Saturday 13 August 2011

DVD Reviews

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Starring: Louise Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouche
Director: Luc Besson
Optimum Home Entertainment
Available from 15/08/11 on DVD & Blu-Ray/DVD Combo
Review by Blake Harmer

Set in Paris 1911, the story follows Adele Blanc-Sec, an adventure journalist who is desperate to cure her catatonic sister who is near death following a freak accident that Adele feels responsible for. In order to find this cure she goes through dangerous Egyptian tombs and braves the local Egyptian lowlife in order to bring back a mummified doctor who she believes has the skills to save her sister. In order to bring the mummy back to life though, she must enlist the help of oddball professor Espérandieu, who has unusual mental powers that can bring the dead back to life. However, Espérandieu is already causing mayhem as he has already awoken a pterodactyl from a museum egg.

The extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is a very fun family action-adventure film with some nice humourous elements to it. If you were to compare it to any of Luc Besson’s earlier works, then it’s more The Fifth Element than Léon. The humour comes thick and fast and Louise Bourgoin’s performance as Adele is fantastic as a strong willed adventure journalist whose extreme over-the-top nature, and schemes she comes up with to overcome problems, add to the humour.

The only real downside to the film is that is does suffer from some pacing issues towards the end. Also, the special effects are poor and low budget which can detract from the already quite large suspension of disbelief that’s already required for the plot. But at least the plot can be overlooked for the sheer enjoyment value of the film. All in all though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film, and whilst it may not be as good as Besson’s previous works. It is still worth a watch and a good romp if you’re looking for something to watch with the family over the holidays.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
: a fair amount of action, but not loads, there is a bit of blood but nothing ultraviolent or gory.
Sex/Nudity: You do get to see Adele’s boobs during a bath scene, but that’s it.
Swearing: A few mild expletives, but nothing strong - this is more of a family orientated film after all.
Summary: An enjoyable supernatural action comedy that keeps things fun and humourous throughout. Not Besson’s best, but still a good romp nonetheless. 7/10

Sekirei: The Complete Series
Starring: Saori Hayami, Shinnosuke Tachibana
Director: Keizo Kusakawa
Manga Entertainment
Available from 15/08/11 on DVD
Review by Rob Wade

The year is 2020 and 19-year-old Minato is having a bad time of it. He has just failed his college entrance exam for the second time, is currently unemployed and can’t get a girlfriend to save his life. Thankfully, fate deals him an unexpectedly lucky hand when a well-proportioned babe named Musabi falls on him from the sky. Minato soon learns that Musabi is a “Sekirei”, one of 108 beautiful girls with incredible otherworldly powers.

Even better, Musabi chooses Minato to be her “Ashikabi”, a human with whom each Sekirei must bond in order to access her full potential and gain the power required to fight in a series of elimination battles with the other girls. But Minato soon learns that being the partner of a cute, perfectly formed girl with supernatural powers is not easy, especially when he finds himself shacked up with a group of other Sekirei who also choose him as their Ashikabi, all of whom are quite literally fighting for his affections.

First things first, I’m going to call someone on their bullshit. Whoever did the subtitles for this DVD release needs to be fired. I don’t say that lightly, here’s why I say this. Not only does the Japanese-English translation not fit the words occurring in the voiceover dub, but the subtitles randomly change from English to Japanese. Seriously, sort it the fuck out or don’t bother doing them.

But I digress. I don’t speak Japanese, but from watching the series, I can only assume that “Sekirei” is Japanese for “woman with stupidly large tits who seems to whap them out at any given opportunity”. Incidentally, it’s more or less impossible to follow that once you see the tits of the main female after around 4 minutes of the first episode. What follows is a series of battles which involves boobs, naked girls and plenty of fantasy violence in the vein of stuff like Naruto. Yeah, that’s right. At one point there’s a fight between two naked Sekirei. I shit you not.

In a way, it’s a shame that the emphasis is so heavily on sex in this anime (well, it’s not all bad; as anime boobs go, they’re good boobs and all, but still), as the story and premise is pretty cool. The idea of a set of specially chosen girls who go around fighting each other to win a grand prize is an impressive premise, but it’s reduced in impact a little by the fact that every single female character has enormous knockers and seems completely unabashed about getting them out at the slightest provocation.

Indeed, a fair amount of the plot is done really well, with the character development done incredibly well, and the action scenes done really well in terms of storyboarding, making the story pacing flow really well. However, there are bits that are just a little silly. Why, for instance, is the main male bothered about seeing the main female’s body in a swimming costume when five episodes earlier he’s seen her in nothing but a pair of pants?

Ultimately, though, you won’t go far wrong if anime is something that you’re a fan of, or indeed if you like to watch big animated boobies bouncing around pretty much all the time. However, taking out the boobies, you’ve still got a decent series. Just don’t take the boobies out, and you end up with a pretty good series. It would have scored higher, but the ramping up of the series ended pretty cheaply in the end. However, it's quite the cliffhanger for various story arcs, so it'd be interesting to see if there is more to come (though considering the series started three years ago, it'd be quite surprising too).

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
: Fantasy violence.
Sex/Nudity: Boobs aplenty, and some naked bums.
Swearing: “Bastard”, anything more obscene is due to the subtitles being shite.
Summary: Well, where to begin? Good for anime fans, good for tit fans, good for anime tit fans, but overall I’d say 7/10

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