Size: 14.6 MB
Satanik, the notorious criminal well known for his meticulous heists and killings, is on the loose. Not only is he seemingly unstoppable, but everybody that actually DOES try to stop him ends up dead. Inspector Mercier, however, is dead set on bringing Satanik to justice. But is justice really what he wants? What exactly does he want? And what does Satanik want, too? And what are they willing to lose to get what they want? Executed with a very original and delicate cinematic "windowing" technique, Satanik is a movie that shows that crime and killing movies, when done correctly, can still shine above the rest.
In the end, all movies about a homicidal criminal mastermind are pretty much the same, right? He or she goes around, kills people, eludes the protagonist for a while, and eventually either gets killed or jailed, or ends up taking over the world. In a way, that's pretty much how they all go. That doesn't mean they will necessarily have a wimpy storyline to back up the otherwise unnecessary killing. Satanik brings not only delicate heist missions into the story, but more importantly characters who have actual depth beyond their ability to kill or fight crime. Satanik is who he is not because of what he does, but because of what he did. And Inspector Mercier isn't just some rumdrum needed to counteract Satanik's cunning; he has a back story too. And not just back stories, but actual character relationships that are believable and strong. Since movies like this are often inherently weak when it comes to storyline, it's usually up to the characters to come to the rescue and give meaning to the movie. The characters in this movie, all of whom you grow fond of in the end (even Satanik), do that job very well. Very few movies in this genre can do that.
Okay, I admit it. I thought the crazy "windowing" in the movie was done very, very well and was very unique. Several directors had dabbled with it before (as did I in my FFEpic Prologue, to a very small extent), but Andres took the idea and went all-out with it. The idea of constricting the viewing area to a tiny little spot really helps force your attention to where it needs to be, a problem many movies have because so much can happen all over the place at once that it becomes difficult to know where you're supposed to look. Even without the windowing scheme, Satanik still manages to incorporate techniques and visual catches that, even after reviewing movies for six years, I haven't seen done before… or at least so well. It's a good thing, too, that Andres didn't make the windowing the star of the show; on the contrary, it was only a helping role to the more important aspects, namely the characters. And as far as using the new tools of the expansion packs, Satanik makes it seem like they've been around since the beginning of 3DMM. The movie doesn't rely on them per say; rather, where they would make a unique twist to an otherwise tried and true method of doing things, they're used. And they're used very well.
Needless to say, that windowing must have been a royal pain to work with for the length of the 35-some minute movie, especially when you consider that a lot of the time, it's covering up a lot of very well-made scenery! While some scenes are kept comparatively simple, it is often only because the scenery isn't the focus. When the main stars of the show, the characters, are around, overly-intricate scenery is often kept down in favor of bringing the viewer's attention to what really matters. And that's one of the things that makes Satanik so well-built: it lets you know what you need to be thinking at just about every moment. Through windowing, the sometimes very unusual music, colors, and abstraction of detail, Andres guides you through his movie so that you can reach the end. Otherwise, you could just get caught up in how well everything fits together that you forget the main purpose of the movie is to tell a story.
Visual Appearance: *****
Oftentimes, action movies such as Satanik thrive on neat visual effects. So, naturally, Satanik does a good job at being a feast for the eyes. The new expansion textures allow for otherwise "good" scenes to be upgraded to "great" ones, and the very articulate usage of the windowing technique gives it a very different type of visual flair. Fortunately, though, Satanik doesn't fall prey to the pitfall of using some visual gag far too often. Sometimes you'll see the detailed textures recede, and even the much-touted windowing takes a back seat in some scenes. As with any good movie, the point is not to make your viewer go blind with special effect after special effect: it's to make them enjoy what they're seeing.
Voice actors are finally getting the recognition they deserve. With the availability of all sorts of compression algorithms and importing techniques, voice actors can truly shine and produce some very stunning voices for characters that could otherwise be muted by 3DMM's often shoddy voice recording system (and the fatal flaw with recording within 3DMM when running Windows XP). Voices in Satanik match the characters very well, and very rarely does it seem like they are being forced. Some of the sound effects here and there seemed to be a bit too loud and almost out of place, and sometimes the voices were slightly drowned out by the music, but by and large they fit in well. And speaking of music... what an interesting choice in music. Sometimes the music choice fits well, and other times you'll go, "Wha?" However, it's a good "Wha?" if there could be such a thing. Oh, and let's not forget the awesome song at the end. You'll have to hear it to believe it.
Fun to Watch: ****
Historically, I have never really liked action movies of this type too much. They usually don't click with me, which is why I often give them low ratings. However, this is often because they are, simply put, executed poorly. Satanik is a pleasant change of this trend. It's not totally based on pointless killing: it's got very developed characters, lots of unique details, and even some comedy thrown in. Fancy that. But, like I said, in the end, all movies about a homicidal criminal mastermind are pretty much the same, and as such, it wasn't quite as entertaining as some other films. Overall, though, Satanik is definitely a worthwhile download and will definitely go down in history as one of the coolest and inspired action flicks ever made. Good job, Andres.