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Mega Man Failure

May. 19th, 2010 | 02:18 am

So I heard about the new Mega Man movie written and directed by Eddie Lebron that the Internet has gone crazy over, and last week I decided to look at the trailer.  Instantly, my mind raced back to this effort.

Despite this, I proceed to watch the movie.  I hoped it wasn't as bad as the trailer looked.

It was not that bad.

It's so much worse than I expected.  It's easily worse than Dragonball: Evolution, and not even half as entertainingly bad.  No, it's even worse than Twilight.  I can at least admire some of the cinematography in that movie.  This movie is worse than Wild Wild West, as at least that movie tried to acknowledge the fact that Will Smith's character would encounter racism in the setting.  This movie is just terrible, as easily as bad as Highlander: the Source.

Why is this movie bad?  I will tell you why.

BAD ACTORS -- I'm not expecting Academy Award performances, but nearly every one of the main characters is terribly acted.  The characters do not give off any vibes other than they are people saying lines, as there is either too little emotion displayed at times, or way too much, and more often than not the tics and actor clutches become far too noticeable.  And this is not an issue with the casting, but the actual acting.  I never get the feeling that these people are actually playing characters but are just costuming as them and spouting lines with inappropriate degrees of misplaced emotions.  This is especially true for Jun Naito as Rock/Mega Man.  He seems to act as if Rock should be as stolid as the material he was names after.

Some people like Roll and Dr. Wily's actors, but I disagree. Jeanie Tse as Roll came across as very nervous and stiff (not "robot stiff" but the stiffness of someone whose body language is forced), and while she tried to throw herself into the role of a perky, "little sister" housekeeper, her line delivery and stance was at odds with what her character was written as.  Furthermore Lebron should have ordered Dave Maulbeck to stop chewing the scenery as Dr. Wily.  Yes, any viewer with even moderately impaired vision can see that see that he's waaay too young to play the mad scientist, but his over-the-top delivery was just disgusting.  It was not so-bad-it's-funny. It made me really want to stop watching.

As some have mentioned, the voice and live action actors portraying other Robot Masters actually do give performances, and make their characters work with their limited screen time.

BAD WRITING --  This movie is pastiche, plain and simple.  It's a mishmash of Rockman, Mega Man Powered Up, the American Mega Man cartoon, and fanon.  There's nothing wrong with that, if done well.  After all, while the story of Mega Man is pretty simple, it does contain the hefty ideas of human-like androids and the advancement of technology, robotic personalities that can be reprogrammed, and an exploration of what makes us human through idea that the protagonist, Mega Man, shows more humanity than his human adversary.  It's stuff that Astro Boy and Kikaider have explored before, but with a competent script it could be made entertaining.

Instead, we get a live action cartoon that is so poorly thought out, that it makes "Night of the Living Monster Bots" look good.  I'm not even going to point out the plot holes, as that would imply that there is an actual plot.  There's a first half of pointless setup (that explains nothing) and a second half of hokey action that occurs solely because this movie is supposed to connect with the games.

Lebron establishes Dr. Wily as a bad man who, but yet to hint or reason as to why he is a bad man, or to make him seem that he's not necessarily THAT bad of a man.  Lebron establishes Rock as a character who is thought of as almost human but with no discussion of what that "humanity" entails.  Lebron establishes a Roll as an annoying little-sister bot to deliver the (un)necessary Aesop.  Lebron establishes Dr. Light as creating a robotic family, yet apparently does not even hint at the Geppetto/Pygmalion undertones, or even suggest that in actuality, Dr. Light is in a sense more insane than Dr. Wily.  After all, Light is trying to replace the family he lost with robots.  Wily at least realizes these robots are tools and uses them accordingly.

Since this movie is inconsistent, we get Robot Masters who act like the cartoon versions at times, and Mega Man Powered Up at others.  One would think this would not be easy to mess up given that both versions are basic, one-dimensional expressions of tropes.  The problem is the way the Robot Masters are presented in the movie there is no reason why Mega Man or the audience should care if he blows up his fellow Robots.  In Mega Man Powered Up, the personalities grew on us because players got the chance to play as the Robot Masters.  In the cartoon, the personalities were acceptable because it was comic relief.  Here's it's a distraction, especially since this section of the movie deviates from the rather lighthearted tone of the original series, but doesn't quite go as far as Mega Man X.  In fact, story wise, this point reminds me of Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, as we get just enough of a glimpse into your enemies to distinguish them, but in most cases, not enough to care.

I'm not even going to get the numerous plot holes and inconsistencies, or better yet, when the barebones story deviates from the game for "dramatic license."  Note to Lebron: It makes no sense even in your own film why Dr. Wily decided to do a Bowser imitation in the last third.  That just made no sense.  And his rant made even less sense than that.

BAD SOUND MIXING --  Of all the problems in the movie, this one really hit me.  After all, there are limits with what you can do with a budget.  But you should be able to manipulate the sound to immerse the viewer where the visuals cannot.  Instead, this movie had poor sound balance period.  At times, the sound effects were poorly utilized.  At other times, I could not decipher the lines, and sometimes, the background music was too loud and overpowering.
 
There's some good, I suppose.  The CGI is pretty good for an independent film (Better than in V, for goodness sakes.).  Some of the score was nice, and I admit, some of the Robot Master designs were very good (although I would have preferred a more uniform presentation -- either all CG or all live action).  So maybe it's a smidgen better than Highlander: the Source, but it's still an awful adaptation.  I'd rather have a REAL brother relationship...and I don't even have a brother.

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