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The Reeler Blog

This Weekend in Blown Minds: Casshern!

A scene from Casshern, screening Saturday as part of the New York Anime Festival

By S.T. VanAirsdale

We have a saying around Reeler HQ: "Trust no man -- except Grady Hendrix." The NY Sun critic, Variety blogger and NY Asian Film Festival co-founder is among our most reliable sources for all things new and great, which means we may be having something of a late Saturday night as a Hendrix family favorite screens for free on the Upper East Side.

Take it away, Grady:

In 2004, first time director Kazuaki Kiriya raised $6 million bucks, assembled a sweatshop of young CG artists, and took them deep underground where they built their own computer workstations out of scrap hardware and tore open their skulls, unleashing Casshern. ... Exploding with digital beauty, this is the most unique sci-fi film to hit theaters since Blade Runner. Seething with epic battles, massive crankcase cityscapes, genuine atrocity footage and shot with everything from cell animation to Super 8 cameras, Casshern is a digital prayer for the fate of the human race, an ass-kicking steampunk smackdown, and one of the most visually exhilarating anti-war movies ever made.

Adapted from a failed television cartoon that aired in the early 1970’s, Casshern is the experience that finally makes good on all the promises movies made to you when you were a child, but never delivered.

If you don't believe me, watch the trailer.

Even if you do believe him, watch the trailer. And then get in line early at the ImaginAsian Theater, where Saturday's free 10 p.m. screening is scheduled as part of the New York Anime Festival but will accommodate non-pass-holders as space allows. Grady has yet to steer us wrong, and judging from the looks of things online, he's not likely to start now. Check out Kaiju Shakedown for more screening and program information.

Posted at December 7, 2007 12:21 PM

Comments (2)

dude, i don't ever like to fight grady--mainly cause he'll sic untold horrors on me--but casshern is a really tough sell for most audiences.

It's by far the best live-action adaptation of an anime, but it's more in line with Ang Lee's take on The Hulk than it would be a Spider-Man type of flick.

then again, there are 3 different versions of the film. if it's dreamworks, this is the edited version? whatevs.
Also, that trailer is a lie. You will beg for action in between the giant metal lightning bolts.

No, John, this is the original uncut 141 minute version showing this weekend. The movie will be released on DVD on Region 1 cut down by an hour or so but this is the original cut, complete with all the films exasparatingly stilted dialogue, scenarios, acting, visuals, etc.

This is one time when I'll question Grady's judgment. Its got an amazing visual style but the story just begins to suck when you realize that it's going to play it like it really was the end of the world except without the emotional strength behind its gloom and doom (though it does feature some oddly peppy action scenes) to back that claim up.

And speaking of the fight scenes, I can't remember the last time when I saw more glitzy testosterone driven action scenes that were so devoid of energy and yet so serious (note the amplified electric guitar if you doubt their seriousness)--oh wait, no, that's kind of like "300" too.

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