Origin: Spirits of the Past - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Origin: Spirits of the Past Reviews

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May 4, 2017
I liked this movie. It was a good animation, with top quality animation. The story was good.
February 12, 2016
It is an excellent movie that despite being a bit longer than it should is masterfully animated, has exceptional sound and music, and is worth seeing for its positive environmental message alone. It is no Nausicaä, but it is a wonderful effort that is most definitely worth watching.
December 21, 2015
I thought Origin: Spirits of the Past was a pretty enjoyable Anime film. As far as environmental Anime features go, it's definitely not as strong as Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa and Mononoke, but with some creative visuals, nice music, good chemistry between the two leads, cool scenes with Agito showing his forest powers and an awesome opening sequence, I definitely recommend this one.
½ May 23, 2015
This movie has some remarkable backgrounds. The story and characters are about as cliched as possible. I was just sitting in front of the screen predicting every turn without even thinking. Shame.
March 23, 2015
This has the "Avatar Syndrome" in having first rate production values but none of the story and soul to truly engage with the audience.

First impression is that the film's co-existence message is almost a direct copy of Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and the similarities end there - where Miyazaki delivered a gut-wrenching experience of monumental wonder, sadness, fragility and ferocious anger, Origin achieved none of that even with better animation techniques.

The film begins on a strong footing with lush animations of two carefree protagonists parkouring across the post-apocalyptic landscape, and this is the only time the film utilised its rich setting to its fullest potential, the decaying landscape bought to life by the running youths' unbridled energy. This view is contrasted by that of the female protagonist, a girl who awakens horrified and uncomfortable with the alien land she witnesses.

A lot of potential could be had by exploring the conflicting views between them, as an analogy of our present relationship with technology and the environment. But the film goes down the hill of clichés of trying to establish clear right & wrongs - technology here being wrong and the environment right.

It would make sense if the apocalypse was bought about by the technologies of war, but it wasn't - it was bought about by the genetically modified plants, who were the initial aggressors. I found myself sympathising with the lost advanced civilisation as opposed to the primitive post-apocalyptic world, which the film insists I root for.

And there's the characters themselves who are far from likeable - the main male protagonist appears almost infantile and naive in his devotion to the trees, which we established were the original aggressors. The trees, or nature, is here portrayed as militaristic and manipulative as the human military, in fact the humans had a stronger argument for recouping civilisation that was lost to them.

The female protagonist abruptly changes her mind at the climax for no apparent reason whatsoever - if she stopped destroying the trees out of compassion for the human dwellers, the film failed to establish chemistry between the girl and what is essentially an alien hostile world to her.

Lastly the male protagonist's voice acting is usually flat, cardboard-like, with little emotion to the loss of his father, and especially so after being "powered up" by the trees acting as their servant. His out-of-nowhere outbursts of violence does nothing but further illustrate the trees as the oppressing antagonists.

Overall great animation, as in the craft, that unfortunately lends to a shoddy script that throws fragmented cliché plot twists that neither contributes to a strong narrative, nor use its copious slow moments to flesh out characters and establish a coherent reason for their actions.

So in a sense the film is like the boy controlled by the forest - no reason for doing what he does except that he had to do it, without much thought given in at all.
February 27, 2015
An amazing move with beautiful music and stunning animation.
½ January 26, 2015
Seldom do you see such a clichéd and nonsensical anime movie as Origin: Spirits of the Past. The most believable aspect in this story is probably the plant dragon comet while the most mind-numbing has to be the walking mecha-volcano. You totally read that right. This movie is monumentally senseless. A great opportunity for an original idea gone to waste.
The music score is amazing, though.
September 20, 2014
Ehh it could have been much better. It's environmental message gets a little preachy and the character development is a little... off I guess you could say. However it's beautifully animated and it's not boring, so if you've got nothing better watch, give this one a shot. Just don't expect Princess Mononoke or Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds.
June 28, 2014
very good, interesting story
March 23, 2014
Visually very enthralling, and with a simple and concise plot, I found this movie to be quite entertaining.
March 2, 2014
This movie was good until the second half, then it rushed everything to the end. It's as if the moviemakers needed another 20-30 minutes of movie but were forced to finish it quickly.

This movie also tries very hard to be Miyazaki's "Naussica," and doesn't quite make it.

But on the positive side, the animation is great, and it has some great ideas (though it doesn't develop them enough).
January 13, 2014
It was an interesting, original concept brought down by its extremely slow pace. Beautiful anime but such boring characters.
½ January 4, 2014
The first time I saw this movie was it was a commercial in one of my DBZ box sets, and I was looking for anime to watch so I actually wrote the name down. Then when I saw it on Netflix I instantly watched it. I actually thought it was a series until I saw it, but considering I didn't have time to go through a series maybe that was best. I've watched the movie twice now, the second time just now, but I liked the movie enough I feel I could watch it a hundred more times. But I can see why somebody wouldn't like it at all. I'll start just getting the bad out of the way early. First, the characters are mostly plot pieces and one-dimensional. And although they wear a variety of outfits, they're character models aren't fantastic either. Each character can be summed up in a variety of lines, but in the end they serve well for the plot and I do really like the characters, but they just simply don't develop. I still give it the character badge simply because they do more than the job and I still like them. Also there are things that just didn't seem covered. Like Toola has this device that let's her get calls, but of course everyone's dead so that shouldn't happen. But she gets a call but can't pick up, and it never even explains who the hell called her. Although in the final resolution it does kind of feel like a moment of never found out mystery was better. You'd have to see the final shot in the movie to get what I mean. The English dub has funimation friendly voices that I thought were very well. The writing is also eh. The voice actors couldn't really do much with the script, and for instance the line of the movie seems to be the constant use of the main character Agito calling out Toola's name. TOOOOLAAA! Your probably going to hear that about six times. Anyway, that was just the bad, but there's a lot of good. Let's just start with the plot. Origin Spirits of the Past is about a scientific experiment on plants gone horribly wrong. The plants that will be identified in this movie as "the forest," backfired and became the most intelligent beings of the world and destroyed the majority of the moon and mostly wiped clean all of human civilization. Fast forward three hundred years and you find our story starting in a dependent somewhat industrial styled village that coexists with the forest. Our hero accidentally wakes Toola, a girl who's been in a stasis sleep the past three-hundred years. The forest is threatened by her awakening because she could hold the threat of eliminating the forest. Meanwhile another person of the past who awoke five years ago is working with the Ragna, a military organization independent of the forest, and looks to be at war with the forest. He tells Toola he can restore the old world, but he needs Toola. Toola decides rebuilding the old world would be better than coexisting with the forest and leaves with him. Agito then takes the power of the forest gaining amazing strength in order to go after Toola. While all this goes on your not sure who's exactly right, or if the antagonist is actually a good guy with a different perspective until the end of the movie. In the end it almost seems more of a worthy plot for a short series or a video game, but I'll take it for the movie. The plot is probably one of the best things about this movie and definitely is interesting. I hadn't really watched a really creative movie in awhile so this was basically just what I needed. It's hard to follow the first time, but by the end of the movie you'll have about ninety percent of it down, and by the second time it'll be obvious what everything is and means. Also the animation is beautiful. I've stated before that I'm not picky with my animation. I don't care if it's an English dub, and I'm not an animation freak and look for anime with the best animation. But this movie is just so beautiful even I can just stop and talk about how amazing it is. The backgrounds and vibrant colors pop out, and other effects like the water and attacking forest are really stunning. Just watch the amazing opening to the movie and you'll know what I'm talking about. Speaking of the opening it was amazing! The song and movement of the forest move perfectly in balance and the first time I watched this movie I actually just went back and watched it again. The song alone is bad ass just for being in the film, but being used twice, once for a awesome opening? Then it's really bad ass! And at first you don't know what the hell is happening, but later when you know the plot you'll actually everything that goes on. Anyway another really good thing about the movie is the setting. The town that Agito is in called Neutral City looks really interesting and although I didn't like the Ragna areas as much it really made the setting really diverse. Also the action. Although I would be a little hesitant to call this an action anime movie cause they're just simply wasn't a humongous amount of fighting, the action is still very bad ass. Agito's enhanced form can catch and move things around him that should crush him flat, and his fighting style is very jumpy and kicky which is also fun to watch. The whole enhancement thing in general is a really cool idea, and it's fun to see which characters are enhanced by looking at their white hair. I didn't care much for the giant machines used for fighting at times, but oh well. Anyway the movie as a whole I was going to give an eight, but looking back on it now it was really just what I needed and was simply a beautiful movie. If I wasn't as new to anime, or I hadn't been on a creative absence it would probably be less, and this is a low 9, but I can't help but give call this movie an elite for what it is. I feel like I could watch it fifty times, and it uses all ninety minutes, even parts of the credits to bash in a little more story. It's a must see for any anime fan, or even if your just open minded enough to try it. It's not a super weird anime, it's one a lot of people could enjoy, so I would say just watch it and you'll probably be impressed.
October 2, 2013
Similar to Princess Mononoke in some regards but not quite as good. The visuals were pretty nice and the opening prologue was intense, only added by the amazing song Chouwa Oto. Unfortunately the rest of the movie didn't quite live up to the grandness of the opening act.
September 22, 2013
I knew from the intro that I was in for a wonderful treat! Surprisingly great, Origin: Spirit of the Past delivers as a stand alone Anime.
July 6, 2013
I loved it. A thoroughly enjoyable family fun movie. Innocent in nature, action packed and breath taking scenery makes this an easy 5 star rating
July 5, 2013
A very surrealist ride that is pretty good.
½ April 1, 2013
beautifully drawn or animated story. the synopsis I'll let you read. voice acting excellent. why not a five star rating then? the film's score is decidedly Hollywood. it doesn't fit the story nor does it fit with the animation. it is terrible and does not belong in this film. as a matter of fact it is the only thing that keeps it from being as epic as GRAVE OF THE FIRE FLIES or AKIRA.
it is the only thing that keeps me from making it a five star. I suggest you rent or stream it first before buying it.
½ November 24, 2012
Visually lush and easy on the eyes. But while the first act started off pretty strongly, the story is mostly all smoke and no fire. A real shame.
November 4, 2012
As far as Anime is concerned Origin: Spirits of the Past is decent enough. The storyline is outrageous and caused my eyes to roll a few times (sell your soul to the forest and gain the power of the trees which make you invincible but which in turn will cause you to become a tree) but the characters were likable and the story flowed smoothly. I can never see myself being a fan of this genre but once in a while a story like this won't kill me.
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