Review of Knights of the Zodiac
An ambitious live-action version of the Saint Seiya anime is visually stunning but fails to overcome a weak script.
plot: When a goddess of war is reborn in the body of a young girl, street orphan Seiya discovers that he is destined to protect her and save the world. But only if he can face his own past and become a knight of the zodiac.
review: Live-action adaptations of anime films and series have been successful in Japan, but few have made the transition to Hollywood. For each Alita Battle Angel, there is a ghost in the shellDragon Ball EvolutionAnd death notice. Aside from the cultural barrier, there was never the right balance between ambition and execution. Sony’s Knights of the Zodiac is a valiant attempt to bring that Holy Seiya Bringing anime to life on a modest budget and recognizable actors just below the A-list. The result is a visually stunning film with some franchise potential that’s ultimately given away by a boring script that barely scratches the surface of the long-running film’s vast mythology Holy Seiya Manga and Anime Series.
While the original manga consisted of 28 volumes published over a four-year period, the Holy Seiya The anime franchise includes 315 episodes across seven series and six feature films released from 1986 to 2022. Knights of the Zodiac is the first live-action version of the series in any language, meaning this film is highly anticipated internationally. Filmed entirely in English with an international cast from around the world. Knights of the Zodiac bundles the extensive storylines from anime and manga into an origin story that attempts to simplify the concept to a digestible level. In Knights of the Zodiac, Seiya is played by Mackenyu (the son of the legendary Sonny Chiba). Seiya is making ends meet as a low-level fighter for Cassios (Nick Stahl) when he is dragged away by Alman Kiddo (Sean Bean), a scientist who tells him of the imminent reincarnation of the goddess Athena. Athena is currently dormant in the body of Sienna (Madison Iseman) and must be protected by powerful knights. Kiddo believes that Seiya is the Pegasus Knight. Kiddo needs Seiya to protect Sienna from the evil Guraad (Famke Janssen) who wants her dead. Reluctantly, Seiya agrees and begins to unleash his gifts and abilities.
In minutes, Knights of the Zodiac defines its tone through lengthy dialogue that doesn’t match the skill or presence of the actors performing it. In their first sequence together, Nich Stahl and Mackenyu stare at each other with steely eyes and engage in a solid fight sequence choreographed by Andy Cheng. Cheng imbues the numerous battle scenes with a balance of ethereal power reminiscent of wuxia films, along with the expected tracers, shadows, and luminous energy of cartoons. The combination makes for action that varies from living cartoon to cartoonish and silly. If Knights of the Zodiac is heavy in the martial arts and battles, it looks great. When it slows down with exposure-heavy moments, the film drags and cannot overcome the weakness of the dialogues. With references to Greek gods and the film’s silly name for powers (“Cosmos”) Knights of the Zodiac We can’t quite get the suspension of disbelief we offer Marvel and DC adaptations.
The cast are all convinced of the silliness of the material, but some pull it off better than others. Mackenyu is a decent lead actor, but his performance is often wooden and boring. Likewise, Madison Iseman as Sienna/Athena makes for a more energetic performance, but she’s stuck in scenes where she’s sitting around convulsively or wearing one of several over-the-top wigs. Nick Stahl does his best as a side villain and wastes screen time, while Diego Tinoco is supposed to be the main antagonist, but his performance is often ridiculous. Of the veteran cast, Sean Bean has the least work to do and gets involved more for performance than anything else. Mark Dacascos is also underused, but his placement suggests there will be more to come should sequels be made. Caitlin Hutson delivers a solid masked performance as Marin the Eagle Knight. Famke Janssen is the best aspect of this adaptation as Guraad, the villain and one of the only characters to draw a full arc through the film.
Director Tomek Baginski, whose credits lie mostly on animated shorts and video game intros, does his best with what’s given, but much of this film looks like a cutscene from any number of Playstation video games. The green screen is clearly visible throughout the final act and is intended to provide the framework around which this film is built. While the training scenes and dream sequences benefit from the special effects, the finale is littered with so many computer generated effects that it undermines the plot itself. Tomasz Naumiuk’s cinematography reproduces the slow motion and sharp angles of anime films, but is overused as the film progresses through its two-hour run. Even Yoshihiro Ike’s music, which is quite intoxicating at times, feels out of place, drowning out some dialogue and ruining the rhythm. There are so many things in this film that are designed to support more sequels that they failed to give this film a heart of its own.
Knights of the Zodiac ultimately does not exploit the enormous potential of the Holy Seiya Source material despite a willing cast and a viable budget. While the action sequences are well choreographed and the special effects are strong, the film fails to capture enough energy or charisma from the main characters. If your villain is more present than your hero, your story is in trouble. Would you have invested in this film to bring an animated epic to life like the Wachowskis did? speed racer, it might have worked. Otherwise it should have ended just as bleakly as with Robert Rodriguez Alita Battle Angel. as it stands Knights of the Zodiac looks and feels like a compromise aimed at boosting a franchise that seems unlikely.
https://www.joblo.com/knights-of-the-zodiac-review/ Review of Knights of the Zodiac