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
Deci said:
Some shading over the nether regions, more audio options, and what I think is pretty cool J-Rock music video after the credits, are present in the R-15. The music video is what makes the R-15 longer I believe.
That is correct. Just watched it last night. The only difference is the lack of the music video and that the shadows that were hiding nudity are gone. Seems like a Japan's MPAA equivalent requested fairly minor changes. This is no 'Director's Cut.' I shudder at the thought of what that might have entailed.
 

Viral Harvest

Every Knee Bent Too Shall Break
Deci said:
This sentiment really leaves me scratching my head. I am honestly not totally against allowing someone to watch the '97 TV series as an introduction (as long as they follow it up with the manga, which it does a good job of ensuring typically) if they absolutely refuse to give Berserk a thorough chance via it's far superior print format, but I would NEVER allow someone to watch this trilogy as one. It's so horrendously off-the-mark that it sort of embarrasses me in some ways. If nothing else in the TV series, they at least look like the characters, have a soundtrack that is pretty spot-on for the atmosphere, and touches on or attempts to follow accurately many of the themes needed for one to at least begin to understand why one might become enveloped by it.

These movies have more graphic violence, some nice looking action sequences, and 3D (debatable +/-). Also this new project promised more animation, so it's entirely possible people will never follow it up with the manga at some point. Quite a disappointing prospect imo.
Truth be told, I don't exactly hold the '97 anime nor the trilogy in the highest regard. Even though, the '97 anime is what initially introduced me to Berserk some 10-11 years ago and served as a segway for me to get into the manga. To me, it's just the difference between a turd and a turd sprinkled with golden flakes. I think I was just excited to see some of the elements and characters that were omitted from the '97 anime, even if they still weren't able to include everything faithful to the manga (as contradictory as that sounds)

I'm in no way championing the soundtrack for the trilogy, but I can't help but raise an eyebrow as to how songs like 'Forces' or 'Tell Me Why' are any more relevant? Again, turds and turds sprinkled with gold.
 
My Turn!!

I personally liked the first movie and felt really, really, REALLY disappointed by the second one. So I watched this one with little excitement or expectations. I won't be writing some huge detailed review as I think its been done enough. In short, it's very reminiscent of a Michael Bay movie. A lot of nice eye candy and action, but severely lacking in depth and character development.

The big three of Guts, Casca and Griffith are by this time very boring and flat characters. The supporting crew are just names and faces on screen as well. The thing is, save for a couple of changes here and there, what is shown from the beginning of the movie, to Guts waking up in the cave, could've passed as an average adaptation, had movies 1 and 2 done a much better job of adding meat to the story and characters. I wasn't surprised at what was cut, they could've done a lot worse. But by now with so much already taken away, they could've added Wyald, the Bakiraka, along with every other part of our wishlist and it still would've felt shallow.

The Eclipse itself was visually impressive and the animation has most certainly improved. But the icing means nothing if the cake tastes like crap.

Post-Eclipse sucked, period. I cringed when Casca ran away from Guts flailing her arms around in the air like an idiot. And even though I got the creeps when the evil spirits appeared, Guts just swinging Skull Knights sword around like a two year old was just plain silly. They cut the demon child, nuff said. Unless they plan to begin the next Movie/OVA/whatever, right were they left off and have the demon child be born then, it's beyond me why they'd cut him. Also the post credit Black Swordsman scene was useless.

"I'm gonna suit up with this random armor, which I apparently made with no prior experience because Godo doesn't exist in this version. Now I'm gonna plop this iron hand on, that just so happened to be here, lucky me. Then, just to top it off a little, I'm gonna grab this big ass sword, which you can't really tell is that big without knowing, and be on my merry way to presumably kill Griffith or Femto or whatever the hell he is now." Classic...............

I really couldn't bring myself to say that I liked it or that I hated it, it was just kinda "Eh." It was kinda like one of those movies you leave the theater and never watch or think about again unless your really bored.

As far as the whole Golden Age trilogy goes, IMO the best words to describe it would be disappointing and forgettable. For every good scene, there's one or two that negate it. Perhaps 4c screwed themselves by choosing a movie format and giving themselves not nearly enough screen time to adapt the story. But at the end of the day, they really bungled this thing up.

Should there be more after this? I don't know. If they said "Fuck it, we're just going to pretend the last three movies don't exist and make a concerted effort to stick with the source material. Along with firing our composer and paying Susumu Hirasawa a bazillion dollars to make the music." Then maybe I'd be interested. But if all I ever have is the first episode of the anime, then I wouldn't be to upset.
 
A few meh quality fansubs are starting to surface. One thing of note. Silat isn't as bad as he appears, he still gives Casca the opportunity to surrender and order her man to lay down their weapons. I think it's just his facial expressions that make him seem like a douche.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Viral Harvest said:
Truth be told, I don't exactly hold the '97 anime nor the trilogy in the highest regard. Even though, the '97 anime is what initially introduced me to Berserk some 10-11 years ago and served as a segway for me to get into the manga. To me, it's just the difference between a turd and a turd sprinkled with golden flakes.
Hmm, honestly, while I am (and have historically been) very critical of the TV series, I think all things considered these movies are on a lower level.

Viral Harvest said:
I'm in no way championing the soundtrack for the trilogy, but I can't help but raise an eyebrow as to how songs like 'Forces' or 'Tell Me Why' are any more relevant? Again, turds and turds sprinkled with gold.
I think you're a bit harsh on Forces here, though it's not the ultimate masterpiece some people have made it out to be over the years. Still, the TV series' OST has a lot of beautiful if unusual tunes that fit what was shown on screen and dare I say considerably enhanced the experience. And Hirasawa had been chosen by Miura himself.

JoeZeon said:
They cut the demon child, nuff said. Unless they plan to begin the next Movie/OVA/whatever, right were they left off and have the demon child be born then, it's beyond me why they'd cut him. Also the post credit Black Swordsman scene was useless.
*sigh* The thing is, at that point they'd cut so many things already that adding in the Demon Child at the very end wouldn't have changed much. Why that and not something else? Its omission fits the arbitrariness of the trilogy as a whole. Anyway, if they do animate a feature based on the Lost Children chapter, how much do you want to bet that they'll just skip the parts with the child? Or better yet, include him with no prior explanation whatsoever. They're not above that.

JoeZeon said:
I really couldn't bring myself to say that I liked it or that I hated it, it was just kinda "Eh." It was kinda like one of those movies you leave the theater and never watch or think about again unless your really bored.
Yeah I somewhat share the same sentiment. Maybe I'm just desensitized but it failed to elicit much of an emotion throughout the whole thing. Mostly I was embarrassed.

Heisenberg said:
Silat isn't as bad as he appears, he still gives Casca the opportunity to surrender and order her man to lay down their weapons. I think it's just his facial expressions that make him seem like a douche.
Well yeah, of course he does give her the opportunity to surrender. That's why he doesn't kill her outright and instead counts to 3... But his characterization is still particularly shitty overall man.
 
^Yeah. His little characteristics and kushan descent are just so pointless and bland. I bet it only confuse unfamiliars even more. Over-all I just got the feeling he only promoted the movie into further shallowness. "WOW LOOK AT ALL THOSE COOL WEAPONS!!! NEXT TIME THEY`LL PROBABLY SEND A SAMURAI AND A VIKING!!!"
 
I enjoyed the movie...it was good...but by god could it have been SOOOO much better!!!

It's incredible how not developing one scene in a movie that tackles the story of Berserk can be almost crippling to the entire plot. I am of course talking about the sex scene. The complete bastardization of that scene baffled me! It is the quintessential part of the Golden Age arc that makes the Eclipse so tragic and brilliant. Both the characters of Guts and Casca come to a bond together that solidifies their characters in both themes and their need for one another. Guts' rape, killing of his father, and inability to get close to people all come to a revelation in this scene. Casca's abandonment of being with Griffith and her troubles of being a woman in a man's world all get tackled in this moment. They give each other up to one another and show each others weaknesses. They fall in love and that is why it is so beautiful. BUT THE DAMN MOVIE FORGETS ALL THAT AND GIVES US A BARE BONES HOLLYWOOD BULLSHIT FUCKING SCENE THAT COMES OFF AS BEING ONLY THERE TO GET US VIEWERS HORNY!!!

Those reasons above are also what make the Eclipse so memorable. It is because Miura takes all those themes and completely turn them against Guts and Casca. Guts must witness his best friend take all those things he hates (stuff he believed he can finally get over) and uses it against him. The love of his life is raped and taken from him, his family is killed just like his father was, and he was unable to get his best friend to be alongside him. He was betrayed and left with nothing...more than nothing. The movie never gets to that feeling of complete despair due to the lack of development the Guts and Casca love scene was supposed to have.

You could nitpick the movie by comparing it to the manga, but this movie could have been amazing and brilliant if they had discussed those topics previously mentioned. The movie is good because the animation and CG were much better handled, and the eclipse is there in all its glory. But to see it falter in the missing of one very important scene hurts. It was just like the last movie which missed the campfire of dreams scene...in a movie that centered its theme around dreams :p The complete inclusion of the sex scene could have also partially redeemed many of the last 2 movies faults. A look and understanding of Guts' background for example. A clear understanding of what his childhood was like instead of that couple of seconds foggy flashback the first movie gave us. Also, the lack of complexity also made Casca come off as whiny. It made her seem as if she was useless without a man and she needed one in order to be complete, when in reality they both needed each other. God christ, I keep coming back to the same points...I guess that's just how mad I feel about all this. I think I'm gonna go take a breather by reading the manga and experiencing how it's really supposed to be like. LOL
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
IronBerserk said:
I enjoyed the movie...it was good...
...
THE DAMN MOVIE FORGETS ALL THAT AND GIVES US A BARE BONES HOLLYWOOD BULLSHIT FUCKING SCENE THAT COMES OFF AS BEING ONLY THERE TO GET US VIEWERS HORNY!!!
I really just don't understand...
 
I really just don't understand...
Didn't you read my final paragraph where I state that I found the animation and CG pretty good and the Eclipse was there in all its glory? The movie was mostly about the Eclipse and for the most part its all there. That is why I enjoyed it. I'm mad because it could have been amazing, but I ain't blind to the fact that I still enjoyed it.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
IronBerserk said:
Didn't you read my final paragraph where I state that I found the animation and CG pretty good and the Eclipse was there in all its glory? The movie was mostly about the Eclipse and for the most part its all there. That is why I enjoyed it. I'm mad because it could have been amazing, but I ain't blind to the fact that I still enjoyed it.
Yes, I read the whole thing. I quoted the part in caps because it sort of summarizes your post, and your frustrations. Throughout your entire review you complain about a fundamental flaw, yet still concluded that you enjoyed it. That's pretty confusing to me.

IronBerserk said:
I'm mad because it could have been amazing
Really...? A few more seconds with Guts and Casca at the waterfall would have been a cure-all for you and this movie? It sounds like the same argument made by movie 1 being "just a few minutes too brief!"
 
I don't remember hearing this in the movie podcast, but did they ever mention why Erica is living all alone if Godot isn't around? Just seems kind of weird to me..
 
tama chan said:
I don't remember hearing this in the movie podcast, but did they ever mention why Erica is living all alone if Godot isn't around? Just seems kind of weird to me..
I don't understand a lick of Japanese but I'm pretty sure I heard Erica mention Godot. Unfortunately, the studio felt it was unnecessary to include him even in the scene where Guts is gearing up as the black swordsman. They needed those extra seconds for their music video I'm sure. :schierke:
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Yeah they just name-drop him as if that were enough. Incomprehensible for newcomers, like so many other things.
 
Well I skipped more of the movie then I actually watched... The only scene that I thought that was good, was griffith in the lake just before the eclipse... And the quick show of bodies with the sacrifice brand on the bottom of the jail tower (forgot the name).
 

KazigluBey

Misanthrōpos
Well I expected a 1/5 and that's exactly what I got with this piece of shit movie. I think it may be the worst of the three. The eclipse was a complete joke. Griffith's transformation into Femto made no sense and the music accompanying all of this was so out of place. It's like they were going for some minimalist avant garde feel and it was just painful. The only good parts of this movie was SK showing what a badass he is. They should have given him 10 minutes of just killing apostles once he breaks in to save Guts and Casca. Even if it wouldn't have been cannon at least it would have been more entertaining than the rest of the film. But of course they couldn't do that so we get one good shot of SK going through apostles like a hot knife through butter and what could have been a good fight sequence between he and Zodd that lasted about 30 seconds.

Whoever was in charge of animating the faces should be taken out into the street and beaten. I've never seen such lackluster emotions on the faces of characters in an anime before. I don't care what anyone says, the studio and the people responsible for these films come across as complete amateurs and hacks. The proof is in the pudding, the shit pudding they call animation at their studio. I hope the future plans for this series go up in flames. I agree with Aaz that you can't call yourself a real Berserk fan if you don't have complete disdain for these films. Some company basically said open wide Berserk fans we are going to take a giant piss in your mouth not once but three times with much more down the road, and we know you'll not only go see the films but buy all of them like the good little obedient fools you are.

I hope someone puts up a montage of all SK's scenes and puts it on youtube because that's pretty much the only thing worth a repeat viewing. Better yet just make a gif of him cutting through those apostles as he rides down the arm. Him attacking void and then hacking through those first apostles is the only part of the series worth a damn. The eclipse from the anime series is miles above what they attempted to do in Descent. It might not have been as good as the Manga but at least you came away like someone took a baseball bat to your balls like the whole thing was intended to do. What was supposed to be a total mind fuck, one of the great moments in storytelling, became more of a fuck you to the fans.

Damn it Miura we need the real deal. :mozgus:
 
I've been really disappointed with these movies. The animation has been... well bad. The scene with Corkus and the Hawks being enlightened on the situation with Griffith is a good example. The soldiers have cloned animations as well as models, then Corkus falls on his knees at a rate of 12 FPS. Isn't this shit pre-rendered? All of the backgrounds looked amazing though. I wish they would stick with hand-drawn actors on top of rendered backgrounds and objects. Music, sound effects and voice actors seemed to be the strongest part of the film.

There were a lot of scenes I wish they had included: Zodd's assist on Doldrey, Bonfire of dreams, Guts' adventures sans Hawks, Skull Knight rescuing Rickert from Rosine and the Count, Wyald, etc. It just feels like they pulled out all the scenes that involved character development. But don't worry! They made sure we didn't miss Guts pumping away at Casca then finishing in just under a minute! All jokes aside, I'm glad they included Gaiseric's story as it's my favorite lore to Berserk. But instead of making it a foreshadowing of the eclipse they make it a blatant point that Skull Knight is Gaiseric. At least they remembered that Void has polydactyly.

This movie felt empty and rushed. Does anyone know how much of a hand Miura had in this? Were parts excluded or changed because they were retconned? Or did some bigwig make editorial cuts to help the flow? Either way, I wasn't very impressed. At least it made the anime look a lot better.

I'd be really interested to hear Olivier Hague's take on these movies.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
[quote author=Drone]
I'd be really interested to hear Olivier Hague's take on these movies.
[/quote]
I doubt it would surprise anyone here.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Drone said:
Does anyone know how much of a hand Miura had in this? Were parts excluded or changed because they were retconned?
I would warrant that Miura had very little if any say in this project, at least on that level. As for parts being excluded because they would have been officially retconned, well, it's just not how things work. The idea is ridiculous in and of itself.
 
Really...? A few more seconds with Guts and Casca at the waterfall would have been a cure-all for you and this movie? It sounds like the same argument made by movie 1 being "just a few minutes too brief!"
But it is such a fundamental moment and part of the entire Golden Age arc. In fact, it is exactly just as important as the Eclipse itself. So yes, if it was there in its entirety, the movie would be much more amazing...but that's just my opinion because I like how themes, symbolism, and emotions all come together in that one very important scene. If the movie had all those points (which it doesn't, in the slightest), then I would have been much happier :guts:. A story that comes together is key here, and they stripped a lot of that away. A much more valid point than "just a few minutes too brief", wouldn't you say?
 
[quote author=Aazealh]
I would warrant that Miura had very little if any say in this project, at least on that level. As for parts being excluded because they would have been officially retconned, well, it's just not how things work. The idea is ridiculous in and of itself.
[/quote]

Ah! Thanks for clearing that up. I guess I'm glad he probably wasn't? Who knows, maybe it would have been better if he were. I doubt it would have been a Golden Age series.

Sorry about the poor wording in the second question. I just assumed Miura played a larger role in the making of the film, and perhaps decided to change a few things since he's been working on it for so long. Though now that I think about it, retconning material from the manga through a movie is rather silly.

[quote author=IronBerserk]
But it is such a fundamental moment and part of the entire Golden Age arc. In fact, it is exactly just as important as the Eclipse itself. So yes, if it was there in its entirety, the movie would be much more amazing...but that's just my opinion because I like how themes, symbolism, and emotions all come together in that one very important scene. If the movie had all those points (which it doesn't, in the slightest), then I would have been much happier . A story that comes together is key here, and they stripped a lot of that away. A much more valid point than "just a few minutes too brief", wouldn't you say?[/quote]

I think Walter is just trying to understand why you think that part is such a "fundamental part of the entire Golden Age arc", and how adding a little more to that scene would have improved the movie overall. What are these themes, the symbolism, and emotions that are tied together by this scene?
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
IronBerserk said:
But it is such a fundamental moment and part of the entire Golden Age arc. In fact, it is exactly just as important as the Eclipse itself. So yes, if it was there in its entirety, the movie would be much more amazing...
There's something you don't understand here. This moment is pivotal and amazing because it is the culmination of various developments, be they character or story-related. If you remove those developments from the story, then this particular scene becomes hollow and meaningless. It's what happened here. So this scene could have never been "fixed" without first fixing everything else that came before it.
 

KazigluBey

Misanthrōpos
Aazealh said:
There's something you don't understand here. This moment is pivotal and amazing because it is the culmination of various developments, be they character or story-related. If you remove those developments from the story, then this particular scene becomes hollow and meaningless. It's what happened here. So this scene could have never been "fixed" without first fixing everything else that came before it.
Exactly, the emotional build up for all the key players in the Band, especially the trio of Guts, Casca and Griffith, as well as the closeness of the whole group, needs to be emphasized from the minute Guts joins them. These were people that accepted Guts and created a change in him from a bitter and traumatized teen to someone who felt like he had a home, friends that cared about him and a purpose in his life beyond simply being someone who swings his sword and delights in crushing his enemies. The betrayal at the Eclipse and the gruesome end of everyone other than Guts and Casca, who had dreams of their own which was emphasized by the bonfire of dreams scene (left out of the movie) is supposed to have a massive emotional impact on the reader.

The movies really failed to create that emotional connection by removing vital parts for seemingly no reason at all.
 
There's something you don't understand here. This moment is pivotal and amazing because it is the culmination of various developments, be they character or story-related. If you remove those developments from the story, then this particular scene becomes hollow and meaningless. It's what happened here. So this scene could have never been "fixed" without first fixing everything else that came before it.
Exactly, the emotional build up for all the key players in the Band, especially the trio of Guts, Casca and Griffith, as well as the closeness of the whole group, needs to be emphasized from the minute Guts joins them. These were people that accepted Guts and created a change in him from a bitter and traumatized teen to someone who felt like he had a home, friends that cared about him and a purpose in his life beyond simply being someone who swings his sword and delights in crushing his enemies. The betrayal at the Eclipse and the gruesome end of everyone other than Guts and Casca, who had dreams of their own which was emphasized by the bonfire of dreams scene (left out of the movie) is supposed to have a massive emotional impact on the reader.

The movies really failed to create that emotional connection by removing vital parts for seemingly no reason at all.
Yes, and I completely agree with you guys. Actually I stated in my first post that the failing of the second movie was that they didn't include the Bonfire of Dreams sequence...a very dumb move on their part. :mozgus: But I also suggested that the sex scene could have helped the past movies if they had added to the sex scene by putting in flashback scenes of childhood Guts in order to explain the killing of his father and the rape. It would have explained why he took risks on the battlefield before he met Griffith and how he didn't care too much about dying. Also would have explained why he was mad at Casca in the first movie when she said he was "you're just like you were before and you never changed" (something like that). It would have added layers to his character. After all, the sex scene does have Guts in dialogue explain to Casca his inner childhood turmoils. The only difference they could have done and added in the movie was put a bit more visual representation. That would have made the movie and trilogy much better. Not as masterful as the manga (that's for sure) but it definitely would have been a great addition that adds to the characters and Eclipse.......but the point here is that they didn't. They took a masterpiece and turned it into average movies. Very annoying and I could definitely see why people would be insulted.
 
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