Released Year : June 2, 2005 to ????
No of Episodes : 1
Genre : Action,Fantasy,Mecha,Military,Sci-Fi,Supernatural
Plot : Ark takes place on a dying alien world in which a global war between two technologically advanced human civilizations has reduced the planet to a wasteland. The only way to escape the world is by activating the Ark, an ancient giant robot capable of supporting a human city as well as traveling through space. (Source: Wikipedia)
Our Review : Actually, I'm really not sure why this is listed on MAL because it is not Japanese, but I added it to my own list simply because it was cataloged. Ark is a film that was animated by Digital Rim (does anyone else know anything about this company because 'hahaha' I don't either), directed by Kenny Hwang and produced by John Woo (who is a notable Chinese film director/writer/producer). It's biggest hook was that it stars the voice of a well known actor named James Woods as Jallak (who was also featured in the English dub of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within), but other than that, it seems that not many people know of or have seen this movie (it is a bit rare). If you try to look it up anywhere on the internet, you likely won't find much information about it (and this is part of the reason why I decided to write this review). I myself watched it on television a few years ago. I'm pretty sure that it had aired on Encore WAM (and had played on this channel only for a short time).
This movie marketed itself as CGI similar to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. This is by no means a bad movie, but anytime when one tries to tell an epic story in under two hours, it is going to feel a bit rushed (especially since this movie was aiming for such a big plot and had so many characters in it). That said, given the run time of this movie, I think the characterization was very well done. From the start of the movie, you're thrown into a fully fleshed out world where you are introduced to two different civilizations: the Ceveans and the Storrians. The back story is that these two technologically advanced human races had reduced the planet they inhabited to a wasteland. When it became apparent that their planet was dieing, to save themselves, they worked together to construct “The Ark.” The Ark is basically a ginormous spaceship that is capable of supporting an entire human city. The plans for the Ark were passed down from the gods (another alien race), and the idea was that it was to be piloted by a Cevean priestess named Amiel (who would be the savior of everyone as she would fly The Ark with all of the people on it to some other distant planet where they all could live and thrive). However, the design flaw in The Ark is that it was built to only support Amiel's unique molecular structure...and the problem is that Amiel died before she could move The Ark (thus the people were never able to travel to another planet).
Years later, The Storrians have taken over The Ark, where they live in a city environment (with somewhat advanced technology) that gives them a false sense of security while the Ceveans are either forced to manage on their own in the wasteland outside of The Ark...or they are captured and sold as slaves to the Storrians (so there is a bit of a caste system going on). It is also pretty apparent that the Storrians fear the Ceveans but consider themselves "above" them. All of that info might seem kind of spoilery, but it is really just the back story...which you are introduced to at the very start of the film. The 'real' story revolves around a young girl named Amarinth and her quest to find out her true identity and purpose after meeting a Cevean resistance fighter named Rogan.
The plot seems a bit predictable, and I'd actually compare this movie's overall feeling to something like "The Fifth Element.” I did enjoy watching it, however. The characters were maybe a bit stereotypical of this genre, but they were likable. The voice acting was well done, and the CGI was comparable to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (you must understand, however, that this movie came out a few years after The Spirits Within so I would say that it isn't as impressive but still well done). I would say that the weakest point of this movie is the sound design as I honestly cannot remember any of the music that played - which tells me that it probably wasn't bad but also wasn't anything spectacular or memorable.
Overall, I scored this as an 8. If you are able to find it somewhere, it's a nice watch if you enjoy science fiction movies with an epic storyline. I don't think the movie quite lived up to it's own expectation of itself, but it was involving and enjoyable none-the-less.