Tentacle-Free Anime: "Expelled from Paradise" (2014) Review
- by Kazekun, 22 June 2015
Looking to the future, often times I wonder what will happen to the human race. Many writers have fantasized about this as well and made many, many stories based around the different options. And one of the age old takes on our possible destiny is the man vs. machine debate. Well, recently I discovered a story that boasts an original take on that idea... and that brings us to Expelled From Paradise.
Expelled From Paradise, to dystopian vets, can at first feel like a rehash of others from the genre; it's easy to tell where it takes its cues: The Matrix (so, by extension, Ghost in the Shell), Elysium, and I think there's even a bit of Ergo Proxy thrown in there for good measure – at the very least, the guardians of Deva which resemble Gods and Deities of various religions, very much remind me of the council from Ergo Proxy.
Ultimately, I don't believe a winner is chosen, but given Angela's eventual choice I think we all know which side is clear. That said, none of this is drilled into your head, repeating like a broken record, and you're left to consider this: would you rather be a digital being, or a physical one, or could the two sides coexist with one another? It's a familiar debate, but, again, it's all in the execution.
The world of Deva is a colorful and perfect one, where no one get sick and you could essentially live forever. You can basically go wherever you want, for however long, whenever you like. Just don't break the rules, or you'll be imprisoned and sentenced to being forgotten and locked away. In contrast to that, is the Earth, muddy and dirty. Long ago man was almost completely wiped out but there are those who still survive, who still make a living; those who didn't make the turn-over to Deva.
On Earth, you can make a living for yourself, nothing is simply handed to you. You can have a since a accomplishment and freedom in your own work by your own hands. But, it is a dangerous place to live, with cutthroats and disease still lingering. As well as some nasty mutated bugs running around.
So, out of the two, which would you choose?
One of the biggest mistakes this film makes though is not allowing us enough time in Deva. I get that the enemy is on Earth, but it would've been nice to spend an equal amount of time in both places rather than what we got. As the movie spends majority of its time on Earth. Eventually you get the sense that Earth is the place to be, so the bits about Deva are mostly from Angela's perspective.
There's also a big, giant fight at the end that felt incredibly shounen. Where Angela takes on a horde of agents from Deva and ends up being able to take them all on herself. I get that she's the main character, but this is one of those times where those agents should've been on par with her.
The character of Dingo is quite fun. A simple man trying to make a living, with a gun in one hand and his guitar in the other. He stands as the only reason Angela survives being down on Earth, and he's a good man to boot. Not without their flaws though, Steve Blum and Wendee Lee give wonderful performances (as usual) adding depth and character to what could've been a couple of one-note cast members. It is nice that a couple of vets were able to bring these two to life.
The animation is absolutely gorgeous as well. A very polished 3D CGI, at times even I forgot that I was watching something like that. It's easy to notice at the beginning of the film, but as the story goes you just forget about it. It has a soft beauty to it, and I'm glad that animators are getting this good at CGI. The character designs, however, suffer majorly from main character syndrome. Angela wears a skimpy, cybernetic outfit the entire time which is more than gratuitous, and Dingo stands out amongst his peers with a groomed and polished look in a rundown world.
This movie came out on Netflix earlier this month, in both English Dub and Japanese Sub. A film with absolutely gorgeous animation, a classic story told for the modern audience, and a cast full of vets who we all know and love, this is definitely a film worth checking out you guys.
Final Score: 4 Lagrange Arcs out of 5
Have you seen "Expelled from Paradise"? What did you think of it?