first off - The Sky Crawlers
I'd watched the promo during the AFA 08' and always wanted to get a copy of it. but somehow i was just too lazy to search for the torrent during the holidays so until 2 nights ago, my friend got a HD copy of the movie =D and we all watched the movie together using his 22" LCD, and also his awesome sound system. the only thing lacking was popcorn.
anyways, 'The Sky Crawlers' is adapted from a Japanese novel written by Hiroshi Mori, and was directed by acclaimed director Mamoru Oshii . the art of the movie was illustrated by Kenji Tsuruta. now Oshii-san and Tsuruta-san are also the ones that produced Ghost in The Shell: Innocence. so expect the same storytelling style (action packed... thn slow paced and in almost near silent exposition... and the same doghound that appears in almost every Oshii-san's films. oh ya, and also the trademark big, doll-liked eyes from Tsuruta-san :P)
ok. you all know i'm not good at reviewing and summarizing things. so what i got here is a review taken from IMDb (Internet Movie Database), written by Dick Steel from Siwhich i agree of every word he says. *warning- contain spoilers*
The Sky Crawlers seem to live up to its name, that it really took its time to tell a story, but in doing so, allowed for the narrative to sink in. After all, it's brought to us by Mamoru Oshii, and as far as his filmography goes, this Japanese maestro's works is often deep, and have more than enough room for multiple viewings, each time allowing you to take away something different, or unnoticed from the previous time round.
Adapted by Chihiro Itou from Hiroshi Mori's story, you could see the themes that this movie had that would interest Oshii to be at the helm. They are nothing relatively new, as fans would see some similarities in the characters' struggle about their own existentialism, and what I enjoyed most, the connected thread between war and peace. It's like the notion of having to prepare for war that you get to enjoy some peace, and I guess every National Serviceman would have heard that at one point or another during their tour of duty.
While one can find some distinct parallels from Americanized films that pay homage or blatantly ripping off Oshii's earlier works, what I thought could have been toned down, was how toward the end, subtlety wasn't the rule of thumb, and almost every theory got explained verbatim. There were enough unanswered questions along the way to tickle your brain, leaving you guessing and drawing your own conclusions, but there were at least two crystal clear moments that decided to tell all and show all, taking away most of the fun. So in a way, you have less room to maneuver your thoughts during that after-movie discussion with friends.
I could imagine and understand any kid sitting inside a theatre hall having absolutely no patience for this masterpiece. Except for the opening sequence which had packed in the action at Top Gun pace, one's notion that this was going to be a war-action movie gets thrown out the window within 10 minutes. Naturally it has the potential to go in that direction by playing up and extending the aerial dogfights, but to do so would be to dumb this film down a lot of notches.
Granted its characters are pilots, and kid pilots at that, "Kildren" (I would like to think of it as Killer-Children) who don't seem to grow up, get careers in Corporations that seem to be waging war on behalf of nations, and pilot propeller-powered warplanes to engage their enemy in attacking and defending routines. Heck, there's even a Red Baron equivalent as the resident bogeyman too! They smoke, they kill (up in the air) and they make love, with nary an adult batting an eyelid, that you would deem them all turning a blind eye to their kids' shenanigans (of course there's a reason for this). Imagine the adults being quite nonchalant, and some even supportive, of kids fighting wars while they go about their daily lives, being quite unaffected other than being a feature in news bulletins.
So we follow the adventures, and mysteries weaved amongst the characters of Kannami Yuichi (voiced by Ryo Kase), base commander Kusanagi (Rinko Kikuchi of Babel fame, who had also collaborated in Oshii's omnibus movie Kill under the segment Assault Girl 2). The remaining supporting characters serve out their primary purpose, such as Tokino (Shosuke Tanihara) as the wingman/buddy, and Mitsuya (Chiaki Kruiyama, Kill Bill's Gogo Yubari) as the tell-all mouthpiece, which I thought that even without, the coda after the end credits roll would have summed it all up nicely.
This is Japanese anime, so its quality is excellent, with some really photo-realistic moments, and aerial dogfights that look as real as if they really built those planes and shot them in mid air. John Woo would also be proud at how balletic the shoot-em-ups can get, pulling back its punches as well to avoid any explicitness in its violence. The main theme of the soundtrack is extremely hypnotic and would linger on you for some time after the end credits roll. After all, it's by Kenji Kawai.
This is not an action movie, period. If that's the kind of movie you're expecting, then my advice would be to save your ticket money. If you're looking toward something that's more contemplative, and dealing with themes that would make you think along the way (until the two mentioned moments where the hints get more obvious), and maybe even appreciate life a little more, then march up to the box office when this opens next week. Highly recommended, and definitely a contender when I compile the top ten list for the year!
ok. done reading? so yep that's what the movie is about. i have bit of a clue about the story already before i started watching, so i didnt get lost like my friend did while watching it. besides the awesome theme and storyline, what intrigued me is the directing of the movie, the style of storytelling used.
it's an animation, yes. and most animation shown in the cinema eg. Disney animated films are meant for family/children. they are fun and easy to watch. but unlike the Disney animation, The Sky Crawlers has a much more mature approach for the theme and storyline. and not many (among my friends) will appreciate this movie for the way the movie is directed. at times there are really still scenes in the movie, scenes without any music or dialogue , scenes only showing what the character is doing. some people may find the silence irritating, but i really find it intriguing and realistic, as if i was inside the movie as well. watching their every moves on the spot, thus the silence around. the silence in those scenes are thought-provoking, which is why i love it. now i know why my Video Production lecturer wants us to produce a short film (2 minutes max) without any dialogue :P
what adds up the stars to the rating of the movie is the music used inside "The Sky Crawlers". composed by Kawai Kenji. another ace in music composing industry aside from Yoko Kanno and Yuki Kaijura. Kawai Kenji also did the soundtrack for Hong Kong movie "Ip Man", "GundamOO", "Ghost in the Shell: Innocence", and "Death Note" movies. the main theme of 'The Sky Crawlers" is enough to make one drown into a sea of bittersweet emotions. sad yet beautiful; weak but powerful. that's how i feel every time i listen to the music. as if the music is telling you the whole story of "The Sky Crawlers" already, about the bittersweet affair between the 2 main characters; about the melancholy life that the Kildrens are living. Kildrens are created to be destroyed in a game of war, yet their mindset are strong and live like normal people. the music portrays them all.
it has been a long time since i have such huge feelings after watching a film. truly an amazing masterpiece from Mamoru Oshii.
ok. the other film which i was planning to write about is "Burn After Reading". and actually i'm getting lazy to type. =_= so i'll just state my views about this movie. ahem. may contain spoilers.
the idiocy of the characters have left me in despair!!!! O.O''' it is a good film nonetheless, and i really appreciate the efforts that the directors have put in just to show us how idiotic some people might be in this world. there's no good or bad guy in this film, just a group of random people in the society get caught up in some connected bull-shit events because of their own idiocy and assumptions. and whaaat? *SPOILER* Brat Pitt's character dies just like that in the middle of the film??!!!! yes he is being funny in the movie, and it's interesting to watch him being an idiot after catching his stunning performance in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (omg, i get to see him in his 20s again in the film!!!! *hot hot!!!*)
"I know the man~" and Chad dances happily (or gay-ly)
"F***~ that f***** just punched my nose~!" and his nose keeps on bleeding and bleeding...
the faces of Brat Pitt in Benjamin Button's. omg~ the 3rd picture~ *nosebleed* Zac Efron is NOTHING ok??!! Brat Pitt was so much hotter in his 20s. XD
anyway. "Burn After Reading"... how to say. it's not your typical Hollywood film even though many pro stars are filming in it. it's different. this movie has so much idiocy in it that i almost felt like strangling the idiot Linda's throat whose selfish and foolish demand is the cause for Chad's (Pitt's character) death!!! aaaaaargghh~~ but i love the little bit of gore inside. well.. not really gore, but violence. hehe.. using a hatchet to kill a man in broad daylight? woooo~~ and then there's the sarcasm of some of the dialogues. hehe... and let me count the amount of F word that has been whispered/said/shouted in the movie..... can't count. because there has been so much F word i heard since the very beginning of the movie. LOL!
right... it's still a good film to watch. it makes you realize the scariness of an idiotic act if it is carried out. you'll never know what it might lead to o.O''''
ok. so my movie 'reviews' shall end here as i have to go take a bath, and do my website! *pentok*
now looking forward to Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and "9", and also Johny Depp's new film "Public Enemy".
i also have to force myself to watch "Street Fighters: The Legend of Chun Li" and "Dragonball: The Evolution"....just to see how corrupted they are. oh dear.. god please save my eyes when i watch them =_=