Review for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion III - Glorification - Collector's Edition
If ever I’ve been unenthusiastic about watching a movie, it’s been for this one, the third and final film in the Code Geass compilation trilogy. Sure, the first film in the collection was a pretty good re-telling of the start of season one of Code Geass, but the second movie confirmed that 52 episodes into around 6½ hours of feature film just don’t go, and following a promising start, essentially became a ‘best bits’ trailer during the final act that was a pain to watch. That soured me on the whole thing, not that I was thrilled with the prospect of a compilation movie to begin with. But here it is, the third film in the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion trilogy. I would much rather watch the whole series again, even if this way shaves some 14 hours off the experience, but I can’t really recommend that, much as I wish I could. It turns out that the movie trilogy is essential, if you have any intention of watching the newest movie, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection.
In an alternate world, 10th August 2010 saw the invasion of Japan by the Holy Empire of Britannia. The giant walking powered suits known as Knightmare Frames quickly overwhelmed Japan’s conventional defences, and the nation fell in the space of a month. Re-designated as Area 11 of the Empire, its very identity erased, the Elevens became second class citizens in their own home, ruled over by the aristocratic Britannians. But as with every ruthless overseer, resistance soon developed. Lelouch Lamperouge is an exiled Britannian prince with his own grudge against the Empire, as well as a desire to fulfil his promise to his crippled sister Nunnally, to create a peaceful world for her when she regains her sight.
It’s a terrorist attack that gives Lelouch the weapon with which to advance his timetable. Terrorists steal and make off with a container of poison gas, and the Britannians mobilise a force to hunt them down. Lelouch, playing hooky from his prestigious school gets caught up in the mayhem. It isn’t gas that has been stolen though; it’s a secret for which the Britannians would indiscriminately kill to protect. It’s a green-haired girl named CC. CC senses that Lelouch is the one that she has been waiting for, and bestows a gift upon him, the ability to force anyone to obey his will, a geass. With his keen strategic mind, and his vendetta against the Empire, Lelouch now has the tools to take the fight to the invaders.
The movie gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on this disc, and it is pretty impressive, given that it’s taking a 12 year old TV series and re-editing it, alongside new footage for theatrical presentation. Everything is clear and sharp, and on this vanilla disc, there is no sign of compression, aliasing or digital banding. There are a couple of soft scenes, and you can tell the new footage with the full on HD clarity, extra detail, and theatrical quality animation, but the presentation is still a lot more consistent than I expected.
This being a Funimation disc, you get a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Japanese track with player locked subtitles. The film drops the stereo track that was on All the Anime’s first film disc. I have to say that the surround track was a lot more robust and effective this time around, although there’s also a lot more action in this part of the story to make its presence felt. The familiar themes are present, and the music still drives the story well. You may have fond memories of the dub, but as this is a new edit, with new scenes, there was new Japanese dialogue recorded for this film. The subtitles are timed accurately and are free of typos.
The disc boots to an animated menu after playing a trailer for One Piece 3D2Y.
This time there are a smattering of extras on disc, 4:31 of Promo Videos and trailers for Dragon Ball Super, Twin Star Exorcists, Dimension W, and Steins;Gate the Movie Load Region of Deja Vu.
I haven’t seen the retail release to comment on the packaging or the physical extras.
Glorification pulls its socks up an delivers a rousing conclusion to the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion movie trilogy, although given that it’s adapting the final eight or so episodes of the TV series, pretty much note for note makes it less of a challenge than the middle film had with squeezing over 20 episodes into 40 minutes. But you can’t get away from the legacy of that middle film, especially as these films are meant to work as a trilogy. The opening few scenes of this final film also deliver that piecemeal non-narrative for the first few minutes before settling down to a regular pace.
Lelouch and his sister Nunnally, children of the Britannian Empire were exiled to Japan after their mother was assassinated, which was conquered by Britannia and renamed Eleven. Lelouch took an assumed identity and went to school there, along with the children of the Britannian overseers, in a country with a virtual apartheid system, with the Elevens either resenting, or collaborating with their overseers. This messed up world induced Lelouch to harbour an ambition of overthrowing this cruel order, and creating a safe, perfect world for his little sister. He got that chance when the immortal being CC appeared and gave him the Geass power that allowed him to give one command that had to be obeyed to anyone who looked into his eyes. With this power he commenced his campaign to achieve his ambition, using any and all in his path, pitting the rebellious elements of the Elevens against the Britannian Empire.
This all comes to a head in Glorification, which is essentially the story’s endgame, resolving the conflict between him and his one-time best friend Suzaku, resolving the war between the Elevens and the Britannians, through all the back-stabbing and side-switching, and revelations that ensue. It’s all fascinating stuff, and told really quite well here, once you put the mess of the previous film out of your mind. None of which I intend to spoil here. Code Geass is a brilliant story, complex and layered, with fascinating characters, and one that works on several levels. The examination of the human condition, the exercise of power and the effect it has makes this far more than just another giant robot show. Of course the films lose much of the character nuance, and a fair bit of the plot, but the first and third film at least work well to tell their stories.
As for why you need this trilogy to appreciate Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection instead of the original TV series. It appears to make the sequel work, it needed a different continuity. One character that didn’t survive the television series survives o the end of the film trilogy, and plays a significant role in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection. The irony of it is, that character barely registers in this movie compilation trilogy. I’m uncertain about the need for a sequel to begin with. It’s one of those cash-in projects that happen all too often these days, even with anime (who needed more FLCL?) especially given that the original Code Geass series said everything it needed to and had the best ending an anime series could want. But this movie compilation trilogy does exist, and it has a reason to do so. If you want more Code Geass in your life, then you’re going to need this trilogy to appreciate it. At least in this third film the compilation goes out on a high.