MIFF Day 10 - 2nd August 2002

01:32 3/08/02

The action packed Volcano High was my first film today. It is about a 'school of last resort' for students have been expelled from all other schools for beating up people and misusing their supernatural powers.

The first scene of the film demonstrates some excellent fx when the teacher throws a piece of chalk at a student and it stops in mid air due to the student's powers.

When they introduced the students at the school I liked the different sports clubs and how they were in conflict with each other.

There is also an excellent fight scene between the new arrival and the 'top student' which I won't ruin by explaining any more of.

The rest of the story follows a power struggle within the school management and the conspiracy theory it involves, which of course involves lots of people getting their arses kicked especially by the five new teachers who are brought in to restore order - they have supernatural powers.

Some people have compared this film to the Matrix but I think that's selling this film a bit short - did the Matrix have a character running through a rainstorm and then have all the droplets stop in mid air? Where there so many funky hairstyles? The supernatural fighting teachers are also orignal too.

The second film I saw tonight Avalon, was one I was most looking forward to in the festival, but I was disappointed that they managed to stuff it up AGAIN and show a print that didn't have subtitles. I know they have to rush in prints at the last minute, but after what happened last week I would have expected someone to at least get out a magnifying glass and check for subtitles on the film itself.

This film is about a futuristic video game called Avalon which is a retreat from the depressing world for young people. It is also illegal as people have been rendered brain dead from playing it.

It is a war game and the highest rank in the game is Class A, which the main character, Ash is. However, players are always looking for a way to get ahead in the game. The problem with the game is that when you die you are 'reset' and lose your ranking, so players have been looking for information on how to join the mysterious Class S ranking of game master which removes the possibility of this happening.

Even though I couldn't understand the dialog (there wasn't much of it anyway), I could appreciate the excellent photography, the futuristic setting, high technology used in the game (in the future people still use green screens) and the music.

I understand there were meant to be a lot of serious messages conveyed by this film, even from the limited amount I could comprehend minus the dialog.

A first for me at the festival was having to run between screenings. I've had two different screenings at different venues before, but due to delays the films screened later tonight.

My last film for the night was The Princess Blade. Set in future Japan where the country has been closed off to the outside world for 500 years, the country has reverted to feudalism and a band of assasins for hire roam the countryside killing anyone they are paid to.

The story follows Yuki who on her 20th birthday finds out her leader in the assassins murdered her mother. The rest of the story follows how Yuki has to fight to survive as the group does not allow people to leave.

A very stylish samaruai film which has lots of excellent swordfight scenes. There is some blood, but not as much as other films in the genre I have seen. The only thing that seemed a bit out of place was the terrorist sub-plot as it didn't really go anywhere. Still an excellent film with the right amount of action and dramatic moments.