Anatomy 2 (2003)

It seems to me that the people who created Anatomy 2 and I are at a fundamental disagreement about what made the first Anatomy good. I liked Franka Potente in the lead role, I liked the humor the film had, I enjoyed the mystery, and I found the ever-present threat of a secret organization that anyone could be apart of chilling. The filmmakers seemed to think that the organization itself was most important, so the sequel disregards the parts I liked about the first film and focuses on that.

It also doesn’t feature much of Franka Potente. Oh, she’s included (and featured prominently on the DVD artwork and in the advertising), but she has two or three scenes, none of which amount to anything. It’s more of a glorified cameo than anything else, and apart from the connection with the AAA, a cult which performs medical experiment while disregarding laws and morality, she’s the only tie we have to the previous film. Here, she’s a police investigator trying to shut down the AAA. Her character is unnecessary, as is that subplot, especially considering that’s not the direction that Anatomy 2 wants to take.

Anyway, this film is more concerned with a branch of this illegal organization. We start with a character who already can practice as a doctor. His name is Joachim (Barnaby Metschurat), and while working as a doctor, he wants to somehow find the time to research a way to cure his brother’s disability (muscular dystrophy). He ends up meeting up with a couple of people who might be able to help him achieve this goal, and before you know it, he’s having his own tendons and muscles replaced with synthetic ones. “In the name of science,” right?

Essentially, this man gets into the group and because of this, we get to see its inner-workings. The problem with AAA in the first film was that it never seemed all that evil. Sure, they had questionable practices, but their motives weren’t all that questionable. A few bad seeds ruined it, sure, but it doesn’t make for a particularly heinous operation. The same is true here, and as a result, some of the character overreactions seem completely ridiculous.

Once we get inside of this group, we learn much more than we did in the first Anatomy. We find out that their goal in life is to win a Nobel Peace Prize by finding out a way to cure the seemingly incurable. If it costs a few lives along the way, then that’s okay for them. They don’t test on animals for some reason, presumably because they have willing test subjects (the other members of the group), and moving directly into human testing helps skips a few steps and save a few years.

What happens to the plot now that our lead has been accepted into the group? Well, it degenerates and there’s not much to it. Detective work about the group is being done, but that’s happening thanks to characters we don’t know or care about. Someone shows up at one point to try to tell Joachim about the group’s nefarious goals (like curing Joachim’s brother’s illness), but is stopped and then killed. That’s about as much mystery as there is to this film; everything is left wide out in the open for us to see, and as a result, there’s no tension or anything to learn.

Once again, one twist occurs that results in absolutely nothing. The character in question only appeared once previously, and after her true motivations are revealed, she never appears again. I understand the point behind it (AAA is more powerful and wide-reaching than you might initially think), but do it with a character that matters, or establish this one more before attempting to surprise us.

At least Anatomy 2 doesn’t even want us think it’s a horror film. The film’s tagline, “A new experiment in terror,” might want you to assume that, but the way it was shot and edited didn’t even attempt scares or even suspense. This is really just a drama with a couple of moral message moments mixed in. I can’t remember a point where the film tried to build tension or scare me. It almost turns into an action film at one point as well, when a chase scene occurs. I suppose that might be tense if we thought the villain was truly evil or if we liked the main character, but neither is the case with this movie.

Of course, there’s another love story in this one, although it’s not featured as prominently as it was in Anatomy. I was thankful for that, even if I wasn’t for the dialogue this time around. Perhaps the person writing the subtitles got lazy, or maybe the actual German dialogue just wasn’t as strongly written, but Anatomy 2 felt much more bland and uninspired. I laughed a lot with the first effort, but this one had far fewer of those moments. Maybe it was an effort to make the story feel more serious and make us aware of the real issues that the film wants to focus on, but it made for a less enjoyable watch.

Anatomy 2 doesn’t even feel like a sequel to Anatomy. It takes the idea of a cult of doctors who don’t care about rules and regulations, and makes an entire film around it. All attempts at horror and suspense are gone in favor of a drama. The humor has also been removed, but then again, they’re not working primarily with cadavers this time around. It’s a much different film, and I didn’t really have a good time, although I can admire it for at least changing things up. But fans of Franka Potente will be disappointed, as she’s barely in this film. Don’t believe their advertising lies!

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