Monday, April 16, 2018

ANI-MOVIES, *Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole

Zack Snyder's films might have most superhero fans seriously divided concerning his works, but Legend Of The Guardians(no relation to the Rise Of The Guardians), which was based on the Guardians Of Ga'Hoole children's book series by Kathryn Lasky usually gets positive reviews. This fully CGI animated filmn collects the first three books in the series into a single timeline, and was an American/Australian production done mostly by the outback's own Animal Logic, which also created alot of the effects for The Great Gatsby.

A family of owls dwells in peace in their forest in Australia, but the two sons Soren and Kludd are kidnapped by thug owls working for the Pure Ones, an army of renegade owls lead by the scarred Metal Beak amassing numbers in their efforts to conquer the lands. Soren befriends the smaller owlet Gylfie, and the two manage to escape the Pure Ones, while Kludd is seduced by Metal Beak's consort, the malevolent Nyra. The two escapees run into a duo of stray owls, Digger and Twilight, and they all head for the great tree of The Guardians, the ruling kingdom of owls that maintains peace throughout the region. The young heroes tell their story the The Guardians, which leads into an epic battle of owl vs. owl with talon daggers, battle armor, and a magnetic sonic boom!

The film works surprisingly good considering it ties together three whole books, even though your average children's novel isn't more than 100 pages, but it also carries out as an exciting fantasy/adventure. It captures the essence of Don Bluth's The Secret Of Nimh, along with the style of fantasy in a Tolkien story. The animation is even beyond Pixar standards, and truly excels by making the owls appear as actual owls while still taking on human personalities. Despite alot of conflicting criticism on his works after this, Zack Snyder put together a well crafted production, both in story and development. The voice cast is top-notch too, with stars like Hugo Weaving and Helen Mirren. Forget the DVD, and just get the Blu-Ray to enjoy the pure visual glory!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What is a cosplay girl's purpose?

ANI-MOVIES, *Your Name

What surprisingly became the #1 selling blockbuster anime movie of all time(so far!), Your Name is a romantic sci-fi comedy directed by Makoto Shinkai. Given his work on other titles like Voices Of A Distant Star and The Place Promised In Our Early Days dealing with starcrossed lovers separated by some otherworldly element.

Teenager Mitsuha lives out in the country, and helps maintain her family's shrine while hoping someday to move to the big city. Meanwhile, Taki is a loner high schooler who works part-time as a waiter in Tokyo. For some mostly unexplained reason, the two keep waking up in other's bodies, periodically switching their lives for a day at a time. Mitsuha keeps trying to help Taki with his interest in a waitress co-worker, while Taki learns more about being the troubled daughter of the pushy mayor of a small town. The two of them communicate with each other either through texting, or leaving notes to each other via notes, and sometimes on each other's hands. Taki then comes to realize he has feelings for Mitsuha when the body-swapping , and keeps trying to text her, but nothing gets through, so he sets off to find her mountain village. However, it turns out Mitsuha's village had been destroyed by a comet three years ago, and the body-swapping and texting taking place in real time during their own individual timelines. Now that he learns of her fate, Taki begins to loose his memories of Mitsuha, but one last body-swap sends him back to her body just before the comet was supposed to hit, giving him the chance to rescue the residents of town, including Mitsuha. This however sets up a new timeline where Taki and Mitsuha don't remember each other's prior experiences as "each other", but seem destined to recognizing themselves as they keep frequently meeting up nearing the finale.

Despite it's overwhelming success, and enchanting animation, the movie itself doesn't seem to play out like an actual feature-length film. It appears to be more like an OVA series compilation movie, including it's own episode intro theme. It works as an ongoing story, but putting it all into a single three-act film slightly works against it as alot of the mechanics behind the body-swapping and time dilation don't match up that well. You could just label the continuity flaws as "time magic", but considering that this is coming from Makoto Shinkai whose prior works paid particular attention to synchronizing alternate perspectives on time and space. Your Name is however an engaging modern day romantic fantasy, and sure to appeal to even non-otaku.