I can’t believe it’s already the 21st and Empire of Corpses is no longer in theatres! Did anyone besides me go watch it? I’ve been going to watch the Funimation movies pretty faithfully but I always wonder why the theatres they’re shown at are so random. I ended up going to this one place about 1.5 hours away, which, considering how far I am from the city, isn’t that uncommon.
But I always wonder why they can’t be shown at an AMC theatres, that way I could just go somewhere closer…
Empire of Corpses follows the adventure of John Watson during 19th century Europe. Having been found out for desecrating his friend’s grave and reanimating him using corpse technology, Watson agrees to help the government on the mission to recover Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s notes, which are said to contain the secret to reanimating a corpse with a soul (reviving).
Teaming up with Frederick Burnaby, Watson and Friday end up traveling across countries in search for these notes.
As the credits appeared on screen I whispered to my brother, “I’d ship it if Friday weren’t dead.” Sorry (not sorry) but the fujoshi mind works 24/7, 365 days a year
what am I saying I don’t care if he’s dead! But yes, as I was trying to figure out what was going on (the plot), I ended up really amazed at the relationship between Watson and Friday. Usually when you try to revive a dead person, it’s because you want to see them again, but I felt it was different this time around. Yes, Watson did want to see Friday again (at some point I believe he yells out something like ‘I want to see my friend again’) but the reason for all of this was more scientific.
I’ll try not to spoil anything, but the question they were searching to prove is where does the soul reside? Is it in language? Is the person still alive (soul) after they’ve been reanimated with corpse technology?
I really enjoyed Watson and Friday. I really admired how far Watson was willing to go for science and his friend (would I have had the gall to do what he did, most likely not, especially not what he did at the end). Friday was also the most fun corpse to watch even though he looked dead 100% of the time. He mostly followed orders but there were moments when he made me laugh!
Like the time he was on the horse and he was just sprawled across it or when he was following Watson out of this building and he got stuck because he didn’t move the door’s curtain (so he kind of trips). Oh, and then there was the time when he was writing down stuff and Watson tells him not to write something down. Friday ends up writing ‘don’t write that down.’ Ah, he was so cute~ I wish I had pictures of this (but I don’t).
We also had Frederick, who was like background noise. I mean, he did know how to fight with a statue and fish, and he was good for muscles, but that was all he was there for. He also came out of nowhere and took off with Friday at the beginning of the movie but apparently he was going to be Watson’s partner so that made it all okay…
And our last piece to this crew was Hadaly Lilith. How her boobs worked is a mystery to me (and how they changed mid-movie is too). Anywho, Hadaly Lilith was one of the characters that made the least sense to me. Why? Because she wasn’t human, but she wasn’t dead (some kind of android), and she could somehow control the dead. I suppose we needed a convenient ally who was a woman so that the bad guy could try to steal her body so…yeah
The thing that bugged me about her character (weren’t her boobs but they were a close second) was that she was very human but believed otherwise. We learn that she was created to be human but was considered a failure because she couldn’t feel human emotions, which is why she joins and begs Watson to find out the secret in Victor’s journal. Personally she was human enough. She had dreams (becoming human) and feelings (the thought of not being human depresses her and at the end she’s also happy).
If dreams, feelings, critical thinking, and language doesn’t make us human then I think everyone isn’t human.
I suppose I can say that our antagonist had the right intentions (world peace) but was going about it the WRONG way (let’s kill everyone). I had to double check with my brother to see if this was really what was going on. I mean, it makes sense. All we have to do is kill everyone to achieve world peace, but then there’ll be nobody to appreciate the peace…
I’m bad at little details so I had this guy (Mycroft “M” Holmes) confused with The One for the whole movie. Whoops. They were both of the antagonist variety so it didn’t really matter. But yes, I wasn’t particularly impressed with either of these characters and felt that their presence was more for the sake of having a bad guy.
Especially that green ending they concoct for us. Makes me wonder if that happens in the novel.
EoC World Problems
Most of the problems I noticed were in the world building and how things just weren’t explained.
Like the title implies, 19th century Earth can be described as a Corpse Empire. At some point this corpse technology was accessed and corpses were reanimated for labor and war. While initially shunned by the public, it started to gain acceptance as time passed. Its first supporters were women, as they didn’t want their husbands and children drafted for war.
When a corpse is reanimated, they get assigned a job. In Friday’s case, his job is to record everything that is said, but I’m left wondering. How can he understand language, how can he write, and how does he know more than one language (translation)? Do they have the abilities of the people who had died? This part really got to me the more I thought about it because language requires a lot of thought and decision making, especially translation. Corpses aren’t supposed to know decision making, which is one of the reasons that The One is such a big deal. He’s the only corpse to have fully possessed human capabilities.
Speaking of The One, we learn that he can somehow control corpses and that Hadaly can too. Nothing is said about how this is possible. I figured The One’s abilities had something to do with him being the original reanimated corpse but Hadaly wasn’t even a corpse? She was some kind of robot. Was this something that non-humans could do? But there was M too. Ah, so confusing!
And the ending was a total mystery to me. All I remember is the color green.
I did enjoy the movie and I’m glad I checked it out. For the most part the characters were all interesting in their own right and I thought it was funny how I liked the dead one better. It did have a lot of problems in terms of the world it presented so if all the technical stuff bothers you, this probably isn’t the movie to watch. Personally, I would love to see this as a series with 12 episodes, where those technical problems could be expanded on, as well as THAT ENDING. If the original ending left me confused, the 4 years later one made it worse.
A lot of the characters reference other works (Sherlock Holmes, The Future Eve, Frankenstein, The Brothers Karamazov) so that was fun, not that I know any of them but my brother did and he appreciated that aspect of the movie.
I did wish I could watch the sub-version but the theatre wasn’t offering it, not that the dub wasn’t good.
If you don’t mind spoilers (or if you already watched this movie), definitely check out these posts. They will make you see the movie in a different light, especially things concerning the ending and Friday. Are they accurate? I have no idea but they were interesting reads.
I might end up writing a short spoiler-filled post next. But what did you guys think? Did you watch it in theatres? Was it a journey getting there? Was I the only person who was confused?! Let me know!