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Anime Review

Last Exile

by Le Chupacabra

Gonzo 26 Episodes Age 8+

In the world of Prester, two mighty nations, Anatore and Dusis are at war with each other. The whole conflict is overseen by the mysterious Guild a seemingly neutral entity armed with strange and powerful technology. Of course, all this means nothing to Vanship riders Klaus Valca and Lavie Head. Their job is to deliver messages and they'll take any risks necessary to complete their mission. However, their lives are turned upside down when they encounter a severely damaged Vanship; with his last breath the messenger pilot asks Klaus and Lavie to escort a young girl named Alvis Hamilton to the notorious battleship Sylvana. Thus begins a whirlwind adventure of epic proportions and one that looks to change the fate of Prester forever!

First and foremost, Last EXILE is an all-out visual and aural assault on the senses. By perfectly segueing together CGI and hand-drawn animation, GONZO have produced a truly artistic masterpiece that will never fail to astonish the viewer. While the colours are purposely subdued and the palette is rather dull, this gives the show a rather dated look that adds to the steampunk-esque world it tries to convey. Combined with some stunning lighting effects, Last EXILE creates a brilliantly evocative and somewhat nostalgic atmosphere.

A lot of attention went towards the fight scenes in this anime. Whether it's a group of Vanships tearing through the air during the dangerous high-speed races or the giant warships of Anatore and Dusis battling it out for supremacy of skies, these scenes will have you awestruck. The ships are peppered with delicate and distinctive mechanical detail while the fights themselves are choreographed beautifully with moments that will leave you breathless. If you're a lover of flight, then this anime does a wonderful job of romanticising the feeling of soaring through the heavens themselves.

The music in Last EXILE is simply brilliant. The soundtrack makes brilliant use of wind instruments to create some fast-paced, catchy medleys that are evocative of Irish folk music. The music is strangely uplifting and just goes perfectly with the airship escapades and glorious air battles that are liberally spread throughout the anime.

The slower tunes may often go unnoticed but those are used subtly during the darker scenes to create the fantastic atmosphere of Last EXILE.

It's a creative, fresh new world of adventure to explore here and GONZO have pulled this off with aplomb. From the onset, you are presented with a surprisingly persistent and accomplished world that seems very believable.

The story is actually quite interesting; Last EXILE isn't about looks only. Instead of deeply exploring the nuances of the world it has created, the focus is on the journey of the three protagonists. Although, it wouldn't have to hurt to give some back-story to some things; it's such a rich, intrigueing world that it becomes somewhat of an injustice not to realise its full potential.

From a simple lifestyle of Vanship messengers to being thrust into an journey that will probably change everyone's lives Klaus and Lavie are at the heart of it all. Their actions and morals become the catalysts that lead to the consequences and events that unfold. The way one affair leads to another is intrigueing indeed and the journey itself is just a whirlwind adventure of people, places and experiences. It's definitely epic stuff but in its own subtle way (however weird that may sound). This is yet another aspect of Last EXILE that makes it so enjoyable.

Initially, it seems that when it comes to characterisation, Last EXILE falls a bit short. However, that isn't so. Through their interactions with each other, the subtle side-stories and their somewhat intertwined relationships, you come to know a lot more about the personalities of Last EXILE than you realise. Some seem cliché, others fairly unique - but in terms of the complete picture, Last EXILE has a character cast you'll come to know and love.

Last EXILE, in short, is a great anime. The art and sound are of immensely high calibre and the story and characters will definitely hold your interest for the whole ride. But what I truly loved about Last EXILE was the beautifully evocative atmosphere painted by the amalgamation of all the various facets of this anime.

Jessica Beil

Qazi Zulqarnain Islam

Jessica Biel, with her striking good looks and wide range of talent, has become one of Hollywood's most sought-out actresses. Her television series acting debut on the WB's #1-rated show, "7th Heaven" (1996), has helped her emerge as a breakout star. She recently wrapped production on Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown (2005), opposite Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst and Susan Sarandon. Jessica was most recently seen in New Line Cinema's Blade: Trinity (2004) in which she co-stars with Wesley Snipes and Ryan Reynolds.

Jessica was born in Minnesota to Jonathon Edward Biel and Kimberly Conroe; the family is of German, French, English and Choctaw Native American descent.

Biel was raised in Boulder, Colorado, where her family had moved to when she was very young. She initially trained to become a vocalist with the hope of performing in musical theater and appeared in several musicals at an early age including The Sound of Music, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, and Anything Goes.

Jessica's film career began at age 14 when she played alongside Peter Fonda in his Golden Globe-winning performance in Ulee's Gold (1997). Her display of versatility garnered her rave notices for her portrayal as the rebellious daughter in Victor Nunez' s critically acclaimed movie. Selected as the Centerpiece Premiere for the '97 Sundance Film Festival and presented at Cannes, the movie opened to glowing reviews.

Her career took a slight downturn after that and it was believed to be due to mistakes in her youth including posing topless for Gear magazine and her ranting against 7th Heaven creator Brenda Hampton.

Name: Jessica Claire Biel
Birthdate: March, 3rd 1982
Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ely, Minnesota, USA
Grew up in:
Boulder, Colorado
Current Residence: Los Angeles
Family: Mother Kim,
Father Jon, Brother Justin

However, things took an upturn again after her portrayal of Erin, "Leatherface's" greatest nemesis to date, in New Line Cinema's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), a remake of the famous original. She went on to star in Blade: Trinity and won over a spot in Crowe's Elizabethtown.

This summer she will be seen starring in Sony Pictures' Stealth (2005) alongside Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx in the drama about three pilots in a top-secret military program struggling to bring an artificial intelligence program under control before it initiates the next world war. The film is slated for release on July 29th, 2005.

Producer Joel Silver has commented that Biel is his first choice to play the title role in writer-director Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman movie.

Did You Know?
· Jessica collects vintage glasses with no lenses.
· Is an amateur photographer.
· Loves football and played at school as a midfielder.
· Esquire magazine named her the "Sexiest Woman Alive" in a six-part series with each month, revealing a different body part and clue of the woman. The clue most obvious to her identification is that her last name rhymes with what sigillographers are interested in (seals).


Review by Gokhra

'Holy Matrix!' That could very well be your exclamation when you see the poster for this movie or catch the first glimpse of Christian Bale as Cleric Preston. He looks like a clone of Keanu Reeves in Matrix with the same flowing black coat, white face, semi whispering voice. Difference lies in the fact that Bale is by far a much better actor and provides a lot more depth to his character. He provided a range to his character as evident in his portrayal of Batman.

Now this is a pretty old movie. I came out in 2002 after the first Matrix. But it needs a deserving mention just because it is such a cool movie that most people missed. This was made with a low budget with very little media hype.

The plot:
The premise of the plot is brilliant and it makes the fact that producers had very little money quite unimportant. They show very little of the post apocalyptic world but they manage to express so much.

The action is amazing. Even after having seen all the bullet time scenes from Matrix this has scenes that will still leave you breathless. It has very few slow motion scenes for one thing. Everything happens in a beautifully choreographed blur. The movie lacked the promotion and marketing which could have made it into a mind blowing success.

It's a modern twist and tribute so to speak to George Orwell's 1984 presenting a not-too-distant future where freedom has been traded for security through the State-mandated use of emotion-suppressing drugs. You see, in this bleak future war, crime and hate are things of the past but so are art and creativity and love. Everyone takes the drug and goes about their daily lives in a zombie trance. Everything's painted in a spectrum of grey. Black bikes, black coats, white Cadillac's with white seats, steering, dashboard, taillight and everything else. Colours apparently would stir emotion and cannot be provided. Those who do not take the drug and want to feel are known as sense offenders. Books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death.

In the nation of Libria, there is always peace among men. The rules of the Librian system are simple. If you are happy, you will be arrested. If you cry, the law will hunt you down. If you read a contraband book or so much as look at a smuggled painting, you've committed a crime. To keep the peace, citizens must take their daily doses Prozium, a powerful designer drug that stops feelings dead and keeps everyone on an even keel. Refuse to take the drug and special police will find you.

Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a top ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist the rules. When he misses a dose of Prozium, a mind-altering drug that hinders emotion, Preston, who has been trained to enforce the strict laws of the new regime, suddenly becomes the only person capable of overthrowing it. He discovers an incredible new world of sensation that gives him the passion to fight for freedom. Preston listens to music for the first time after missing the drug does and it brings him to tears. Yep, that's what great music can do.

This nightmare is presided over by the Big Brother-like dictator Father, and enforced by a quasi-religious order of "Clerics." The Clerics follow a system of martial arts called The Gun Katas. It helps the Cleric to statistically understand where a target may be and also stay in the clear even in the center of a firefight. If only people knew this in real life they could stay out of Crossfire.

The plot of Equilibrium is jammed with surprise and invention suffice to say, this is an intellectual rollercoaster ride both a bleak glimpse into a possible future and a stirring tribute to the indomitable human spirit.

It has brilliant cinematography, stunning futuristic production design, and music. Bale has never been better, combining sleek coldness with a heartbreaking portrayal of a man rediscovering his lost humanity. Here the storytelling shows its genius. In the beginning of the movie the violence was rather muted as Bales character felt it. But the more he progressed into 'feeling' the more gritty the violence became.

Equilibrium stuns with its kinetic mayhem. The gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, and swordplay (yes swordplay!) are so staggering in execution that for this aspect alone no self-respecting action fan can afford to miss this movie. The dumb critics panned this movie but sometimes the critics can be just that: dumb. So judge for yourself.

It's curious how this movie did not go big. Buy it, download it, see this movie somehow. If you want an action movie with cool stunts, and a plot that makes you think then this is it. It rivals Matrix in so many ways. It's a movie I watched all over again for the sheer brilliance of it. DVD of this movie is available in a few select shops in Rifles Square and Bashundhara City.



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