Berserk Golden Age Arc III: Descent [Review]

How would you rate this movie?

  • *****

    Votes: 18 12.8%
  • ****

    Votes: 31 22.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 28 19.9%
  • **

    Votes: 32 22.7%
  • *

    Votes: 32 22.7%

  • Total voters
    141
Walter said:
Where do you want to begin...?
I really don't know what you mean. Unless there was something in the audio I didn't understand since I don't speak Japanese. All we got was the one picture of him, then we saw the branded corpses in the pit. It seemed more or less consistent with what we saw in the manga.
 

Walter

Administrator
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Heisenberg said:
I really don't know what you mean. Unless there was something in the audio I didn't understand since I don't speak Japanese. All we got was the one picture of him, then we saw the branded corpses in the pit. It seemed more or less consistent with what we saw in the manga.
Ah, I thought you meant for the whole movie... But in that scene , they make Gaiseric's eyes glow in a blatant way to make him similar to Skull Knight. Pretty gross and unnecessary--like a lot of the changes.
 
One Thing I noted was that although the child soldier would have been a nice addition to the road of corpses scene I like the fact that Julius and Gennon were shown in that scene. Overall I liked this movie despite a few hijinks
 
Walter said:
Ah, I thought you meant for the whole movie... But in that scene , they make Gaiseric's eyes glow in a blatant way to make him similar to Skull Knight. Pretty gross and unnecessary--like a lot of the changes.
Yea I felt like they were tryingt o spoon feed the Skull Knight connection to the audience. More than anything else it pissed me off that they skipped the birth of the demon baby, they could have easily tacked another 10 minutes on to the movie for that.

And is nobody else going to comment on Guts already have the Slan scar on his chest?
 
I don't think I've seen anyone say yet thats watched the film mention Godot. I know we assumed he probably wouldn't be in it judging from the info that we did know about the movie theater release in Japan, but I was just curious if someone who has seen it could elaborate on how they tell the story of Guts training and getting the Dragon slayer and armor with out him.
 
I didn't find the eyes to be that terrible. I would be interested in knowing what they omitted or changed from Gaiseric's story. I'm not terribly fluent in Japanese but what I did understand seemed pretty close to what I remembered from the manga. I certainly could have missed something.

The scar on Guts' chest was just another in a long line of lazy errors in this series.
 
tama chan said:
I don't think I've seen anyone say yet thats watched the film mention Godot. I know we assumed he probably wouldn't be in it judging from the info that we did know about the movie theater release in Japan, but I was just curious if someone who has seen it could elaborate on how they tell the story of Guts training and getting the Dragon slayer and armor with out him.
He's not in it sadly, we see Erica though. Basically we get nothing from the time Guts is on his own, when he wakes up and see's how damaged Casca is he runs off and the movie ends when he's killing spirits with the Skull Knight's sword. Then after the credits we see him suiting up as the Black Swordsman and walking off into the mist with the Dragonslayer.
 

Deci

Avatar by supereva01 @ DA
Haven't seen it yet but am really just hoping the Eclipse is done well. Sad to hear Judo's last words are omitted. I'd think the fanservice there would've called for that at least. =/

Also Guts/Casca's love scene not being faithful oddly really really angers, above all else. I'm sure I'll find much more to be upset with but for now that's the big one for me for some reason.

This fuckin' studio, I swear.

Heisenberg said:
The scene with SK and Zodd is fantastic, although we don't get to see the whole fight. Not that we ever actually get to see them fight in the manga anyway. They always exchange one or two blows, then it cuts to a different panel with Rickert or [size=16pt]Grunbeld remarking on the epic battle we're missing...
Uh... what?
 
Deci said:
Haven't seen it yet but am really just hoping the Eclipse is done well. Sad to hear Judo's last words are omitted. I'd think the fanservice there would've called for that at least. =/

Also Guts/Casca's love scene not being faithful oddly really really angers, above all else. I'm sure I'll find much more to be upset with but for now that's the big one for me for some reason.

This fuckin' studio, I swear.

Uh... what?
What Darkhorse calls the dragon guy, I don't use the Japanese names, not familiar with em all and can't keep track.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
More cohesive review soon, and we will be talking about it on the podcast. For now:

Good:
  • I liked the music played when child Griffith visits him in the wagon. First music in this project that sounded period appropriate.
  • Certain moments are very pretty, including the "piling bodies" scene; outside the Eclipse.
  • I really liked the sound of SK's voice, and his fight with Zodd was kinda neat...?
  • The black and white scene as the dead Falcons departed was well done. Certainly helped that it reminded me of a certain scene in Dark Souls, hehe.

Bad:
  • Silat turned into a pure evil henchman with no unique characterization. Duel with Guts lasts 36 seconds. Better to have not included him.
  • Sloppy editing in first few sequences--Ex: Carcus still talking to Guts as the scene fades into Guts and Casca at the waterfall.
  • Gaiseric scene too heavily underscores the similarity between SK and him--same blade, glowing eyes and all. Originally, Guts makes that inference. Here, it's simply laid out on a plate. Lame.
  • Violin music is really out of place in the Griffith discovery scene. An otherwise brutal scene almost comes across as comedic as a result.
  • In the new escape sequence, Guts and Pippin are waving around Falcon shields and banners as they make their escape. Wasn't this supposed to be a covert mission...?
  • Carcus doesn't break his sword, so there's no punctuation to the scene. It just ends with them crying. Utter failure.
  • "隊長! 隊長. 隊長!! 隊長... 隊長! 隊長. 隊長!" Makes sense on the page. Looks hilarious on the screen.
  • Casca pushes Griffith off her, then makes Griffith shamble in the air like a zombie? What is this garbage?
  • Beherit acts like a wind-up-toy before exploding like an FF7 summon.
  • The eclipse is blue.
  • The old woman/Conrad & Ubik is portrayed as far too manipulative and literal instead of casual, mischievous
  • Omission of my other favorite scene, Void talking about the "cruel grace of the god made by man," and "if that castle still burns bright in your eyes." Instead, it jumps to the brand.
  • Carcus' death shown on-screen, finally confirming that he didn't just run off and marry that xenomorph apostle. Case closed, you guys!
  • Judo's final line robbed.
  • Casca doesn't go down fighting.
  • SK slaughtering apostles was neat, but not nearly as cool as it should have been. No signature upside-down slash. Just a mosh pit of violence, where he's not even on screen most of the time. A huge missed opportunity for the medium.
  • The eclipse is still blue.
  • The implied apostle apocalypse during the "age of darkness" scene (Rochine's appearance).
  • No Godot. A needless omission given the brevity of the final scene.

Ugly:
  • Guts' "OH Face" during love scene. Cumming rainbows.
  • The all-CG actor after party following the rescue.
  • The sly grin on Griffith's face during "sasageru" ruins my favorite scene in the series. He's shown as sinister, instead of pleased We've had talks about the subtlety and meaning in that expression. Instead, it's merely the look of a villain. Way to ruin Berserk, guys. (Comparisons 1 and 2)
  • Griffith's descending scene is straight out of the star gate sequence in 2001. Previous reviewers simply saying "cavemen" just scratches the surface: He has knowledge over all time and space, cell mitosis, other galaxies, all human history. The most fanfictionalized portion of the movie.
  • And the most egregious failure of the movie: Guts *surprises* Femto? Really? Femto has to use his power to subvert Guts' effort? Utterly absurd fan service.
  • What's with the shuffling-motion sex animation? Happens with both Guts and Femto. Seriously, these guys fuck like I clap. I'm docking points.
  • Slan's wound comes early. Did she get a hit in off screen?
  • No demon child? Unforgivable.
  • Ending credits final image: Falcon and Dog. Real subtle, guys.

This movie made me like Berserk less. 1 star.
 
I think some of you guys are being a little extreme in the hate of the series. Even a complete bastardization of Berserk is better than half of the other stuff our there. Skull Knight's attack on the Eclipse is good, but not awesome enough so it's bad? C'mon... The animation and action sequences alone here are worth more than 1 star.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Heisenberg said:
I think some of you guys are being a little extreme in the hate of the series. Even a complete bastardization of Berserk is better than half of the other stuff our there.
What other stuff? Other Berserk adaptations? Or are you talking about Naruto movies? I'm grading this as a movie about Berserk on its own merit, as a fan of Berserk.

Skull Knight's attack on the Eclipse is good, but not awesome enough so it's bad? C'mon... The animation and action sequences alone here are worth more than 1 star.

SK's in there somewhere, and I bet the animation is killer!

As for why I lumped it into Bad, I felt it was pretty self explanatory--he's off camera too often, with most action being implied rather than shown. So, the bad outweighed the good.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Heisenberg said:
Yea I felt like they were tryingt o spoon feed the Skull Knight connection to the audience.
It's just completely stupid, too. The manga actually shows Gaiseric's human eye (as he was human then, without glowing eyes), so that goes directly against it.

Heisenberg said:
And is nobody else going to comment on Guts already have the Slan scar on his chest?
I haven't seen the movie yet, but honestly I don't even know what to tell you man... It just makes me sad.

Heisenberg said:
I think some of you guys are being a little extreme in the hate of the series. Even a complete bastardization of Berserk is better than half of the other stuff our there.
Those movies lessen the series by sullying its name, story, characters, themes.

You know, even looking at your own review, you almost only mention dreadfully bad things about the movie, and yet your general outlook is relatively positive. That's where the inconsistency is to me.
 
I found the film to be very average. There are very few scenes that got me excited and even those were riddled with problems of being poorly cut or short lived. The scene with SK and Zodd just seemed really empty, it's nice to see a fight between them being animated, but it could have been done so much better. How it ended was also really abrupt, I was hoping to see Guts wield the DS for the first time, but without introducing Godo they really put themselves into a corner :judo:

Nope, not impressed.
 
Aazealh said:
You know, even looking at your own review, you almost only mention dreadfully bad things about the movie, and yet your general outlook is relatively positive. That's where the inconsistency is to me.
I wasn't trying to make the film seem better than it was. I didn't think I skipped over any of the negatives, besides maybe the part where Guts almost stabs Femto, which I really just forgot to mention as I was typing it out. Perhaps I did focus more on the things that I liked rather than the things I didn't, but that's just because I enjoyed the film. I wouldn't put it anywhere near the same level as the manga, but I never expected it to be. I don't think it was a masterpiece, but I wouldn't call it a travesty either. I certainly wasn't trying to put a dishonest spin on my review.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Heisenberg said:
I wasn't trying to make the film seem better than it was. I didn't think I skipped over any of the negatives, besides maybe the part where Guts almost stabs Femto, which I really just forgot to mention as I was typing it out. Perhaps I did focus more on the things that I liked rather than the things I didn't, but that's just because I enjoyed the film.
I think you misread what I wrote. I meant that your review actually mentioned a lot of bad things, things that would totally break the movie for me, but that in spite of all those bad points your final take on it seems, to me, surprisingly forgiving.
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
Heisenberg said:
Then after the credits we see him suiting up as the Black Swordsman and walking off into the mist with the Dragonslayer.
So they almost ended it the same way the old anime ended it. Blackswordsman leaving in the mist... but this time without Godot. That's sad.. They could at least shown the pig apostle...
 
Aazealh said:
You know, even looking at your own review, you almost only mention dreadfully bad things about the movie, and yet your general outlook is relatively positive. That's where the inconsistency is to me.
I noticed this as well =/ The justification isn't there. There are lots of reviews like this on here across all 3 movies.
 
I didn't plan watching this movie at all, but at the end I looked it up online only to watch the Guts vs. Silat fight, and I'm very disappointed :sad:

The thing that bugged me the most was that he tried to fight back even after his turban was cut off. Wtf. I always thought that that was the moment when he decided to leave, because it was humiliating for him. We haven't really seen Baakiraka men exposing their hair, they always either covered their heads or were bald, that's why I always thought that having their turban removed was something that's not supposed to happen...

I gave 3 stars but I feel like I was too generous...
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Gill said:
I didn't plan watching this movie at all, but at the end I looked it up online only to watch the Guts vs. Silat fight, and I'm very disappointed :sad:

The thing that bugged me the most was that he tried to fight back even after his turban was cut off. Wtf. I always thought that that was the moment when he decided to leave, because it was humiliating for him. We haven't really seen Baakiraka men exposing their hair, they always either covered their heads or were bald, that's why I always thought that having their turban removed was something that's not supposed to happen...

I gave 3 stars but I feel like I was too generous...
If you only watched the first 10 minutes of the movie, rating it isn't very appropriate.
 

nomad

"Bring the light of day"
So... In the end we were right on the sudden cut straight to the sneaking in Griffith rescue scene. Well, at least they didn't just mention Charlotte for helping them eh? The facial expressions played a huge role in this film. Both for good and bad. We can choose about 50+ scenes that this trilogy missed the core personality of most characters, but when they (finally) hit a right note? It works well. I'm referring to Griffith's rude awakening scene that really stood out in a good way (for once). Though I can see people not agreeing with me, for a moment I truly felt Griffith's despair as he flaps his arms into the water. Another would be Casca's facial expression at the beginning of the Eclipse. And speaking of the Eclipse...

What's with the music?! I never thought I would bring myself to compare both new and old anime... But I truly missed Hirasawa in the entire sequence. We however get to enjoy a mix between random genres that really throws off the atmosphere as a whole. New genre? Vortex Jazz!

It saddens me how low these films have gotten. I have no clue on what this company is trying to accomplish, but it's not working for me. If there was ever hope of a better animated Berserk version than the 1st one? These people made sure this didn't happen in my lifetime. Thanks Studio 4c!

Walter, loved your review btw.
 
So I just saw Berserk: Descent last night.

While there was some atmospheric stuff I liked about it and a few individual scenes that were well handled, overall I wasn’t very impressed.

First I’ll get the music and animation out of the way. The score in this film goes from bland to just distractingly bad. I much preferred the music from the previous two installments. The music in the dungeon as they rescue Griffith ruins the mood of the scene, a scene that would’ve been far more effective with no score at all. The music during the getaway chase sounded a hell of a lot like the theme from the first film played in reverse. The music during the eclipse was bland compared to the very moody and effective “Murder” from the anime. And then Beethoven for the rape, which was interesting but distracting. Weird, weird choices.

Animation wise there are some solid improvements in the 2D animations. No more odd expressions like Guts at the dance, and generally very fluid work. This 2D animation work and the beautiful backgrounds were often the best thing about movie. They give off a great atmosphere and realism. Best yet, they avoided the Super Mario jumps that had me groaning in the first two films. This aspect was a solid improvement.

3D animation is a mixed bag. I think it works great during most of the eclipse. The environment and the apostles feel appropriate. But when they have close up to medium shots of CG extras… it’s uncanny valley. This is especially bad after the hawks are celebrating after the castle chase as Corcus and some soulless dolls cheer their successful rescue. Also a major offender is the soul blob that visits Griffith in his cell. This thing looks like Beast Wars. It’s atrocious.

Now that the technical is out of the way, how was story? Well how about rushed and badly paced. There are bits that feel like they take their time such as the scenes of despair after the hawks learn about Griffith and Griffith runs away to the lake. Much of the Eclipse feels right. The opening and rescue feel terribly rushed though. It’s especially weird with the long fight and love scene between Casca and Guts jammed between a very abbreviated Silat fight and dungeon rescue / chase that’s set a breakneck speed. And the ending is as terrible as I predicted. Long and without punch.

We barely see the tower of Rebirth from the outside, we just suddenly are inside it after we meet the princess. Other than the distracting music, the dungeon scene is fairly well done, including Guts losing it. But as soon as he kills the soldiers on the stairs, we jump to the rescue party getting shelter from some random Midlander in the city. I guess he gives them a horse and cart. And we’re off on a very different chase than the anime or manga.

They have to make it through the city gates in a creative way involving Gaston and some shields on the end of spears. Then they are pursued by maybe fifty knights on the road while avoiding raining arrows. One general annoyance I’ve always had with these films is the superhuman ability of all the Hawks to easily deflect arrows with their swords. That’s ridiculous, why not just use a shield? Anyway Guts and Pippin fall back to delay the knights in a nice nod to their stand against the Black Dog knights. It’s pretty anticlimactic though. Corcus saves the day with his archers and blah blah blah.

It was a better pursuit than the anime, but I was sorely disappointed that Wyald wasn’t included. This felt way too easy for the Hawks and I never felt like there was any real danger. I mean we just established that Guts can singlehandedly kill 100 soldiers, so why are fifty knights going to look like an obstacle?

Anyway, then we have an added scene in a woods where Wyald should have been. The Hawks are ignorant to Griffiths condition and Guts has a nice scene with Griffith in which he puts armor on him (which disappears in the next scene.) Casca realizes what this means for the Hawks and we cut to the despair scene in the meadow where she tells everyone that Griffith is finished. The Hawks never see his broken body, and a lot of impact and humiliation are lost. Grrr.

Wagon scenes are pretty intact. Griffith’s vision of chasing the boy is well done. No dream of Griffith being cared for by Casca in a cottage, but I think that’s okay for pacing reasons. Lake scene is extremely well done until the behelit activates. It makes dub step noises and shoots psychedelic lights. Ugh.

Blue Eclipse world is different, but I’m okay with it. It feels a lot more dead and decrepit with dust and cobwebs. It feels like the space hasn’t been used since that last God Hand ascended. For me, this gets a pass because it varies the look of a scenery that is largely unchanging for an hour and splits up the sequence once the brand is activated. After that we get the red world we know and love. I do think overall that things are too bright. The atmosphere of the original anime and the manga have a lot more shadows in them and I always found that really effective. It’s not bad though.

Voids brain looks too small, but otherwise I love the God Hand. Ubik makes a stupid bubbly noise as he flies. The alter is pretty great and Griffith’s temptation seems well done, but I’d agree with Walter that the old seamstress lady is a bit too manipulative. A very nice touch to add Julius and Gennon to the scene as corpses he’s piled up. I miss the boy though. That set up always made me feel that Griffith did what he did not out of pure ambition, but because he knew that if he stopped that his men’s deaths would be for nothing. It’s the difference between a mustache-twirling villain to a sympathetic tragic figure.

Anyway, he says the words and the fist closes. As Walter says, they fucked up the most meaningful last look that Guts and Griffith will share. He’s an asshole in this version.

Apostles have a very abbreviated transformation but are pretty awesome. And the slaughter is horrifying. Really brutal stuff that doesn’t feel “cool” but is actually disturbing. Kudos for that. Pippin gets his proper death. Judea’s is changed slightly. He no longer gets attacked on horseback with his arm getting bitten. Instead they ride off, cut away, and cut back to his horse tripping and throwing them off. There is no horse-eating apostle, their horse just trips. Very stupid.

The apostle that gets him is somehow too well lit. It looks stupid in the light. Anyway his death hits all the right beats except for his “you cry a lot” line. He does have an internal monologue of what I assume are his feelings for her. Not terrible, but they could’ve added the last line with minimal effort.

Casca gets grabbed without a fight, and the implied Apostle rape is completely absent. The next time we see her, she’s being lowered before Femto, already naked. Guts does not go on a rampage to save her before the tentacle apostle can lower her onto his spikey head. Another needless omission that would’ve helped ramp the suspense before Femto was born.

Speaking of which, lets talk about Femto’s weird dream. I liked it, but it is completely non-canon. He’s seeing the cosmos and cell mitosis, Rome burning, cave men… Not sure what was said but I imagine it’s to show how much of a god he is now. Also a lot of psychedelic colors that felt really out of place. This should be dark and creepy not like Tron.

If I don’t mention Guts in any of this it’s because I felt like most of what they did with him worked well up to Femto. His fight with the apostles feels right and the lake of blood is just creepy. The Pippin fake out with the Count is also pretty nasty.

Then Femto appears. Good animation, I’ll say that. And yes, he kind of roars, which is stupid. He flies down to Guts, who’s arm is not bitten at this point. Casca is lowered before him and he starts fondling her, and Guts just stands there confused for what seems like fifteen seconds. Femto even has time to start alternating his technique before Guts charges and gets his arm bitten. Makes Guts seem pretty daft. Anyway, the rape is long and more graphic than the anime, but much, much tamer than the manga. Guts tearing his arm off is disgusting and very well done.

The bit that everyone seems to be mentioning is Femto’s force push of Guts. It actually didn’t bother me as much as some. He basically freezes Guts in the air just before Guts gets to him and continues to rape Casca. Guts pushes slowly toward him and Femto telekinetically throws him back. Guts recovers, tries again, and the apostles hold him down. To me it shows the power of Femto, and since it seems that the Black Swordsman Arc isn’t going to happen, it may be a nod to the encounter that Guts has with Femto in that arc, force push and all. It’s a bit weird but it works.

Then Skully shows up and is awesome. Attacks Void awesomely, slices and dices apostles awesomely. It’s a little different than the manga but it works and looks impressive. Femto tries to kill him just like the manga, and lets him go when he sees Guts.

Outside we have a Puck cameo with the circus people as flying apostle start flying around. Wait, what?

Anyway Guts wakes up in the cave. This is all fairly faithful and well done as is his run away through the woods. Then we get the field scene with the evil specters who look like ghosts from ghost busters. Guts tries really hard to punch them. Skully shows up and Guts gets his sword and starts killing ghosts in a deeply dissatisfying way. They just kinda wink out of existence and it seems like guts is shadow boxing for five minutes. Then it’s sunrise, with a really long shot pulling away from the grass. Roll Credits.

It goes on for what feels like twenty five minutes after Skully rescued them. No demon child. Terribly anticlimactic ending. The Pig apostle would have felt so much more natural. Guts’s first step on a quest for revenge. Instead the Black swordsman gear up scene sucks and it’s AFTER the credits. And it’s followed by a shitty music video.

Oh yeah, Rickert shows up at the Eclipse tornado out of the blue. Did the Hawks ditch him? And the Skull Knight fight with Zodd? Meh. I’m glad it’s there, but that’s about all I can say for it. And Zodd is absent when they get out of the vortex, which leads viewers to speculate whether he was killed.

Overall, this film was horribly directed, shoddily edited, but despite this manages to grasp a handful of good scenes. Some nice animation and often very moody, but the good will they earn is often ruined by baffling choices of music and rushed editing. It goes through the motions on the story in a perfunctory way often times. Yes, most of the Eclipse events happened, but not in a way that felt like the person in charge really cared.

It’s a better set up for a continued series due to SK. That being said the anime is superior in every way other than some of its animation. Very disappointed in the missed opportunity.

Next up, watching the R18 version. Because apparently I’m a masochist that hopes there’s some small improvement.
 
Sadly I am out on a work trip and won't be back to watch it till around Sunday. What everyone is saying isn't giving me to much confidence in it though.
 
Aazealh said:
I think you misread what I wrote. I meant that your review actually mentioned a lot of bad things, things that would totally break the movie for me, but that in spite of all those bad points your final take on it seems, to me, surprisingly forgiving.
Oh I see, yea I misread what you were saying.
 
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