Appleseed Ex Machina

Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: Feature Film
Rating: 15 for violence and adult themes
Score: Excellent

Deunan and her partner Briareos, a veteran cyborg-soldier, are members of E.S.W.A.T., the elite special forces police unit within Olympus. The two fighters find their partnership tested in a new way by the arrival of a new member to their ranks – an experimental Bioroid named Tereus. In a wider world of endless conflict, developments in nanotechnology threaten to further blur the lines between humans, cyborgs and bioroids, and present a global challenge for the surviving independent city-states.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this is the sequel to Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed. The main characters remain, the setting is still Olympus, but the plot is rather different from the first film. In Appleseed, the viewer is given no real information about the world outside Olympus, except that it’s a global battlefield. Ex Machina appears to be set around 20-30 years after the original, during a peroid of (relative) peace and international diplomacy, but an era of increased terrorism and independent operations.

Appleseed Ex Machina is a visual delight. It’s without a shadow of a doubt the *best* advert for HDTV I’ve seen. Sure, there are a lot of things that look better in 1080p, but Appleseed Ex Machina takes the crown. The visuals are stunning, there’s no other word for it. The resolution at which the shots of Olympus are rendered make the city feel so alive, and the animation of the individual characters is taken to a new level of physics accuracy and detail. You want the 1080p release of this; the DVD release of this really doesn’t do it justice at all.

It’s a rare thing for a sequel to have a higher rating than the original, but I think Ex Machina deserves the extra point on the score. The plot gripped me more convincingly than the original Appleseed, and the visuals are a substantial improvement on a film which I’ve already credited for its excellent visuals. I don’t usually go on about visuals in my reviews, preferring instead to concentrate on the characters and the plot, but this one really deserves it.