WTF Did I Just Watch: Casshern.

Warning: This post has been rated R by the... aw, who the fuck cares. There's cussing.


I found another movie that lands in a WTF moment for me, so I'm basically going to make this a feature review for whenever I watch a movie on TV or DVD that made me go "What The Fuck Did I Just Watch?" This time around it's a little Japanese sci-fi/action/superhero/drama... thing.

Okay, so I've read up quite a bit on this movie (I had to... I honestly had less of a clue what I just watched than I did with Feast 3). And there, I saw a lot of opinions on this film. For those that love it, they tend to fall somewhere between "It took me 3 or 4 times, but I now think it's a masterpiece" and "If you don't understanding this movie, you're a fucking moron who likes Transformers and should stick to Hollywood crap because I'm condescending and stuff." But it seemed that no matter where you fell in your thoughts of this film, whether you loathed it or thought it was the best thing since sliced bread (seriously, shouldn't there have been another 'best thing' by now?), there was one major thing that everybody agreed on:

This movie is confusing as fuck.

Let me try to explain it. It's like mixing together 300, Speed Racer, The Matrix, The Guyver, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Spirit (if it took itself incredibly seriously), Dante from the Devil May Cry video game series, and, well, a bunch of other random shit that shouldn't go together. It's a futuristic story wherein a 50-year war has just recently ended, but there's another mini-war going on. So this scientist's son goes into the war while the scientist tries to come up with this stuff that can build new limbs and organs and whatnot so to defeat death. Well, the son dies in the war. But upon coming back, a lightning bolt strikes the building and brings all the detached limbs and whatnot together, creating these undead mutant people (not zombies... just... Frankenstein-type people, but without all the scars... and who look normal). The scientist also uses it to bring his son back to life. But the liquid stuff that brings him back makes his body unstable, so a scientist friend puts him in a weapon suit that can keep him together (think a less shiny and less metalic Iron Man, but where he can't take the suit off).

But then the mutant people escape and the government starts shooting them down. But a group escapes and heads out into a forest... and then snow... and then end up at a castle from nowhere. There are only like... 4 left by then. So they suddenly gather the ability to start talking (except for one of them), lose their pasty whiteness, and look more normal. They dub themselves "neo-sapiens." Oh, and in this castle is the sleeping robot army that nearly destroyed humans during the 50-year war. So the neo-sapiens awaken them and use them to destroy humankind because, well, humans suck and shot at them and stuff.

But not if Iron Man Jr. has anything to say about it! And there's also some corporation takeovers, a bunch of kidnapping, and a crapload of other random stuff in the movie.

So in other words, the plot makes absolutely no sense, but it's some of the most gorgeous eye candy that I've seen in a long. Seriously, this movie is beyond stunning on the visuals level. It's really to the point where I hate talking bad about it because it looked so good. But eye candy does not a movie make.

But everything else about the movie is a mess. It tries to do way too much. The plot implodes on itself so often that it constantly needs a Deus Ex Machina to revive itself (and I partly mean this literally, too... I think. There's a god (sort of) AND there are machines. And by machines, I mean a giant robot army). The script needed a lot more work before coming to the screen. It could have handled a lot of things differently. It was trying to work with too many themes. It was trying to have too many little side stories. And all of the "Neo-Sapien" journey to the Castle Deus Ex Machina stuff happens too quickly. In the span of about 10-15 minutes, the Neo-Sapiens go from being born to traveling what seems halfway across the world and awakening a robot army to destroy humans because, in this limited time, they have seen how cruel humans are because they were "hunted down" and "killed" (like it had been going on for centuries or something).

There are little scenes, too, that just seem out of place or make no sense. And don't get me started on the couple random 'stop motion' moments. I can't even go into detail on this movie because too much happens while almost nothing happens simultaneously. The only reason I didn't just turn it off was because every time I thought I was about to, something dramatic or action-packed started up.

And that's another thing. The action wasn't all that hot, either. It was done in too much of a stylistic and over-the-top cartoonish way for it to be too effective. This was the only real negative aspect that came from the visual style of the film.

However, I was glad that I did stick it out, because there is (honestly) a decent twist ending. No, it doesn't make the rest of the film make a lick of fucking sense, but it does tie together a few things. But then once that happens, it's like the movie never wants to end. Nobody will stay fucking dead in this movie. I swear, each character dies at least once and refuses to stay dead. There was a moment where both the main character and the main bad guy (who looks exactly like Dante from the Devil May Cry games... hence what I said earlier) seem to have killed each other (about halfway through the movie). I was like "Oh, good, it's over... I can turn it off." But it just kept going. And the next thing I know, both of them are walking around like nothing happened. In fact, there's quite a funny moment (unintentional, I'm sure), where the main guy is on the ground, limp and dead-ish. Then the bad guy calls his name and asks him to come over for a second, so the main guy pokes up his head and hops up and strolls over. It was one of those moments where it felt like the actor just played this serious death scene, and then the scene ends and he just stands up and walks across the stage as if nothing had happened (covered in blood be damned).

And once everybody is (un)dead, there's this big lightning strike and people are transported across the universe to some new alien planet so that they can star in their very own happy home video footage where everybody is just peachy and war-free. The end.

Anyway, I don't want to ramble on too much about this movie. I can see myself falling into the group that likes it after seeing it 3-4 times, but I honestly don't care to waste that many hours (it's a, quite long, 2 hour movie) re-watching it to get to that point. Because overall, the movie is amazing to look at, but so beyond frustrating to follow plot-wise. I eventually gave up trying to understand what the fuck was ever going on and just watched it in hopes that the ending might be good (and it was, to a degree... and not just because it finally ended).

But as I said earlier, you might have the best visuals this side of Tokyo, but if you can't tell a story worth a damn, they won't help you. And this movie doesn't know how to tell a story very well.


(P.S. When I mentioned Speed Racer earlier, I meant it both in visual style and literally. There are a few close-ups to a Speed Racer-like helmet that acts as an homage to the original creator of the anime this movie was based on, who was the same guy who created Speed Racer... if I got my research right, anyway).

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