“Good animators can make a good story a knockout. There is not much that the best animators can do with bad stories”- Walt Disney
Anime has the potential to give us unique experiences. Japan’s animation industry is filled with culture and perspectives that are missing from Western films. However, this culture is too often used as fancy dress on familiar archetypes. Many popular anime tropes simply show or sometimes celebrate ugly sides of human nature as opposed to exploring them. This is part of what makes anime directors like Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Hosoda good. Their films are full of rich meaning and they often subvert and scrutinise harmful anime tropes. This context makes Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name disappointing. Shinkai’s film is technically excellent but severely lacking in meaning and humanity. Pretty visuals are its key focus and are meant to distract from its hollowness. It’s not an awful film, but it’s not a very good one.
I couldn’t wait for Boyhood to end. After I felt like I was an hour in I looked at how long it had left- I hadn’t watched 20 minutes. It’s almost 3 hours long. I’m not sure why it’s so popular. It’s probably because of the way it was made. I think it was cool having the same people play the characters as they grew up but it was unnecessary for a good story and this film doesn’t have one. It feels like a film made about people my age written by someone who clearly isn’t. There are some good things about it but I think it needed to be half as long and actually about something.
Whiplash is a good movie that I think was too cynical. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching it. All I knew was that I hated the poster. It was the same problem with Sicario, 90% of it was critic reviews. I watched the first 15 minutes of the movie a while ago but didn’t get into it so I stopped. After watching the whole thing, I have mixed feelings about it. By the end I feel like the movie paid itself off but it stumbled a lot on the way. It has a problem I think exists in recent movies I’ve seen of being too dark for its own good. I like its characters though.