Back in the 1980s, growing up in Quebec meant getting Saturday and Sunday morning cartoons from around the world, dubbed into French, this usually done in France, and imported to our television screens. One of the more elusive ones of that period was Space Battleship Yamato. It didn’t necessarily play regularly or as much as the others, but it was around and for a Star Wars kid, it was AWESOME!
I saw Osamu Tezuka’s “Metropolis” back in 2002, and I vividly remember not being a fan at all. Maybe it was because I was more ignorant toward anime, then, but either way disliked it and openly avoided it for years. It was until recently I had to sit down to re-watch it. I don’t know what I was expecting then, but today I can safely describe it as merely an okay anime film.
Hideaki Anno’s “Neon Genesis Evangelion” is one of the most iconic and influential anime series ever created. While it hasn’t endured a long shelf life like, say, “One Piece,” its elements can be found in much of pop culture. Particularly, it can be found in Western pop culture from children’s animated series to right up to cinema. While I’ve never been big on this kind of anime before, sitting through “Neon Genesis Evangelion” was a unique and entertaining experience.
I’m one of the traditionalists that think Studio Ghibli should have stuck to hand drawn animation, but sometimes there’s just no fighting change. With “Earwig and the Witch” there’s so much new, that you’re almost tricked in to forgetting that the movie almost has no real narrative. At all. This is one of Studio Ghibli’s more aimless movies that doesn’t have a whole lot to it. Substantially, the movie packs in some great animation, and it’s quite startling how some of the motion for some scenes looks so realistic. I’m not going to say that the movie is an accomplishment in regards to Ghibli because Pixar has pulled off so much better.
Hell, Dreamworks has accomplished so much more with this medium.
It’s apropos and yet somewhat inexplicable that Hayao Miyazaki would end his career on one what is easily his most divisive film. Miyazaki has spent so much of his career delivering masterpieces of animation that discuss the horrible fall out of war, destruction of the environment, and war machines. So it’s absolutely confounding that Miyazaki takes a more objective approach to Jirô Horikoshi and his creation of what would become certified weapons of war.
There’s nothing I hate more than a movie that has so much going for it, but has no idea how to deliver a great narrative. “Promare” is a movie that, by all accounts, should have blown me out of my seat. But by the middle of it, I was counting down the minutes, and waiting for it to get to the point. It’s so sad that a movie that looks so amazing could be so lacking in originality with government corruption, clandestine organizations, and an evil politician who has plans for the world, yadda, yadda. It’s all so old hat for such an epic looking animated movie.
“Legion of Superheroes” arrived during that darker time where “Teen Titans” and “Justice League” had ended their excellent runs and DC was embroiled in a lawsuit over the Superman name. Around this time DC and Warner were attempting to create series less about critical acclaim and more about making merchandise money. “Legion of Super Heroes: The Complete Series” (now on Blu-Ray with all 26 episodes) isn’t a bad series per se, it’s just as grand as “Justice League” or as entertaining as “Teen Titans” was. Even during its entire run, the best episodes were just okay.
I vividly remember watching “The Case of Hana & Alice” for the Fantasia Film Festival in 2015, and it was a movie that managed to stick with me for a while. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but like a lot of its ilk, it’s a movie you have to go in with some knowledge acquired. “The Cast of Hana & Alice” is primarily a prequel, and a loose one at that, but it’s at least charming in its way, and allows a mystery to become the catalyst for an adventure with two best friends one fateful day.