Casshern (2004)

Casshern (2004)

Director: Kazuaki Kiriya

Cast: Yûsuke Iseya as Tetsuya Azuma / Casshern, Kumiko Asô as Luna Kozuki, Akira Terao as Dr. Kotaro Azuma, Kanako Higuchi as Midori Azuma, Fumiyo Kohinata as Dr. Kozuki, Hiroyuki Miyasako as Akubon, Mayumi Sada as Sagurê, Jun Kaname as Barashin, Hidetoshi Nishijima as Lieutenant Colonel Kamijo, Mitsuhiro Oikawa as Kaoru Naito, Susumu Terajima as Sakamoto, Mayu Tsuruta as Burai's wife, Ryô as San Ikegami, Tetsuji Tamayama as Sekiguchi, Yôko Moriguchi as Luna's mother

If I hadn't already seen Zhang Yimou's Hero the previous week, I would
have had to say that Casshern is one of the most beautiful-looking
films I've seen in years (or ever). However, it'll have to suffice with
second place. The CGI is highly stylised, with some green-screen shots
looking purposefully false, but the real joy is in the production
design - very evocative of Metropolis. Visual references are also made
to the Nuremburg rallies of the 1930s, the Holocaust, Orwell's 1984 and
those retro wind-up robots. A massive twenty-storey building is
suspended in the air by hundreds of propellers like some overgrown
zeppelin, and there's shots of a train so wide it requires five strips
of rail side-by-side to accommodate it. The battle scenes are
particularly awesome, and the combat scenes between Casshern and the
Neo-Sapiens equally sharp.

However, the story primarily revolves around the drama of two families
and there's very little affinity made with the main characters. Perhaps
it was because the action scenes were so bombastic, but I found it very
difficult to spur my interest in the character-driven moments, and this
consequently made the two-and-a-half-hour running time feel a tad too

The final closing message, which runs contrary to the adrenalized
mid-section of the film, is presented rather clumsily. But in true
Japan-fashion, you can't help but be charmed by the sincerity of the
whole thing.

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