Film Review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

I’ve been meaning to watch this moving for quite some time, so given I was in the mood for Anime after watching From Up On Poppy Hill yesterday I decided to give The Girl Who Leapt Through Time a watch.

This is a review of the 2006 Animated version of the film, the film is based on a 1967 book by  Yasutaka Tsutsui and there have been a number of adaptations of it (TV series, TV drama, live action movies and manga). Given that it’s been adapted so many times I’m going to assume the source material is pretty good and will have to look the original book up.

This film centres on 17 year old Makoto Konno who lives with her family and accidentally gains the ability to travel back in time. Her time travel takes the form of her rewinding the clock rather than her physically travelling back in time. This gives her the opportunity to relive events that have happened and in doing so alter their out come by behaving differently. If you seen “The Butterfly Effect” it’s a bit like that.

To start with this has comical effect Makoto goes back and has the “Perfect Day” having seen everything that went wrong with her day and fixing it, but of course events don’t happen in isolation and inevitably Makoto finds herself having to back track to “re-correct” the changes she’s made to get a better outcome as the net result of her time travelling escapades wreaks havoc on the lives of the people around her.

The characters in this are amazing, Makoto is brilliantly done and you will find yourself really connecting with her, less so with her slightly distant friends but they are still well written and well played and you learn that there is a reason that they are slightly distant.

I really enjoyed this movie, I’d happily watch it again and I’d even debate looking up some of the previous incarnations of the story. In the west you will probably find this film sorted among the Studio Ghibli films, and although it’s not a Ghibli Film if you like Ghibli you will probably like this film too.

 

Film Review: From Up On Poppy Hill

“I was expecting more talking cats” was what one of the people I went to see From Up On Poppy Hill came out of the film saying. Studio Ghibli have become famous in the west for surreal fantasy Anime like Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. What a lot of westerners don’t seem to know is that they are also famous for making emotionally charged films that are set in the real world.

There are no talking cats in this film, no sentient fires, no giant forest spirits just people. And that’s not a bad thing.

From Up On Poppy Hill is based on a Japanese serialized comic by Chizuru Takahashi  and is the story of a high school kid in 1960’s Japan, the Olympics are just around the corner and the school club house is being threatened with demolition. Also she’s fallen for a boy with whom circumstances arise that make her feelings a little awkward.

It’s a whimsical tale, heart warming at parts and laugh out loud fun at others, the incidental characters make this film as much as the leads, I think I could watch an entire movie starring the head of the philosophy club, or the bespectacled artist sister of the main character.

If you come into this film expecting talking cats, you are going to be disappointed, the only magic in this film is in the interaction between the characters. If you come into the film expecting character growth, good story telling and an insight into what it was like to be a kid in 1960’s Japan, then I don’t think you will be walking away from it in the slightest bit disappointed.

Film Review: Moon

Moon is the story of an astronaut nearing the end of a three year mission on the dark side of the moon. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) has been on the Moon for almost 3 years and he really wants to get back to home to his wife and kid on earth.

He’s been living in total isolation with no real time communications for 3 years so has gone a bit loopy, his only company is his robot caretaker “GERTY” (Voiced by Kevin Spacey). GERTY is s work of genius, a believable robot with echos of HAL from 2001 with a screen that shows emoticons that evoke how the robot is feeling, it’s really well done and Spacey is spot on at playing an emotionless robot.

Anyway without wanting to ruin the film for you, suffice it to say that hijinks ensue, leading Sam to many existential questions. It’s not as trippy as 2001 but I’d say that this film is definately old school Sci-Fi for a new generation. The plot is rock solid, the acting is amazing, and the characters are believable. What more could you ask for.

A word of warning, don’t read any synopsis’ of the film as it will ruin the film for you, it’s best to go into this film knowing as little as possible and just experiencing it for what it is.

A little bit of trivia that I found out while reading the Metro today: Duncan Jones the writer/director of Moon is also known as Zowie Bowie, thats right he’s David Bowie‘s son.