Friday, January 27, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #53: "Akira" (1988)

Movie Stats:
Released 1988 (Japan)
Japanese, in Japanese (I saw a version that was dubbed in English)
Director - Katsuhiro Otomo
Stars - Cam Clarke, Jan Rabson, Lara Cody

Plot Summary:
In post-apocalyptic New Tokyo, two teenaged members of a motorcycle gang - Kaneda (Clarke) and Tetsuo (Rabson) - get caught up in a very dangerous government plot. Cody co-stars as Kei, a woman also involved in the plot/Kaneda’s love interest.

Lots of violence; gore; brief female nudity (breasts only); blue language.

Bad Stuff:
I recently saw someone online reference this movie and say, “What the hell did I just watch?” So apparently some people find it confusing. I didn’t think it was, but I could see how it would be too philosophical/out there for a lot of moviegoers.

This is probably a dumb thing to criticize, but I could’ve done without the creepy little kids and their creepy little kid voices.

The occasional attempts at humor felt out of place within the context of the film.

Good Stuff:
The animation is impressive.

I liked the plot. It’s complex and engaging. It felt realistic, particularly the behavior of the government, i.e. “What, we screwed something up? Let’s do it the exact same way and see if we screw it up again.” I also enjoyed the friendship between Kaneda and Tetsuo, and that the film recognized that friendships can be both important and complicated.

The soundtrack is great.

The Verdict:
I thought this was a really solid film. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the biggest fan of Japanese anime. In my opinion, it has a tendency to be really weird, usually in a way that makes me uncomfortable. This one was no exception when it came to weirdness, but I found that I didn’t mind. The overall plot saves it from straying into my dislike category, largely because it’s coherent and interesting. As usual, I wish I could’ve seen it in its original language with subtitles, but that wasn’t the version I was sent. In the end, I thought these voice actors were better than most (I see on IMDB that all of them have had very active careers), so it wasn’t much of a distraction. Definitely a film you should watch at least once in your lifetime.

I give it 4 stars.


Patricia said...

Good job whoever put together the list for including anime. Diversity of styles!

That said, I'm not a fan of anime either, so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Also, the "screwed that thing up, let's try again the same way" reminds me of Vietnam.

balyien said...

So true re: Vietnam.