Hey guys, how’s it going? I haven’t done a movie review for a long time and I feel like I’ve been focusing a lot of time on my channel so today we’re gonna kick it back with a refreshing anime film review.
SOME SPOILERS BELOW!!!
My immediate thought after the film finished was, “You have got to watch Summer Wars” – So yeah, if you haven’t watched it yet, GO AND WATCH SUMMER WARS.
Summer Wars is a science fiction movie produced by Studio Madhouse and directed by Mamoru Hosoda. You might be familiar with him his other work The Girl Who Leapt Through Time as well as Wolf Children (which came after Summer Wars). The story follows a boy named Kenji Koiso, a high school student who ends up doing a “part time job” for his senpai which involves pretending to be his schoolmate Natsuki Shinohara’s boyfriend. Kenji travels with Natsuki to the Sakae mansion far off in Ueda. The introductions and openings seem pretty generic. It’s not until Kenji accidentally solves a mathematics code that ends up unleashing an AI program that wreaks havoc in the cyber world. The other half of the story takes place in a virtual reality world called OZ where you create an avatar and use OZ’s systems to to organize a variety of data – from the most mundane emails and tasks to public bus and train schedules and top secret government records.
I immensely enjoyed Summer Wars because there’s quite a bit of action and just enough heart to get you attached to the characters without making the relationship between the characters and the audience too hurried or uncomfortable.
We largely view the story from Kenji’s point of view, a quiet and somewhat uncertain characters. It’s only after meeting Natsuki’s huge family, playing Koi Koi with Granny and being pushed to the brink of saving the world does Kenji REALLY step it up as a character. Despite his tendency to blend into the sidelines because of how shy he is, he still comes off as a really charming character with his adorkable clumsiness.
What I really loved about Summer Wars (aside from the frickin crazy action scenes) was the theme of family not only blatantly obvious in the Sakae Estate but also when we get the huge climax at the end of the film where almost EVERYONE in the ENTIRE WORLD comes together under the “You can do it” motto. You don’t so much get tied to the characters individually than you really start cheering for “the good guys” in general because this show does a very elementary way of stylizing the villain.
I love the two styles of animation we get when we jump between the real world the world of OZ. Let’s be real here, the animation goes ABOVE AND BEYOND in OZ because the video-game styled nature of fighting in OZ gives the animators a lot of artistic creativity to pretty much do whatever they want. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack, written by Akihiko Matsumoto with some help from Randy Miller. The score ranges from peaceful countryside summer melodies to dynamic video game combat music. You could definitely listen to many of the song individually. Personally I think some of the tracks make for great every day travel music.
The film is about two hours so everything moves at a decent pace until it throws us into a whirlwind of crazy events that pile on top of one another near the end. Overall, Summer Wars is a great film for family and friends and an easy board game night. It won’t force you to think really deeply about the story but it has enough plot complexities behind the action to keep you thoroughly engaged throughout the film.
If you haven’t seen Summer Wars, I’d highly recommend this for fans of all genres.
What are you pondering today?