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  • Bionicle: The Legend Reborn
    • Bionicle: The Legend Reborn
    • Runtime:80 min
    • Release Date:2014-09-19 17:47:49
    • Director: Mark Baldo
    • Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation, Sci-Fi
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Bionicle: The Legend Reborn
Auhtor:

   

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me begin with saying I'm a Bionicle fan, which means this movie was
a must-see for me. I hoped the new film company, working closely
together with the Bionicle Story Team could present us a movie that
feels more consistent, well put together, more "Bionicle" than the
first three, and less like chunks of different stories mixed together
with LEGO sets as characters. But after seeing it, I can't help but
think… were these guys really the best choice to make it? Lets break
it down:

Liked:

Animation was, overall, superior to the previous movies'. The amount of
texture given to the characters and objects is fascinating. The
landscapes are varied and nice. In fact the only ones I felt turned out
bad was Roxtus, village of the Skrall, and a shot of Vulcanus. The
movements of the characters are done well, a little overdone and stiff
at times, but not terrible.

Voices and performances were good, I won't go into detail. Some voices
may take a while to get used to (could be the writing), but they're not
bad.

Sorta like:

Storyline is easy to follow, takes time to explain itself, and not
always in a dumbed-down way. Some things, like the lab of the Great
Beings are not fully explored, and the ending is left wide open. The
characters are mostly one or two dimensional. The movie is however
noteworthy for having Mata Nui as its main character, who is
undoubtedly one of the most central and important characters in
Bionicle, and this is the first time we ever get to know him better.
Beetle Click is a welcomed addition to the cast.

Disliked:

Humor. It's good for a story that tends to take itself too seriously at
times. However the movie doesn't balance it well. None of the jokes are
really funny or witty, even though there are a couple of running gags.
A large chunk of it is slapstick, accompanied with cartoon sound
effects that sound totally out of place. Other sound effects could also
have used more creativity. A Godzilla roar here, a Wilhelm scream
there, all generic stock effects.

Background Agori are indistinguishable, as every member of a tribe
share one basic model. In crowd scenes, you only get to hear a handful
of them actually saying something.

The music. There are a couple of nice tunes and even an ongoing theme,
but I felt the movie was too "silent". It doesn't hold a candle, not
even a flicker to the beautiful musical tracks of the first three
movies.

Introduction. Bad animation, storyline inconsistencies. The Mata Nui
robot looks like something out of a video game, and it moves way too
swiftly for its size. The sequence has already been animated by another
company, for web-release, and that was miles better.

Overall direction: I know this encompasses a lot of things, but it left
much to be desired. Camera angles are dull, most of the scenes look
uninspired, feelings are hardly conveyed to the viewer… the movie
just doesn't flow well. It feels dry and empty.

Hated:

Portrayal of the villains. The Skrall, the most ruthless gang of
Spartan-styled men in armor, the unbeatable army that relentlessly
tried to crush the villages under its feet (they do plunder a village,
off-screen)… they're basically worthless as anything other than
cannon fodder. One strike sends them flying, and I don't remember them
landing a single blow on any of the good guys, at least one that would
cause damage. They even make chicken-like sounds, instead of talking,
how could they screw them up so bad? The Elite Skrall are no better.

The Bone Hunters, the same. Feared, powerful, brutal nomadic thieves,
this is the way they're introduced. In the movie, they come off as…
pretty much a gang of incapable goofs.

And Tuma. They dedicate a whole web-serial to this supposedly great and
fearless leader, make us care about him and his tribe. Here, he comes
off as a total show-off, spouting how he is the "great and mighty
Tuma", but in fact does nothing to prove it. His big fight starts with
his opponent, Mata Nui, simply walking up to him. He says some cheesy
lines, knocks him over, shows him an opening, gets hit in the back,
then collapses. What an anti-climatic way to put an end to the main
foe. No suspense, nothing exciting, no tension. The fact that half of
the fight is explained by Berix and Kiina doesn't help.

Wait, he isn't the main villain. It's the traitor, who takes control
over Tuma's army (not explained how). I felt he was a nice addition to
the evil side, his identity being a secret for most of the movie, but I
would have liked to see better fighting skills from "his" army. He is
the only bad guy in the movie that I feel got treated respectfully, and
the only one who I feel gets what he deserves. I didn't think Tuma
deserved such a painful and rushed death-scene, for we hadn't actually
seen what made him so evil. (fear not, he isn't really dead, but the
movie neglects to mention that particular detail)

All things considered, this movie didn't reach my expectations. It is
nice and tight in its first two thirds. Then it falls apart, and the
ending feels rushed and slow at the same time. I would have loved if
the movie continued in its pace and didn't "force" such a lousy ending
on us, or even if the final fight was decent. However, as mentioned,
there are other things that made it fundamentally flawed.

The knowledge that there won't be a sequel saddens me, since the plot
never got tied up. This movie would have worked better as a pilot. But
since it would never get a follow-up, it can simply be forgotten.

Bionicle goes out without a bang.

|||

Mata Nui, the great god of the Matorans has been betrayed and stripped
of his power. Cast out into the universe, the once powerful deity must
now fend for himself as a mere mortal in the barren lands of Bara
Magna. there he would face untold dangers, make new comrades, and
launch his quest to return to his homeworld and rescue his lost people.

I loved the premise. It is a classic "fall of a king" story coupled
with an almost Greek epic styled hero's journey. The story is easy
enough to follow, straightforward and with little twists. (there is
actually only one twist, but it didn't really catch me by surprise).
The creative team manages to throw in an ideal mix of seriousness and
fun, with some really good comedy moments involving Mata Nui's
inexperience in dealing with Bara Magna inhabitants and adjusting to
his new life. A real treat for the whole family to enjoy.

Despite their rather inhuman appearance, I found the characters in this
show very appealing and easy to relate to. Granted, some of them may
come across as cardboard cutout stock characters from a Saturday
morning cartoon, but the very professional level of the acting and a
well written script makes up for the perceived lack of character
development. Special mention goes to Star Trek: The Next Generation's
Michael Dorn(Worf) who nails the role of Mata Nui head on, maintaining
a regal air of importance while infusing realistic believability into
every spoken line.

No complains as well about the overall look of the show. The character
designs are intricately detailed and the movements are fluid. I could
not help but be reminded of the robot designs in the live action
Transformers movies(of course, Bionicle came before the Transformers
movie.) Of course the quality of the CGI in this show is not up to
Pixar's standards but it is easily one of the best i've seen in direct
to DVD CGI animated movies. Even the gears and turning parts on each
character are fully animated and everything is given a dirty gritty
look.

Now Bionicle The Legend Reborn may attract viewers by its entertaining
story, script, fabulous acting and great graphics, but it would be
REALLY HARD for viewers to actually "jump in". For one thing, the movie
seems to require some familiarity of the bionicle universe. For casual
animation movie fans like me, there just wasn't enough backstory. Is
this supposed to be a sequel? or a prequel? Or maybe even a reboot? A
small booklet or featurette in the DVD to explain the Bionicle
backstory would have benefited the majority of viewers who might not be
familiar with the Bionicle brand.

Secondly, I have to sadly admit that the fine looking CGI graphics feel
kinda wasted on some terrible scene directing; this is the part where
this movie suffers the most. Mark Baldo(whose only other directing
credit is a couple of episodes of a TV series called "Father of the
Pride") is the director here and his camera work can only be described
as "LAZY". Most of the fight scenes are unusually static, as if i'm
watching a documentary and not a fight scene in a movie. There is
hardly any dramatic effect or intensity conveyed with his lackluster
"matter of fact" directing style which leads to some very boring action
sequences.

Music was relatively mediocre; sounded like standard dramatic animation
movie fare but there were a couple of themes that stood out. The
opening theme in particular had just the right epic feel to go with the
story. Sound effects could have also been better. Right now, the sound
effects come across as too "light", giving a sense of weightlessness to
the characters. Tech Specs on the Bionicle wikipedia says that the Bara
Magna characters are around 7 feet tall. But those light sounding sound
effects and lack of a heavier bass make them seem like only 7 inches
tall. Swords clashing sound like toys hitting each other, rocks
crumbling down a slope sound like pebbles; that sort of thing.

All in all, Bionicle The Legend Reborn is a valiant attempt at bringing
Bionicle once again into the animation DVD market. However, i don't
think that this movie would be able to impress anyone but the kids and
the hardcore Bionicle fans. Whats more is that there was hardly any
publicity about this show prior to its release. Maybe it might attract
some Star Trek fans thanks to Michael Dorn's awesome performance. It
would not impress and might not even win many new fans, but it sure as
hell will be able to entertain. At least until the "hinted-at" sequel
comes around.

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