NEGADON: THE MONSTER FROM MARS (2005)
Well, this is a first. I've never reviewed a short film before. Clocking in at 25 minutes, Negadon is an animated homage to kaiju classics from the 60's. Technically, it's an anime, but it's not the kind of anime that your olid, unwashed bisexual friend in High School obsessed over (I think we all knew a gamy manga nerd in High School). There are no gaping mouths in sight. No androgynous charlatans, no rape victims traipsing about in plaid skirts, no tentacled valentines...just a stark cityscape awash in faded colors and spurious film grain. I am here to tell you that writer/director Jun Awazu nailed the Toho look. Eventually, Negadon gives itself away as a modern kaiju yarn, and it's not just because of the glassy CG-rendered visuals.
This concise epic is pokerfaced. It doesn't wink at the camera, and apart from the boisterous score, it forgoes camp in favor of emotional depth. Mood is never compromised, even during a Tokyo-trouncing laser duel. If you want a synopsis, read the back of any stand-alone "giant monster from outer space" DVD. Negadon: The Monster From Mars isn't so much a plot-driven spectacle. It's more concerned with execution. I had fun with it, although it could use a second helping of action. Check it out if you feel like you've seen every kaiju flick on Satan's red earth. That's certainly how I feel, but then again, I need a social life.