A.Li.Ce – Review


with Kaori Shimizu, Chihiro Suzuki, Mariko Kouda
Directed by Kenichi Maejima
Written by Masahiro Yoshimoto
(Arts Magic DVD)
by Chad Van Wagner

Anime gets a bad rap. Just because something is stereotypically embraced by the kind of sweaty, hygiene-challenged basement-dwellers sensible people try to avoid, doesn’t mean the thing itself is as annoying or stunted as the (again, stereotypical) fans in question.

Then I see something like Alice, and I’m reminded that some stereotypes are not without justification. If this sounds harsh, go ahead, watch this. I can’t stop you.

Alice is, in the simplest possible terms, a bad movie. The script is one hoary cliché after another, the dialogue is so pedestrian that any one line can permanently turn you off to the film as a whole, and the “performances” are so hamfisted that, no shit, they make shows like Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers seem like Shakespeare.

OK, so it’s the kind of “Family Entertainment” that most parents have to grit their teeth through if their rugrats are between the ages of three and nine. But not so fast… There’s also a lot of sex and violence, although even that is so watered down that it’s just another poorly-executed element in a low rent adventure story. So, it’s too bright and cheesy for pre-teenagers, but too strong for the toddler set. Who, then, watches this stuff?

I’m trying not to think about that too hard, because the answer is… creepy. Suffice to say, I don’t think there was any point in my upbringing where I would’ve been able to sit through this. A little research on the Net tells me that this was Japan’s first all-computer animation film, so maybe there’s some historical interest for CGI geeks. But even that is questionable: 1999 wasn’t THAT long ago, and the animation looks like the mega-cheapo computer graphics one would associate with Saturday morning kiddie fare.

Sorry if I’m coming off as harsh, but this is a film that’s begging for the Mystery Science Theatre treatment. Avoid.