Friday, November 16, 2007

ブレイブ・ストーリー/Brave Story

(Movie Review)

Another review of an anime movie that has yet to be released in the US (although it's already over a year old in Japan). If you're reading this State side, consider this a sneak preview I guess.

Actually this is an interesting case because this is a Japanese movie that was released under the American studio Warner Brothers. And to be honest I'm not entirely sure what the story behind that is. (There's not a lot of info in English about this movie on line). If anyone out there knows more than I do, feel free to drop a comment.

The basic plot of this movie is a familiar one. A 5th grade boy, suffering from problems at home and being bullied at school, suddenly goes into a fantasy world where he becomes a hero, makes many new and wonderful friends, and ends up saving the whole world. To greater or lesser degrees the same idea can be found in "The Never Ending Story", "Last Action Hero", "Labyrinth", "Alice in Wonderland", "Peter Pan", et cetera, etc, etc.

Despite being pure childhood wish fulfillment, these movies can at their best be a great showcase for the imagination, and show a strange land filled with many wonderful and strange creatures.

However there is a line they have to walk. If they are too strange or too random it is hard to get absorbed in the story.

The plot of this movie is fairly linear, but at times it crosses the line. My main complaint is that it is never clear what powers a lot of these characters have, and they manifest new powers as needed to get out of whatever tight spot they happen to be in at the time.

There are also several questions or plot points that are never fully explained. I won't list them all here, because it won't be of interest to anyone who hasn't seen this movie, but if you ever end up watching this movie try and make a list of every question you have that is never fully answered. (Maybe some of these questions are answered in the book.)
There are also a few scenes that seem like they were brutally cut in the editing room, and start or end rather abruptly.

And yet despite the fact that a lot of scenes could have used more exposition, I found this film too long to sit through as it was. The last half hour or so I was really getting antsy. This is one of those films where you wish it were longer, and yet it was a bit hard to sit through as it was.

Part of the problem is that, like a lot of Anime, this film gets a bit preachy, especially near the end. And that creates a lot of dead time. And like a lot of Anime, it doesn't really end up saying anything too profound. Instead we are treated to grade school speeches on morality about how you can't sacrifice everyone else for your own happiness.

But then of course this is a movie primarily aimed at children, so I shouldn't be too critical. Children's movies back in the US can be just as preachy.

Link of the Day
Via This Modern World
The Writers Strike Explained in Under 4 Minutes
and Daily Show writers on writers strike

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