Friday, February 13, 2009

VEXILLE - sci-fi thriller cum political critique

VEXILLE is the follow-up feature length CGI animation from the team behind APPLESEED. As with that flick, the 3D backgrounds are stunningly rendered and knock the socks off anything produced by Western animation artists and the 2-D action is perfectly rendered using motion-capture. Ladies and gents, this is the future of animation.

The movie is essentially a sci-fi thriller on the surface but a political discourse on Japan's inward-looking culture underneath. In 2077, Japan has invented robotics technology of such power that the rest of the world is essentially dependent on its OPEC style monopoly on production. The UN reacts by legislating against it, at which point Japan retreats from all international discourse and returns to its C17 isolationism. The meta-narrative is, then, all about questioning Japanese cultural tropes. On the surface, the movie is an action flick. Vexille is a US agent sent on a secret mission into the heart of Japan to spy on the super-tech. The resulting movie is intelligent, imaginative, fast-paced and visually stunning - and one that repays repeated viewing.

VEXILLE played Toronto and London 2007 and was released in 2007 and 2008. It is available on DVD with a very insightful commentary.

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