Review: Bionicle The Legend Reborn
Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 at 7:53pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: BZPower Staff]
It may have come out over two months ago, but BZPower wasn't going to let a new movie come out without us sharing our thoughts on it. A bunch of BZPower staff sat down (digitally speaking) and shared their thoughts on Bionicle: The Legend Reborn. Many of you have probably seen it by now, but if you haven't, or are wondering what others thought, check out the following review. Enjoy!
"BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn is an exciting story, relating Mata Nui's first adventure since being expelled from his body by Makuta at the end of last year. As he tries to make his way back, he finds himself sidetracked on a mission to save the Glatorians and the Agori from their enemies: the Skrall and the Bone Hunters. Together with Ackar, Gresh, Kiina, Berix, and his pet Scarabax named Click, Mata Nui tries to unite the villages against the forces of evil, all the while trying to discover the identity of a mysterious traitor to their cause as well as uncovering some secrets of the Great Beings themselves.
LEGO's first new movie does an excellent job at revitalizing the franchise. Picturesque landscapes, detailed animation, and exciting action sequences all combine to make this a very entertaining film to watch. The voice acting is superb, with such stars as Michael Dorn and Jim Cummings taking lead roles, but the dialogue itself does occasionally suffer from the compulsory cheesy lines found in all direct-to-DVD releases. The story itself takes a few breaks from the ruts that the previous trilogy would fall into, giving the movie a much fresher feeling. The pacing, however, is a bit off, leaving the viewer feeling not completely satisfied as the movie seems to be a bit rushed at some points.
All in all, the movie is a nice improvement from the original trilogy and it has definitely earned its place in the BIONICLE mythos.
4/5 stars."- Premier Forum Assistant/Reference Keeper SPIRIT
"The movie starts out pretty superb. The beginning sequence was awesome, and I very much applaud Tinseltown Toons for the presentation. It wasn't perfect, but I do feel that it was the best part of the movie. For characters, Mata Nui had the best characterization and voice-acting. The other characters did not develop that much, and I cringed when I heard the troublesome voice acting of the background Agori at times. They were better off saying nothing at all. Graphics were a better aspect, and where the movie shined the brightest. The CGI here blows the other 3 movies away in terms of detail and realism. It's not at the level of higher-end studios, but I'm really liking the improvement. I never really got the spinning screws on their bodies, or more specifically, why they spun. It was odd -- to say the least.
Being a DtV CGI Cartoon, one naturally expects very little, plot-wise. Nonetheless, the little amount we were given is unacceptable. The only reason I bought the movie was to see the storyline first-hand, and I finished the movie empty. I can't say much due to "spoilers", but I'll just say that they blew alot of smoke plot-wise. The older movies actually have better plots in my opinion.
Honestly, this movie would've been really good, despite some voice acting issues. What really killed it however, is the "story" they came up with. If this was supposed to be an introductory storyline, it still should've had more. The only thing you might gain from seeing this movie is the enjoyment of seeing your toys on the [insert size here] screen. This isn't enough for $15. If you're a teen or higher, then your $15 will be better spent elsewhere.
2.5/5 stars"- Premier Forum Assistant Emzee
"And after four years of waiting, we finally get a new BIONICLE movie! Let's see if we can notice how CGI has improved over these four years in this movie as well.
Note: This review is based on the German DVD.
For a start, the box is pretty nice (it's gold-coloured!), but nothing very special to look at either. You just have it to store the movie. The description is good, too (without faults!) and even mentions that the Mask of Life is called Ignika. But it also says something about spectacular animation, breath-taking action scenes and an exciting plot- and I do NOT entirely agree with this. But more to this later on.
The box contains a small booklet with a few pages of fun and riddles- you know, the usual thing, four pages with coupons for LEGOLAND/LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and a find-click-and-win contest. The prizes are a BIONICLE satchel, BIONICLE clothing and "Makuta's Guide to the Universe"- in German (strangely called "The Universe of Makuta")! That should be good news for German fans. But since I figure there aren't too many German fans out there to read this, I will go on.
When putting the DVD into the player, you get a few advertisements which are one for a new movie called "The LEGO Adventures" by Tinseltown Toons due on DVD 2010, a Glatorian Legends commercial and a long and boring LEGOLAND advertisement.
The menu is a complete and utter disappointment and you should skip it as quickly as possible. Nothing more to it.
On to the movie itself. While not as good as I expected it at first, it is not worse than I expected it to be after reading some "spoiler-free" reviews here. The intro is definitely better than those of the first two movies in terms of script, but the animation is somehow weird. But what is kind of sloppy is that the text ("UNIVERSAL presents" and so on) has not been translated. Minor fault.The animation of the rest is excellent (better than that of the previous movies) and you get some very nice environments like Vulcanus and Tesara at night but those spinning gears are a bit distracting sometimes and those teeth are creepy, but not too much. All characters looked good in this movie, but the fact that all Agori seem to be clones bugs me a bit. Also, I noticed that only a few Agori have shoulder pads- I wonder if this has any storyline significance.Speaking of storyline: To be honest, not that much gets revealed. I personally liked the story from BIONICLE 2 best. But I loved anything related to the traitor who was my favourite character of the movie by the way. No, I will not reveal anything more about it. So the story was alright. I would like to see some more in future movies. But a few things made few sense- I guess we will need to ask Greg a few things.
The music was not good, comparing it to the great music of the first movies. I also discovered the intro theme appeared over and over again but sounding differently.
The humor was alright. I guess smaller kids will find some part really funny. There were some parts even I found quite funny somehow ("I'm going now."-Metus).
On to the final part, the extras.
The deleted scenes were not that great, they were just parts of the storyboard. The extended ending was good, though, and I liked it quite a lot.
I haven't even watched the music video because I am pretty sure it is very similar to the version of BIONICLE.com but I guess it is neither better nor worse than the online version (just a bunch of mixed scenes). The character gallery is lame. it only has all BIONICLE Glatorian Legends except for Gelu and does not contain more information than BIONICLE.com, if not less. I just skipped it.
So that's it. I guess I can give it a 4/5. I recommend watching it (also to make it sell well and make sure future and possibly better movies are made), but don't get too excited. BIONICLE 2 is still the best BIONICLE movie.
Oh, I have forgotten one thing:
I cannot believe they actually made Kiina's plus rods red!"- Forum Mentor Gatanui
"The CGI in this movie is amazing. I felt like I was watching the actual sets battle on their own, and couldn't help imagining a giant foot stepping into the middle of the brawl and saying, "David, did you remember to do your homework?" I really liked how they did the teeth-like thingywhatzits that rose or fell to shape their mouths. (Er... that might make more sense once you've seen the movie.) They exchanged the creepy tongues of the previous movies for slightly less creepy teeth! =D
The plot was pretty good. I personally think the first three were a little better, because this one didn't feel like it brought the plot as far. The previous movies began and ended in a satisfying way that wound up many loose ends and could be at least mostly understood by non-fans. This one explains Mata Nui's predicament thoroughly at the beginning, but the end just sort of trails off. I was all, "Whaa!? Butbutbut... what about this thingy? And that thingy!? Noooo! Don't show the credits!"
I thought many of the voices were fitting. Kiina doesn't look any more feminine than her set, but her voice makes up for it really well. Although, when the traitor is revealed, their voice immediately changes to sound nasty and mean. This doesn't make any logical sense to me -- just because nobody knew you were evil before doesn't mean your voice has to change when they find out. Unless you were practicing your evil voice, just waiting for the perfect occasion to use it, and thought this seemed like a good time.
Another complaint is how a lot of the potentially important characters weren't developed. Some of them only got one or two lines and then remained background characters.
Final random notes:
1. It's awesome listening to Worf use Bionicle terms.
2. If you want to show off your nerdiness, you can pause the movie in scenes with Matoran writing and decipher it for your friends. Most of it's gibberish, though, which might take away from your impressiveness.
3. If you don't watch the extended ending, Click fans everywhere will bombard you with tomatoes.
4. WHOO CREDITS SONG WITH GUITAR
5. Complete lack of Zesk. Why? WHYY?
All in all, it's a good movie. If you're a superfan, just the fact that this is a Bionicle movie should satisfy you (or, in the case of a few fans I've met, have you obsessing over its awesomeness for weeks). If you're looking for a movie to watch time and time again, this might not quite meet your needs, but it's not half bad. My rating is 4/5."- Premier Forum Mentor Turakii #1 Lavasurfer
"The Legend Reborn. The film that has captivated the hearts of BIONICLE fans from ages 5-95 ever since it was announced. But is the movie worth standing up next to Mask of Light and the rest of the BIONICLE movie series? Or should you shelve this one and just read BS01 for your storyline fix?
The first thing that anyone notices about TLR is the quality of the animation and modeling. For a direct to DVD movie, the graphics rendering is superb in nearly every aspect. Everything has a gritty, rusty, style to it that only serves to enhance the atmosphere of the desert world. Even small details are included in the set realistic characters. Things like spinning gears and knobs, and the way light plays off of surfaces are all very well done.
Of course, there are some bad sides to the animation. Set realism means complete set realism, which means the character models come with all the defects, gaps, and comic proportions that you see in sets today. Mata-Nui in particular has very very long arms. The environments are a mixed bag. In some places, they are just as great as the characters, and in others they seem bland and slightly uninspired. The opening sequence lacks the quality and art direction that the rest of the movie has and often times, character movements seem a little robotic and choppy.
The voice acting is a similarly mixed bag. It has its highs. Mata-Nui, Ackar, and Metus's voice actors are incredible, while sometimes Kiina and Berix just make you want to tear your ears out. In most cases, the script is well written if a little cheesy at times. There are some excellent one-liners throughout the movie that I'm sure will become staples in the arsenal of the legions of BIONICLE fans for many years to come.
In terms of storyline, TLR delivers this year's story surprisingly well. The plot, while good, is very simple, and you can see events coming from a mile away. Many deus ex machinas are painfully obvious. However, I have to give TLC credit for that one singular surprise at the very end. I don't think anyone could have predicted that. The ending also pretty much begs for a sequel. So, if you want to see one then buy at least a dozen copies of this movie for you and your friends.
In the end, TLR achieves what it set out to do. If you come into this movie expecting something of PIXAR like quality, you will be disappointed. But, if you come into the film with the mindset of the target audience, you will entertained and your knowledge of Bara Magna will expand. In any case, the movie will be a great hit among the intended age group and they will likely watch it again and again. The film has quality animation, a simple, if cartoonish, storyline, and a style that will appeal to fans of all ages.
I give TLR a recommendation to anyone who wants to jump headlong in to 2009's story. Put aside your computers, grab your remotes and a bag of popcorn. It's movie time!
3/5 Stars"- Premier Blog Assistant Exo-Fat
"At the start of this year we were greeted with a blast of 2001 nostalgia. A mysterious world whose inhabitants struggle for existence. Mysterious and distant 'heroes' battle each other with an ominous force rising in the distance.
The Legend Reborn throws a lot of that to the wind. Somehow the film doesn't capture the same mystery and awe of its surroundings that Mask of Light or even Legends of Metru Nui did. Everything seems somehow... mundane. That's one of the first things that struck me and I was kinda disappointed. But on to the film.
First off, the texturing to the character models is beautiful. Excellently detailed and brilliant done. The animation tends to be nice, but over the top sometimes. The spinning pins tend to get distracting sometime and a lot of the physics left me snickering (really, who flips that much?). But it's a kid's movie, so let it be fun. It's based on toys after all. But that's another problem. The set realism... Doesn't really work in my eyes. The wonky proportions and builds, the semi odd coloring sometimes... After hearing from Greg that the Glatorian and Agori were more organic than mechanic I was hoping to see that realized in the film. Ah well. Also, the backgrounds and settings see a bit odd sometimes too.
Voice acting is hit and miss. Mata Nui and Ackar did excellent jobs with the rather iffy script they were given. I personally really liked Berix's voice, but that may just be me. I remember thinking Strakk did good too. But the other acting was forgettable, nothing too good, one or two just downright lousy. And Kiina... Kiina was just annoying when she spoke.
The script too had its faults. It felt shallow and didn't seem to belie the mystery of prior films and tales. Many lines also felt forced and cheesy. The story's pace felt inconsistent too; some parts flew by others seemed to drag. Some of the direction was also poorly done, a lot of the cuts were too quick or served very little purpose and the action scenes tended to be static and dull.
But hey, it's Bionicle. The fun at seeing it come to life is always a plus, even if the quality wasn't so good. The story, though shallow, was enjoyable for what it's worth.
All in all, I'll have to give it a 2/5. It was fun to watch it through once, but it's not anything to write home about."- Forum Mentor Ta-metru_defender
"All of the others have already made it clear that the animation was awesome, and the plotline stunk, so I'll focus on the characters.
Mata Nui (as we all probably guessed) is our main character, and I thought from the BIONICLE.com voice actor clip that he would be sounding too much like some legendary sage. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. He's portrayed much more like our usual favorite characters, the Toa. He appears to see himself as equals with the Glatorian (because, aside from having his spirit in the Kanohi Ignika, he is), rather than that legendary being I had imagined.
Ackar was portrayed marvelously. He was a weary, defeated fighter when he needed to be, and he was also a wise Glatorian trainer when needed as well. His voice was incredible, his aninmation was amazing, making him my favorite movie character by far. While Berix wasn't the best character possible, I was still relieved at the way he turned out. After watching the BIONICLE.com voice actor clip, I thought with pain, "Oh, no. He's gonna be just like Matau." Fortunately, he was much more like Takua than Matau, with only one scene I really wished wasn't in there.
In fact, if anyone was like Matau, it was Kiina. Unlike in Raid on Vulcanus and basically every other non-movie part of the story, Kiina was just plain ridiculous. I have no idea what good this did for the movie, as even my little brother, who is in the age group of the target audience, wishes she wasn't like that.
The Bone Hunters and Skrall can't even be considered characters, really. Tuma was the only villain besides the Traitor who had a speaking part, and even then, he was portrayed as a big dummy. Somewhat like Krekka, only slightly smarter.
Another disappointing part is that the Skrall are not portrayed as tough at all. All they do is growl and shriek, and even the special forces Skrall are kicked aside easily. They are way too much like the Visorak or the Vahki were portrayed, like a swarm, and I am very, very disappointed with them.
The Traitor is the only villain that is established well. Unfortunately, going into detail on this character would be giving away spoilers, and I don't want to do that. Let's just say that the Traitor makes up for the rest of the villains.
Lastly, Click. Click is portrayed as a feisty little beetle that could've been the comic relief all by himself, and still be cool, and then they wouldn't have made Kiina so... ugh. Click also has a spot as one of the main characters in the extended ending, which is why those Click fans will all throw tomatoes at those who don't watch it.
All in all, the movie itself is okay. The animation more than makes up for the plotline, and Mata Nui, Ackar, and the Traitor make up for the rest of the characters, making it a decent part of the BIONICLE story. That $15 price tag isn't a bad feature either.
The LL's rating: 2/5"- Reference Keeper LewaLew
Finally, a comment by Forum Assistant Sisen:
"Everyone makes fairly good points. In Legends of Metru-Nui Greg said ìyou can watch the movie and enjoy the movie, but to fully understand the storyline you need to read the comics and follow the books.î The Legend Reborn seems to fall shy in that aspect. The movie is put together well with the animation and voice-overs, but the storytelling took a hit compared to the previous movies.
As a fan of Bionicle I would read these reviews and look to them for advice. Don't let them influence you to avoid the movie because of a few hiccups. Let the review give you a spoiler free sneak peak at what to expect. Use the information provided to support your decision but not make it for you.
If you're just getting into Bionicle then the movie is worth it. If you are a fan, how good the movie is should not matter. $15 is a small price to pay for a part of the Bionicle world. However, you could purchase a Glatorian for that price. If you went and bought a Glatorian instead because it has a longer playback life, that's understandable."
I hope you all enjoyed the review and hope that it may help with your decision on whether to pick it up or not. We had hoped to post this sooner, but time has the tendency to move faster than you think it should. Anyway, be sure to thank the reviewers, and keep checking back for more reviews and news!
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