I created back in 2010/2011 (don't quite remember) completely in italian, where I simply put all of the stuff I liked or wanted to talk about. This is nothing less than a carbon copy of that site, where I will, from now on, post most of the stuff I write translated in english. We're talking about reviews here: they're not technical, but simply put, they are a quick read that somebody can check out before jumping into a game, an anime, a book or a movie. Most of them will be spoiler - free, since I think that it's vital for everyone to enjoy something completely, without knowing too much about it. That being said, I hope that this blog will be useful to those who want to know what I post and can actually read it in an understandable language, look forward to my next reviews!