OK two really interesting flicks here, so lets get to it:
First up we have Dragon Wars (D-War).
A Korean folktale about the transformation of an Imoogi serpent into a Cosmic Dragon, reworked and translated to the big screen by writer/director Hyung Rae Shim. On a side note - Mr. Shim is also a comedian, best known in Korea for his comic character Young Gu.
The plot revolves around two young adult humans and an evil Imoogi serpent named Buraki , and his dark army of Dragons, Dinosaurs, and a legion of undead humanoids. There is a good Imoogi as well but I will speak no more of that aspect of the plot.
The CG is top notch overall, however there are some elements that struck me as incomplete, almost as if the visual effects guys ran out of time. That said - I would have the give the visual effects a grade of B.
and, Robert Forester
The movie was announced in 2002, after five years production, it was the most expensive and elaborate movie in the Korean Film Industry's history.
Mr. Shim made the film in English and he used a large American cast, to increase the scope of distribution for the film. Instead of shopping out a majority of the visual effects, he built his own CG studio - YoungGu Art - and took control of a major weak point of production management. He even managed to get Steve Jablowsky (Transformers and The Island) to score the music, as well as Mark Mangini for the film's sound design.
The DVD includes a great "making of" documentary (5,000 Years in the Making), that is the source for the behind the scenes info I included in this review.
Not only is this a good movie, it holds (behind the scenes) a tale of a man and a vision that was irrepressible.
This film deserves 4 out of 5 stars but Mr. Shim gets all 5.
Now for the Japanese film, Casshern
Casshern is set in the future, where the end of a 50 year war is in sight, but the earth has been ravaged and humanity is teetering on the edge. In this world the fate of humanity rests in the hands of a geneticist (and his "Neo-Cells"), his son, and the newly risen race of "Neo-Sapiens". Casshern is not only the movie's title, it is also the eventual name of the hero.
A very strange yet beautifully atmospheric tale of love, duty, war, fear, envy, and vengeance... basically the "Human Condition", told with the expected heavy-handed Japanese Pacifism. The fight scenes are very well choreographed (the editing is a bit too fast though) and the armored suit that Casshern wears is kick-ass!
The production design is reminiscent of the CG environments created from scratch - but I can not say for sure if the entire film is CG just from the watching of it.
The film is in Japanese with English subtitles. The DVD does not have any bonus features.
This film also gets 4 out of 5 stars.