Saturday, March 14, 2015

Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion (live action movie), on DVD

Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion is a Japanese fantasy movie. It's 1 hour and 23 minutes long. I found it in a bargain bin and am thankful I didn't pay full price for it.

This post includes spoilers.

Review:

I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but I hadn't expected it to be as terrible as it was. Part of my dislike of it was probably due to me having no knowledge of the franchise. As far as I know, I've never seen the anime or read the manga. However, I'm pretty sure that, even if I'd had some background knowledge about the series, I'd have thought this movie was awful.

I'll try my best to explain the plot, beginning with a list of the characters. There's Kaname, a high school student who's been having sharp back pains. His new friend Naoya has premonitions. Tsukasa is a mysterious wounded kid who's being helped by a priest named Nakaura. Isshin is Kaname's sempai.

Tsukasa is further wounded by someone who leaves behind a few black feathers. Kaname blacks out from the pain in his back and wakes up at a research facility where he is told that his DNA has been analyzed and that he's a descendant of the Darklore clan. Those in the Darklore group can sprout wings with black feathers, causing Kaname to wonder if he's been blacking out and attacking people. Naoya's family is part of E.G.O., a group that opposes the Darklore group. They push for him to kill Kaname. I have no idea which faction Nakaura's church sides with, although I do know they weren't happy about him taking Tsukasa in. Tsukasa is an Eraser, someone who can sprout wings with white feathers. I had to watch the extras just to learn that Nakaura's faction is called WIZ DOM. Oh, and Maya, one of the researchers who analyzed Kaname's DNA without his consent, is related to Isshin but was cast out for some reason.

The best thing about this movie was the concert scene at the beginning, with the visual kei band Alice Nine. Otherwise, this movie was a mishmash of sloppily arranged scenes, terrible filming, and a plodding, useless story. Actually, not even a real story, just an introduction to one.

The fact that Naoya and Kaname were essentially enemies wasn't revealed until 52 minutes in. Just in general, it was difficult to tell why most of the characters were even in the same movie – Tsukasa and Nakaura appeared to have little to do with Kaname and Naoya, and I'm still not sure what Maya's issues with her family had to do with anything.

Then there were the visuals. Whoever was doing the filming must have hated the makeup artist. Or maybe the makeup artist just sucked. Either way, while I could tell that the movie was meant to showcase its “pretty boy” actors, it mostly just emphasized that the majority of them had bad skin. There were so many extreme closeups and harshly lit scenes that did nothing more than draw attention to the actors' pores, acne scars, and other blemishes.

The description on the movie's container said that the characters would discover that they could sprout wings from their backs. However, only one character ever sprouted wings. It happened at the very end of the movie, during what looked like the beginning of the big, climactic battle. Since there were only a few minutes left, I figured the final battle would be fairly rushed. Hahaha, how silly I was! The movie ended before the final battle. That's right – I put up with over an hour of excruciatingly slow and massively confusing buildup, only to have nothing at all happen. It felt like part 1 of a two-part movie, only, as far as I can tell, a second part was never filmed. What an utter waste of time.

Extras:

There are three extras: a 17-minute “making of” video, a 19-minute video of a promotional event with Alice Nine, the director, and the cast, and the movie's original trailer.

The “making of” video was a little painful to watch, considering my feelings about the end product. Strangely, the actors' skin looked better here than in the movie. The bit with Alice Nine was pretty sweet. As it turns out, that scene in the movie was at least partially a real concert, with actual Alice Nine fans in the audience.

The promotional event was both awkward and funny. All the primary male actors, the director, and the members of Alice Nine got on stage together, asked each other questions, and occasionally poked fun at each other.

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