20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2011
I became a fan of the Robotech series when it came out. I became sad when they did not take it further with new shows. I collected many of the RPG stuff and other things fans go for. I even got one of the Japanese books to MACROSS. When I heard of a sequel, I moved to acquire a copy as soon as I could.
I have seen it and I must confess I have little good to say of it. Other than the imagery and scenes and background music which are superb, I think it stinks.
It is set during the final episodes of the Invid series yet deletes all but Scott Bernard, Ariel and the Invid Regis without explanation. Does not give any hint what might have happened to: Annie, Lunk, Rand, Rook, or Lancer and his invid love Cera. They have Louie Nicols from the Robotech Masters yet tell us nothing of what happened to Dana Sterling or any of his crowd. They have Bowie Grant's parents and Dana Sterling's Sister yet tell us nothing of what has become of them. Not a hint. They don't tell us what happend to any of the Zentraidi. They don't tell us what happened to the Tirolians and people of the Robotech Masters.
The story itself is pretty drab. The Earth forces win and drive out the invid but now they find themselves with a new and very treachurous enemy. An enemy who they believed to be a friend who now moves to wipe them out once they have disposed of the invid.
I thought the dumbest scene is when the brother of Scot Bernard's late fiance, Marlene, confronts Ariel. This guy is meeting an alien who is a dead ringer for his sister, one of the creature who killed his sister yet is pretty cool and calm about it, does not even notice.
Then there is the ending which I thought to be rather corny.
Overall, this thing, if they want to fix it, needs a sequel. A sequel in which they need to bring back more of the old characters to flesh things out. They need to explain what happened to the old crews. They need to explain what happened and what has become of all the previous aliens. And then they need to go forward with a new series.
I have always been a Robotech fan. I want more Robotech and I want good stories.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
It's been over 20 years since the proposed Robotech sequel series, The Sentinels, was canned. Some of the other reviewers on this page have some misconceptions about this movie, it seems... First of all, Shadow Chronicles is most definitely intended for longtime fans AS WELL AS NEW ONES. The major reason that many of the older characters do not reappear in this story is that the producers of the film wanted to make it as accessible as possible to a general audience. To be sure, you'll get the most out of it if you have a working understanding of past Robotech, and there are several nods here to the fanboys, but overall the story is general enough to be understood by the lay person. (While it is true that Harmony Gold has had difficulty utilizing the Macross character/mecha designs in the past and/or locating many of the old voice actors for this project, these are only two reasons for the absence of many of the original characters.) On to the review...
Being a longtime fan, I had mixed feelings about the prospects of The Shadow Chronicles, but I wanted to go into it as much as possible with an open mind. First, let me say that I liked the movie, and it was exciting to see something new in the Robotech universe (especially on the big screen!) after so long. I had fears that this movie wouldn't feel like Robotech, but it actually did.
There's no reason for us to expect a new project in this universe to feel like Robotech - afterall, the original series was assembled out of necessity at the time, based on existing products. There's a great difference between adapting existing material to fit your needs and creating something new from scratch, and the only thing we've seen in Robotech before in this vein was the little bit of animation completed for the Sentinels... So above all else, I'm pleased to say that I think this new project lives up to the Robotech name.
The character animation overall is quite good. I enjoyed the new character designs (and was not bothered by Rick's new look either). I did feel the new character animation was a bit more American-style and less anime-style (mostly with regard to the returning characters, strangely enough), but it is quality work nonetheless.
The movie works well as a sort of "pilot" to set up a series or more features, yet has a pretty decent story in and of itself. I think the new enemy has potential to make good villians, although I also see the possible pitfall of them becoming merely one-dimensional token bad guys - something Robotech has never had to worry about before. The cast of heroes seems promising, with enough variety yet familiarity for some interesting interactions and plot developments.
Now onto some of the negatives... First of all, I appreciate that the CGI is much easier and less expensive to put together than full old-school animation. With that in mind, I can accept that many of the backgrounds, ships, space stations, etc. have to be done CGI. If it means we can have more Robotech, I can live with it. However, the smaller hand-to-hand combat mecha are a bit of a different story. They simply don't convey the excitement of the mecha in the original series, and their movements do not have any "weight" to them. During what should be intense moments of battle, I didn't feel the excitement of the events taking place. To be fair, I did eventually get used to the CGI mecha as the feature progressed, but I highly recommend the use of traditional animation for the mecha in future installments, or at least working to make the movements of the CGI mecha more realistic and less blocky so they don't distract from the story.
However, my biggest complaint with the movie is the recreating of several scenes from the original series. I see no problem with creating new scenes in the environment of the old series (specifically the last two episodes of 'New Generation'). Indeed, that seems to be necessary in order to make this new production work. What I do have a problem with is recreating the old scenes in a way that makes them directly conflict with those of the original series. It would have been just as easy to create new scenes with the Invid characters Ariel and the Regis (i.e. events that could have occurred during the same timeframe as the original series, simply not shown on-screen), rather than changing the existing scenes to fit the arc of this new storyline. So I'm a bit baffled as to why they chose to do this, and hope they don't "mess with the gospel" this much in future installments. That and the CGI are my major complaints with this project.
In conclusion, I thought the movie was a lot of fun, though with some technical and plot problems as mentioned above. I look forward to seeing more Robotech!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2007
Some of my fondest memories as a kid were sitting down to watch Robotech in the mid to late 90s when it was briefly featured on Cartoon Network. The original show was such a gem considering the time it was made---their was so much substance to it, so much originality---and now, look what it's become...
1. The CG was awful. Macross Zero was released earlier and had CG that was far and away superior to anything this film had to offer. All of the Mecha were awkward and boxier than a 83' Volvo. It seems as if Harmony Gold was so desperate to get this film to market that they didn't take the hour and 28 minutes to actually watch it and realize that their CG was reminiscent of "The Last Starfighter". Of course...characters that we can actually identify with and a decent story helped too.
2. The dialogue was largely stilted, stiff and seemed to be either poorly written or poorly translated. Notable exception to this was Mr. Tony Oliver---still, as always, masterfully giving us the voice of Rick---if only for about three lines.
3. The techno-speak was overdone to the point of foolishness. I agree with the other reviewer---"lose this 'delta vector theta niner' [...]. Well said. We Robotech fans do not need that garbage to fill in the dead air, a simple "De-Fold" followed by something constructive would have sufficed.
4. I'm glad I'll live to see 2044...since all the women have huge racks and perfect bodies at that point in time. Too bad I'll be in my sixties. And seriously...blue hair was cool in Max Sterling's (or any Zentraedi...since they're aliens, I'll allow it) case...but can we seriously stop w/ the purple hair/mauve eyes or blue hair/blue eyes combo on every other character?
5. The movie putters over the finish line with all the grace and style of a heavily drugged elephant, wrapping up with a cliffhanger ending...which is really little more than the same situation the story opened up gift-wrapped in the trappings of accomplishment. Look at the situation...okay, the Invid left Earth (because they pretty much didn't want it anymore). What else did the humans really accomplish? The Haydonites suffered a trivial setback and the SDF-3 is STILL lost. Hooray! Our enemies either gave up fighting us or consider us only a minor aggravation! This is not the humanity-reaffirming Robotech that we know and love.
If I have to wait another ten years to see a quality Robotech product, I will...but if I'm writing another negative review in 2017, I'm gonna be upset. The title says it all...a little Khyron in this movie would've helped tremendously.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2007
Anime fans has been waiting for years for a sequel to the Robotech TV series and the anticipation of "The Shadow Chronicles" has only brought more excitement when it was announced in 2004 about the start of the production of a new Movie.
Set at the final attack by the returning Robotech Expeditionary Force against the Invid Hive, we pretty much re-cap what happened at the end from the TV Series.
It has been twenty years since Adm. Hunter left Earth, in search of the Robotech Master's home world and many of the new crew have never set foot on Earth let alone have seen it. But they are all willing to die to free the home world of humanity.
We also introduce a new species, the Children of the Shadow. They gave Humanity the technology to defeat the Invid, specifically the Shadow Devices and the neutron-s missile technology to make them invisible to the Invid. But there is a cost to being allied with enemies of the Invid.
I kind of wonder how much more Earth can handle being pummeled, first by the Zentraedi, then the Robotech Masters, and then the Invid.
If you remember the TV episodes, you should easily catch up with Scott Bernard at the start of the movie. The movie is about 1.5hrs and you are getting an hour of new events. You just have to ignore the exodus of the Invid from Earth and the characters of Scott's Resistance force (because we don't hear about them)
The animation is set at a higher standard since the TV episodes but does not come close to Macross Zero. Characters are much more detailed (females are being more, ahem, classic anime style) and the Veritech fighter battle scenes are a wonder to see.
And, unlike the TV series, we are getting some unexpected deaths during the movie and more graphic then what the usual anime episodes that was usually shown in the US market. If you ever watched the uncensored or original Japanese episodes of, say, Star Blazers (Space Cruiser Yamato) and compare it to what was actually shown in the US, you know what I mean.
You are hearing many familiar names (such as Grant and Sterling), and voices since they managed to get the original voice-over actors, including the voice of Adm. Rick Hunter.
I have to say, I really think the writers of the movie were watching WAY too much Star Trek when they wrote up the script of The Shadow Chronicles as I can clearly see some of the "style" of Star Trek in The Shadow Chronicles.
I am not sure how much more I can say about the movie w/o revealing the ending but I will say if you are a fan of Robotech, this is a good continuation of the series. But personally, I was hoping for more then what they gave us and waiting for 20 years since the final TV episode, they should have put more into the story line or make this movie longer.
Some questions do come to mind though...
#1 After 20 years, did Adm. Hunter find the Robotech Master's homeworld?
#2 Has humanity found an extreme fitness craze in the 21st century or did everyone just decide to wear skin tight clothes/uniforms?
#3 How much stress IS Adm. Hunter under since he has aged horribly? ( I mean come on! He was gone ONLY 20 years???)
I give this 3 out of 5 Veritech Fighters.
Favorite Quotes -->
"Yeah, Invid contact my ***!" General Reinhardt [yes, they manage to make a cuss word appropriate in a cartoon :)]
"All this technology and they can't put in an elevator?" Capt. Vincent Grant
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2009
The character designs must've been done by the Japanese counterpart to Robert Crumb: the female characters in "The Shadow Chronicles" make Jessica Rabbit look like an Olympic gymnast. How ridiculously out of proportion? [...].
Other than that...although it was nice to see Scott Bernard get rid of his cowlick and (briefly) ride a Cyclone once again, since everyone else from "New Generation" is forgotten, this cartoon feels forced and artificial. It's damn near impossible to encapsulate that same emotional impact that's earned over the course of eight hours and 25 episodes in a single 90 minute sitting. Why do you think a movie based on a soap opera has never been done before?
[The exception to the rule being "Serenity" which worked because Joss Whedon is a frakking genius, and Summer Glau is hot.]
If you're a fan of Robotech then by all means see this movie, but rent before you buy and beware of the cartoon women who can't see their shoes.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2009
First and foremost, the source material for Shadow Chronicles is the Jack McKinney novel "End of the Circle."
To even begin to appreciate Shadow Chronicles for what it is, you MUST MUST MUST read the Sentinel novelizations by McKinney...
That being said... I liked the CGI/ traditional animation blend. It reminds me of the animation style of Macross Zero... although, with Peter Chung's traditional (ugly) style of animation.
I'm not particularly a fan of Peter Chung's writing or storytelling, but he DOES give Robotech the political intrigue to put it on par with contemporary Macross equivalents.
My biggest problem is that this tries to do too much too soon, and there are severe character development issues in the film.
For the pre-established characters from previous RT series, its not a problem as it is assumed, however with new characters (not including those in the Sentinel's novels) they are not given adequate time for them to be redshirt fodder.
In that sense at its worst, Shadow Chronicles is like the horrendous HK English dub of "Clash of the Bionoids" that was released in the 80s... but when at its best (the last 2/3s of it) it is an amazing film that actually serves to separate itself from its Macross source material, and thrive as its own universe.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2007
I am a RABID ROBOTECH lover, having spent more than two decades as a member of the fandom. My criticsim of this series is harsh, but justified. I finally saw RT:ShC... To say I am disappointed would be a dramatic understatement.
It had some very good moments but these were interspersed with some of the most pedestrian scenes I have ever had to live through. Unlike my view of the latest entries in the "STAR WARS" saga, I know it is not my age that is the cause of my poor reaction. I still love the original ROBOTECH series as much as I ever did. But this script was just flat out lame. The cliche's were enough to make me gag and I don't know why they even bothered to draw clothes on the female characters. Their breasts looked like water balloons on the verge of bursting--clearly enhancement is standard in the ShC timeline.
As for the "new" enemy (as if we needed any more)...I was *NOT* impressed by them. The Invid in "ROBOTECH: The New Generation" were far more ominous and sinister. The new enemy is a charicature of itself.
I will say I am a fan of Maiya Sterling's. Except for her final screaming scene and perhaps the scene were she slams her fist against the arm rest completely devoid of any human passion, she is a very likeable and endearing character. This movie is not without its positives, either, as there were some very humorous exchanges among some of the characters. But I am really bummed, ESPECIALLY when one looks at "Macross Zero" as a comparison.
Four out of ten for me. The original beat this thing to death. So did widely panned "ROBOTECH: The Sentinels."
Macross Zero - 9/10
Robotech Series - 9/10
The Sentinels - 7/10
RT: Shadow Chronicles - 4/10
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2007
It's been over 20 years since the last of the 85 episodes of the original series, and us fans are now all grown up. Fortunately for Harmony Gold that means we have a lot more disposable income.
The Good - it's Robotech, damnit! We've all been waiting a long time for this. It was fun and nostalgic to watch. The animation of interior scenes and people was quite good - it was a little slick, lacking some of the texture of the hand-drawn original, but it still looked good.
The Bad - the exterior scenes looked, at best, like the CGI of season 1 or 2 of Babylon 5. Way too clean and rigid, lacking a certain smoothness. Moreover, the plot was also eerily like that of Babylon 5 (the mysterious and manipulative "Shadows") - after a while I was wondering whether I was simply watching a cartoon B5.
The Ugly - well, not really, but the female characters were frankly out of control in the chest area. This is Robotech, not hentai, and it looked silly - I mean, since when was every major female character a DD? In the original series most of the strong female characters had a trim, graceful look - not so here.
The Conclusion - A must for any real Robotech fan - and a good platform to improve on for future offerings.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2007
I'm a huge Robotech fan and was very excited to see this movie and the extras on this 2-DVD set. I'd been a bit disappointed with The Sentinels (the few episodes they made) but I love the Robotech series and wanted to see how The Shadow Chronicles measured up.
The storyline for The Shadow Chronicles was better than I expected. The story takes up exactly where the original Robotech series ended, with the exodus of the Invid from Earth. Character actions and decisions are logical and flow smoothly. The overall story arc is cohesive and satisfying. As a writer, I was very happy with the plot and the characters.
I was a bit disappointed with the animation. While the original Robotech didn't have great animation, either, I thought there was a certain flow to the animation that seems missing here. I also didn't like the switch to computer animation from traditional animation during the mecha shots. It was a bit disconcerting for me, although viewers used to that kind of shift probably won't be bothered by it.
The extras are great. Robotech fans especially will enjoy the featurettes, deleted scenes, and the behind-the-scenes extras included:
Birth of a Sequel featurette
Anime Selects featurette
Original Score Music video
Robotech 3000 Promo
AIPoN Anime Podcast
Galleries with Production Designs
In all, I liked this 2-disc set quite a bit. People more interested in the story and not the extras will probably want the single-disc set, but the extras included here are very satisfying for Robotech fans.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2007
To be honest, if it hadn't had the "Robotech" label on, it would have gotten two stars (or less...). I've been an avid Robotech fan since I was introduced to the novels back in 1991 (missed it when it first aired on TV). I went on to read all of the books multiple times and caught every episode at least twice while it was aired on the Sci-Fi channel. I've built the models, played the RPG and am a retular visitor to robotech.com, so I was, obviously, looking forward to this movie for quite some time. I should have learned by now that nothing ever lives up to the hype. Granted, this movie is really only a pilot episode by HG to see just how much $$$ Robotech is still capable of bringing in (hey, money makes the world go round), but they may have alienated more fans than they brought in with this one. I hate to say it, but first and foremost - as numerous people have already mentioned - the women were so rediculously out of proportion it was like I was watching an episode of Love Hina. Robotechs light-hearted silliness is based on substance, not rediculous drawings, I mean, c'mon, did a h*rny 13-year-old make that call? Next, on to the animation quality. Overall, the animation was ok (hard lines and weak shading not withstanding), but the CG stuff was really disappoinging. The veritechs looked pretty good, but movement was akward and often choppy. The explosions ranged from pretty good to just plain lousy. The ships weren't too bad, but the invid didn't really do it for me either. I guess CG is the wave of the future, but it will never be able to take the place of hand-drawn animation. The story and characters also left a lot to be desired - many MAJOR characters were not present or even mentioned. Rumor has it that some were killed off, while others will 'make their appearance' if another installment is ever made. The familiar voices were definitely a plus though. I was more than glad to see just how many of the original cast made it back. In conclusion, this episode didn't add ALL that much to the story, but it did end rather abruptly to leave us hanging. As a die-hard Robotech fan, you may feel compelled to buy it, but I urge you to rent, even if it means more won't be made.