Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Wars

I'm continuing this week with my movie reviews for people who donated to the Periscope Studio art books Kickstarter.  A big thanks to Jacob, who requested Summer Wars!  Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
So here's the thing: I've already seen this movie a few times.  I love it.  It's fantastic.  It's one of those movies I wish I could make everyone I know watch.  It has a little bit of everything--comedy, romance, action, drama...a surprising and amazing film.  The storytelling is fresh and clever.  And the animation is GORGEOUS!  I think the word I used the most in this review was "love".

Basically, just go see this movie if you haven't yet.
I looooooove the big cast, and how well everyone is characterized.  They can have over-the-top slapstick moments, and maybe you could sum each character up in a couple words, but each plays an integral role in the plot, too (I see a lot of similarities with Dickens).  Nana being new to the family means she doesn't know who Wabisuke is, and it's a GREAT excuse to invite the other characters to explain.
The characters interact with one another in many interesting ways, forming different groups at different times the way that real people do (by family, by gender, by opinion, by task).  Nobody is a "good guy" or "bad guy"; they take on protagonist and antagonist roles depending on the situation.  It could have been so easy to fill out the big family with generic characters, but everyone really feels real.  The chaos of the big household is totally believable.  Somehow, the creators manage to keep over 20 characters in character AND keep the plot moving forward.

I loooooove the avatar designs.  They're so personalized and different, I wouldn't be surprised if the film invited a bunch of real people to design their own avatars for the movie to use.  The world of OZ is a delightful tool for the storytelling.  We get to have our real-world story, but also watch fantastic action sequences in a world with anime physics.  And I LOVE when we come back into the real world and see those fights on character's cell phone screens -- how it just looks like normal cell phone game graphics!! xD The visual metaphors for Love Machine messing up the world's systems are GENIUS.  I love the sliding tiles effect when it mixes up the highway system.  GAH.
Kazuma is such a teenage wish fulfillment character.  He games ALL THE TIME uninterrupted by his mother, is the best fighter in the world, has global star status for his character's success...and his gaming ends up saving the world.  Plus, awesome emo hair.
Pretty much xD

Sniff!  Universal cooperation and hit me in the soft spot, Summer Wars.

I haven't even mentioned Sakae Jinnouchi, who is maybe the most interesting character.  I love seeing a matriarch like this.  She can wield a yari, sure, but her greatest strength as demonstrated in the movie is her prowess in conversation, her network of friends/family, and her ability to get people to work together and support one another.  There's a lot of good stuff happening in Summer Wars in terms of what makes characters heroic.  Kenji is smart and willing to stay in harm's way to protect others.  Wabisuke asks for forgiveness and tries to make amends for the damage he's caused.  Everyone seems at their best when they do their duty to serve others and cooperate.


  1. Man, I wish I could see what everyone else saw in this film. I got so bored by it. I really enjoyed the same director's "Girl Who Leapt Through Time" and want to see "Wolf Children." For some reason, though, this one just failed to grab me. To each their own, right?

    1. Oh interesting; I've seen all 3 and this is my favorite! I think it's the most sentimental and happy, which I gravitate toward.

  2. I think the problem is that Summer Wars wasn't creative enough and follows just the same plot of "Digimon Adventure: Our war game", in which, if I'm not mistaken, the same director took part of it. So it was really frustrating how there was simillar moments going on while I watched it, but, obviously the core of the plot - the family stuff - it's what makes a (very big) difference as Natalie points out and gosh, I was impressed that the credits had a music composed by Tatsuro Yamashita (love his funk songs from the 70-80's).

    Long story short: there are things that stands out even with that ~hackers invading the world~ thing from Digimon and shouldn't be despised for it, even though I didn't feel anything for the film (I can't argue with the quality, it's simply incredible though)

    1. Ah, interesting. I haven't seen Digimon Adventure: Our War Game, so it was fresh to me. Thanks for commenting!

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