Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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Anon Of Holland Reviews: Mass Effect – Paragon Lost [Production I.G.,2012]

t24
This movie has been out for quite a while, but I initially passed on it only to regain interest after the horrific end of the Mass Effect saga.Having seen the screenshots when it came out, I wasn’t expecting all too much, and Production I.G. (but especially Henry Gilroy, who apparently wrote this cinematic masterpiece) was all too happy to oblige.

t22[Pew! Pew! Pew! I’m drawn like those “How to draw manga” characters! Pew! Pew!]

Paragon Lost takes place during Mass Effect 2, where the collectors are harvesting human colonies. Lieutenant James Vega (of Mass Effect 3 fame) is tasked with protecting one of those outposts when the inevitable alien shit hits the fan and stuff starts blowing up.
The story certainly isn’t anything to write home about. In fact it seems it’s almost entirely crafted just so they could fit as many cheesy oneliners as possible into a 90 minute movie. Regardless, it’s entertaining enough, and aside from some giant plotholes and terrible interaction between the squad members it serves as a decent backdrop for some mindless action and Mass Effect fanservice. I’d say this anime is definitely much better than  the worst of the Halo ones, but unfortunately can’t reach the (admittedly not even that high) standard of the two or three better stories of that rival anthology.

 

t23[Look at my giant chest. Goddamn.]

The biggest problem with the movie though, is the animation. Production I.G. is well known in weeaboo circles as being the creators of Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh and Eden of the East, to name but a few. So they’re known to be able to deliver beautiful animation, and at the very least decent looking characters. While their work on Halo Legends was also subpar (especially in the character department), the lack of focus/time/heart shows through much, much more clearly in Paragon Lost. The characters designs are simply horrible, deviantart level featureless puppets, and while the environments in Halo Homecoming looked great, everything looks undetailed and bland in Mass Effect. The CGI deserves a separate mention as well for being so hilariously terrible. It’s almost like looking at one of those fmv games back in the day, only in HD.

 

t22[Oh God someone call the 80’s, one of their computers has shown up in our office!]

So, what’s the redeeming factor in this film?
Well, to be honest, aside from the excellent audio (music and sound effects sound like they came straight from the game) only hardcore fans of Mass Effect will be able to find any. It’s cool to see the universe being fleshed out a little bit more and seeing the races you know from the games. There’s some cool moments where they use the technology introduced in the games in new and interesting ways (like the recon drones, kinetic barriers, biotics, stuff like that) and it’s awesome to catch a glimpse of how amazing a live action movie set in the Mass Effect universe could be. There’s aliens, explosions, blue chicks, heroic deaths, backstabbing, OMG ALL DOZE PPLing, basically everything your Hollywood blockbuster needs. Now if only it would actually look like one, it’d be worth it.

It should be noted though that there was one thing I was pleasantly surprised by and that’s the ending. I won’t spoil it for anyone who suddenly got the urge to watch it (if there would be such a person), but suffice it to say that at the end Vega is put in front of a pretty big moral dilemma and the outcome of it and the way it was handled actually surprised me. The ending felt very much in tune with the tone of the games, which is definitely something to be proud of.

Verdict: 4/10
Fanservice and a decent ending can’t make up for a cliché story with bland characters. Better luck next time, EA.

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This entry was posted on 24 March 2013 by in Animu, Games, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , .

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