Tag Archives: alien

Dead Space: Downfall My Reviews 04 NOV 2010

Finally, the discovery of the mysterious alien artefact, the second “Marker” Earth has been hoping it would one day find. Located deep within a dead planet by a local mining team, plans are soon launched in order to retrieve this strange, tooled rock, and the Ishimura, a planet cracker is launched to handle the pick up.

However, something is not right. Chief Security Officer Alyssa Vincent is concerned with the unusual spike in violent crimes that has all of a sudden befallen the usually quiet mining colony, characterised by particularly bloody and brutal murders carried out by otherwise normal, everyday people.

But there isn’t time to fully investigate, as the operation to pull the massive landmass out of the planet is already underway, and soon the Marker finds itself onboard the ship, ready to undergo a series of tests and experiments as it slowly begins to make its way back towards the Earth.

However, where matters were of a minor concern before, they are about to get a whole lot more serious and attention grabbing now. Something is in amongst the colony, killing every living thing in site. And now it would seem that it may have made it onboard the Ishimura after all.

Whatever it is, Alyssa Vincent is about to enter the most horrific and bloody fight of her life… a fight for which the fragile humans are very little prepared!

Alyssa Vincent and her team blast away at the undead!

EA’s hit survival horror third person shooter, Dead Space is certainly going all out to establish itself as a proper franchise, and what better than releasing a full length animated film to act as a prequel to the game story itself?

Dead Space: Downfall hit the DVD racks in October 2008, directed by Chuck Patton and written by comic scribe/inker Jimmy Palmiotti and his comic book partner in crime, Justin Gray, with animation chores handled by Film Roman.

A gory, violent space horror, Dead Space: Downfall goes straight for the jugular, dishing up plenty of action and suspense, combined with loads of violence and a mysterious alien presence.

There is very little character development throughout this film, most of which can be attributed to the fact that most characters simply don’t stick around for long, and more importantly, the relentless pace of the film simply doesn’t allow for it.

The start of the film sets us up well for what is to come and after we are introduced to the main character Alyssa Vincent, we get stuck straight into matters as we are first tasked with solving a murder puzzle which slowly ratchets the tension right up, before being dropped right into an all out battle for survival against a very real, very alien horror!

The film juggles its suspense, drama, violence and action very well, and as such draws a viewer in from start to finish, managed to maintain its sense of enigma throughout the story as the horrific events unfold before you.

In terms of the visual front, Film Roman’s animation is pretty slick and apart from the slightly silly gun fire,  everything looks and works pretty well. In particular, the grotesque, animated dead are well depicted and Film Roman moves easily between the various forms of these distorted monsters.

The color palette naturally contains a lot of red with all the blood splatter permeating through everything and the visuals make very effective use of light and dark, to keep the suspense and horror at its maximum.

Of course, gore and brutality is at the heart of this horror survival and this film is certainly not for the squeamish – even at its animated level, some of the visuals will require you to have a particularly strong stomach to take it all in!

Aurally, the film hits all the right notes, with a great soundtrack which serves well to set up the mood for the various sequences, from the tentative investigations to the all out running for survival. Bruce Boxleitner and Kelly Hu are the only real recognised live-action actors in the voice cast and they do their respective roles quite well. However, the aggressive Nika Futterman really steals the show as the voice of Alyssa Vincent.

Wouldn't really want to meet him in a dark alley, that's for sure!

In summary then, Dead Space: Downfall succeeds 100% in what it set out to do. It is a competent, terrifying survival horror story out in space, one with no chance of a happy ending and lots, and lots of blood and body parts lying all over the place. Fans of the game will no doubt enjoy this piece of animated cinematography, while there is certainly something in there for fans of horror in general.

As for me, well I don’t really do horror normally, but putting that aside, Dead Space: Downfall is really well made and a very good ambassador for its genre, making it well worth checking out if you are into that kind of thing!

Gory death, guts and blood. You won't believe how much that stuff splatters!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Space_Downfall

Planet Hulk Comic Books | My Reviews 21 AUG 2010

So Planet Hulk is the latest straight to DVD animated film to be thrown out at us by the awesome Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Home Entertainment partnership, and after catching it I have to say that for the first time I really wasn’t blown away by what up to now has been a pretty exciting surge in comic book-related film releases.

Based on the comic “Planet Hulk” storyline by Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan, Planet Hulk basically throws Hulk (from the phase when he was still the half intelligent green guy instead of the constantly morphing Bruce Banner to Hulk mode) off of our world thanks to some combined super hero ingenuity and sends out towards an uninhabited planet where he can’t be harmed and more importantly, can’t harm anything around him.

Unfortunately the plan goes slightly awry and Hulk finds himself cast upon an oppressed world where he is enslaved and tossed into the gladiator pits to become a fighter that will entertain the crowd as well as the all important Red King, the tyrant that rules the people of this planet in his iron grip.

However, Hulk’s appearance coincides with the natives’ legends of a saviour for their people and as Hulk slowly begins to gather followers (whether he wants them or not), the tide begins to shift as the Warbound, basically his band of fighters, continue their quest against ever stronger opponents to earn their freedom – and perhaps even that of the planet while they are at it!

While there is certainly nothing wrong with the story itself, the pacing just feels horribly wrong and we are shuttled from sequence to sequence, sometimes making huge leaps in the story being told and then simply be expected to fill in the details and make the mental leap ourselves. Stripping away everything else, this is pretty much a gladiator film and worse, a pretty tired gladiator story with the only new thing being aliens in Roman gladiator dress instead of humans.

The animation is pretty okay and the battle scenes are nice and fluid, though the visuals are kept pretty simple in terms of line count and colouring, and there isn’t all that much in terms of atmosphere created by the line art are shadowing. Also, I kept wondering to myself where Hulk’s nose kept disappearing to – for some reason they seemed intent on giving him the cutest little button nose whenever the opportunity arose! :P

Of course, as with all these new breed of animated films, there is a fair bit of animated violence to contend with, including the squishing of bug aliens by a huge brick monster. Nothing that should induce nightmares in kids, but something certainly worth taking note of.

The musical score and voice acting on the other hand are all pretty good and although I didn’t recognise most of the names on the voice roll call, I thought that just about everyone put in a pretty fine performance.

So in summary, a pretty average outing delivered to us courtesy of director Sam Liu, and it must be said that I can’t help but think that the work he delivers for the DC stable of animated films continues to be stronger than the work he delivers for Marvel. Still, it is an animated movie, it does feature the big green rampaging giant and so for any Marvel or comic book reader, this remains a film that should be watched and will bring joy to those fans of the jolly green giant! :)


DearS (Volume 1) Manga | My Reviews 30 JUN 2009

DearS Volume 1A Close Encounter of the Oh-So-Fine Kind.

The DearS have crash-landed on Earth and are now working with humans to become part of society – by going to high school! Lucky for the loveless, lonely Takeya, he stumbles upon an alien honey who is in desperate need of an education. Lucky for her, Takeya’s neighbour is there to keep the young man’s libido in check!

DearS tells the story of the DearS, an alien race that crash-landed their ship here on Earth about a here ago. Gifted linguists and apparent lovers of peace, the DearS were quick to befriend the human nations and as such were allowed to co-exist with the Japanese race over in Japan. Eager to blend in with society, the DearS have launched a number of programs to facilitate integration, one of these being the ‘home-stay’ project for surrounding high schools.

Takeya Ikuhara is a 17-year-old, live-alone student who is rigid in his ways and harbours a distinct dislike for these alien newcomers. However a chance encounter with one such alien, which happens to be completely unlike the rest that present themselves to our world, means that he now gets saddled with a troublesome, naive girl that he can only call Ren because quite frankly her full name is literally impossible to pronounce! Thus begins the arduous task of educating this girl and getting her to blend in with society more quietly, a task that Takeya is not particularly keen on picking up on – especially if she’s going to keep calling him ‘Master’!

Peach-Pit is a female manga artist duo in Japan, made up of Banri Sendo and Shibuko Ebara, with the pair taking the name directly from the hit 90’s show, Beverly Hills 90210 (it was the name of the hangout diner in case you’re wondering). DearS was their first recognised work as a manga duo, but they have since followed it up with the popular Rozen Maiden, Zombie-Loan and Shugo Chara! works.

Admittedly, the story for DearS is about as generic as they come. Wannabe bad-ass boy with no manners runs into naive, silly little girl who thanks to a misunderstanding ends up living with him and who he then needs to educate about the world but at the same time avoid his raging hormones and endure all the silly little messes that this unwelcome, and unexplained newcomer creates. Unfortunately, even with the whole alien slant, DearS doesn’t quite manage to rise up above this rather bland level of story that we’ve all heard before and this turns out to be quite a pity because the potential for a nice, fun, romantic story is buried down there – it just struggles to shine amongst so much other generic material that we’ve literally all seen before in some form or another!

The writing on DearS isn’t all that bad and yes, there are a few moments where you will definitely chuckle and some definite questions and mysteries are raised to pique your interest in perhaps purchasing the second volume just a tad, but it certainly isn’t strong or compelling enough to excite you as you read from start to finish.

On the other front, the art for DearS is very much all over the place, with lots of flitting between standard and super-deformed caricatures (which certainly does aid the silliness and humour in places), but unfortunately it is the standard imagery that proves to be a bit weak as quite often the character poses and perspectives don’t quite work out as one suspect the artists may have hoped for. Of course there is the penchant for drawing good-looking girls with lots of leg showing to take into account, but this is diminished when quite often the panel as a whole just doesn’t look right to the eye thanks to some or other slightly misshapen or undeveloped limb. It certainly isn’t horrendous artwork but it most definitely isn’t particularly pleasing artwork either!

In summary, DearS certainly will appeal to some segments of the market but I’m not entirely sure which ones those might actually be. It is a romantic comedy in nature, it does contain a little mystery and it is certainly fun in places (thanks to the very deprived homeroom teacher). If you can stomach reading a storyline that you’ve most certainly seen and witnessed before, then sure, go for it, but otherwise you certainly won’t be missing out on much if you choose to give it a good old skip.

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dears