Saturday, January 24, 2004

Lensman stuff

So, I've been reading the History Of Civilization series of novels by E.E. "Doc" Smith as part of my getting in the Space Opera groove. It's a wonderful series of books. I recommend looking into them.

I also, as I mentioned before, am looking for Space Opera animation. Well, this all comes together simply in the anime Lensman based on Smith's series.

It's actually kind of notoriously bad. The IMDb User Comments page is filled with belittling reviews, none of which mention "Doc" Smith at all.

But I thought I'd give it a shot.

Even to me, who is currently reading the books, the movie plays like a hybrid of the Star Wars movies and Green Lantern comics with a weird Tron segment thrown in to show off their computer animation. Now, since those two basic elements are stories that borrowed heavily from Smith's series, it's hard to not find some common ground... but honestly, there's not a lot.

The series of novels are definitely adventure stories but they have a sense of scope and gravity that this movie lacks. It's very much a light-hearted romp kind of story. They do share an episodic nature, which the novels owe to their origin being serialized in Astounding Science Fiction. It has a fairly standard anime wackiness that pervades it, to the point of mild irritation for me. It's also not especially compelling... and yet I can't suggest that it wasn't basically entertaining all the way through.

And there was some interesting animated aliens, including a much different version of Worsel than Smith's who is underused and easily the most compelling character in the film, which is what I mostly wanted to see, so I have no complaints.

And, yes, it is kind of weird that I wrote a much longer column regarding a movie that no one has seen or is likely to see than I did with the other movies I've watched recently. Oh, well.

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