Posted by DJ I.Z.
Released on: April 24, 2004

Interesting story with a steampunk aesthetic.  This Japanese movie based on a TV show is not without its merits, but perhaps a bit overdrawn.

Post-war, humankind is threatened by the fallout of nuclear and chemical weapons, and genetic mutation runs rampant threatening people.  The discovery of Neo Cells has the possibility to save everyone, but the cells are only found in a group of people thought to be terrorists and animals.  The doctor who discovered this, Dr. Azuma, is saddened by the failing health of his wife, and the eventual news that his son Tetsuya was killed in war.

Suddenly something from space falls through the lab where the doctor is performing his work, acting as a catalyst where the experiments were going wrong.  Limbs that were being grown in vats start combining into living humans.  With the fear that these are dangerous creatures, soldiers try to kill them but several escape.  Knowing that his experiments work, Dr. Azuma uses the lab to resurrect his son's body.  The surviving group of self-named, "Neo-Sapiens" are now determined to destroy mankind for the slaughter, by rebuilding robot armies and setting them loose.  The regime that funded the research to create them is overturned, and Dr. Azuma is now in a place to figure out the way to destroy what he created.  It looks that Tetsuya is the only hope of man, and is considered to be Casshern the guardian spirit of humanity.

Stunning effects, and a very compelling story.  The action is a bit of live-action anime, which I will admit in general isn't my favorite type of thing (the commercials alone for "Speed Racer" made me sick), it's not too distracting as to make the film unwatchable.  There is an underlying love story, as well as an anti-war message, so don't think this is a pure action adventure film.

At least for the first hour or so...

I think this film was a little drawn out, and gets a little slow and preachy as it continues on.  I personally appreciate the anti-war message as it's presented and shown, but the number of drawn-out speeches that take you there stack up in a repetitive manner which offer nothing of value as they drone on.  My opinion is that you'll care enough to see what happens, but since this is subtitled you can probably watch it in fast-forward and get the gist of what happens.  I will say this though, at the risk of sounding overly-sentimental, the ending is very touching as you see the how the lives through the story were interconnected, and what war brought to them.

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