hile the title isn't exactly original, the
premise certainly is. "A.li.ce" is an all-CGI feature and it's a
fairly impressive looking movie that gets points for innovative thinking.
While not in the same class as other, more advanced computer animated
films, "A.li.ce" is still a worthy effort.
"A.li.ce" opens with a young man named Yuan
finding an unconscious girl who was under attack by Stealth Troopers in
the Lapland. When she comes to, the girl is confused about the year and
the world around her. Her name is Alice, a teen idol that had won a trip
to the Moon; when her shuttle crashed, she finds herself thirty years in
the future. The planet is now controlled by the dictator Nero and his
supercomputer SS10X, and they have already wiped out 7 billion people.
With the life she knew far in the past, Alice must acclimate to life in
the year 2030 and free the future with the aid of her rescuer and sexy
robot SS1X. But can she find it in herself to kill the dictator?
The animation in "A.li.ce" is impressive, with bright colors,
good details, and fairly realistic character designs. But while
"A.li.ce" is nice to look at, there are still glitches in the
animation that needed to be worked out. The whole project has the feel of
something you might buy to play on your X Box, and doesn't match the
amazing quality of subsequent works like "Final
Fantasy". Another obvious problem is how Alice is rendered -- her
eyes are simply too large and tend to be the dominate feature on her face.
The script by Masahiro Yoshimoto, while derivative of previous Hollywood
films, nevertheless manages to be entertaining. "A.li.ce" has an economic
running time packed with enough diverting action scenes and dramatic
revelations to satisfy its full 80 minutes. Even so, the characterizations
tend to be erratic and uneven, and Alice is never truly a compelling
heroine. While she may seem like a likeable character, she doesn't strike
you as someone who has it in her to save humanity.
Yuan, while likeable, tends to get easily over
excited and you wish someone would give him a Xanax prescription. Nero
comes across as rather bland and creepy, instead of the evil person you'd
expect. They're both overshadowed by the sexy robot SS1X, whose curvaceous
frame handily steals any scene she's in. The character goes through body
changes in the film, each time giving viewers new eye candy to enjoy.
Nicoli, the ruthless leader of the Liberation Forces, looks appropriately
villainous and menacing, but his character is never developed enough, and
as a result he's never as malevolent as he could have been.
Under the direction of Kenichi Maejima, "A.li.ce" moves fast and
makes the most of its brief running time. Maejima is smart enough to know
his film isn't perfect, and distracts the audience from the flaws with a
fast pace and nice visuals. His film may not be original, but it's a quick
and scenic ride through borrowed scenarios that entertains despite itself.
"A.li.ce" is not just a curiosity to watch, it's a fairly
enjoyable film saved mostly by some nice animation work, well-crafted
visuals, and a brief running time. Anime and science fiction fans would
probably be interest in this offering, if just to see how advanced CGI can
look in a full-length film with budget constraints.