This film is based on a popular five-part novel by a best-seller writer, Hiroshi Mori and directed by Mamoru Oshii, world-famous Japanese filmmaker.
The story unfolds in another ‘possible’ modern age. The main characters are youngsters called “Kildren”, who are destined to live eternally in their adolescence. The Kildren are conscious that every day could be the last, because they fight a “war as entertainment,” organized and operated by adults. But as they embrace the reality they are faced with, they live their day-to-day lives to the full.
For most part of The Sky Crawlers, this film was as slow as it was doing it’s own sweet crawl in telling the tale of the ageless pilots. The ironic bit is that the mysterious build up that it was trying for had already been (somewhat) revealed in it’s trailer and synopsis. It make one wonder why did this film spend so much time in building up the suspense slowly when the answer to the mystery felt rather clear cut. It didn’t help when the film put the revelation near the end and quickly added a few philosophical insights to the ageless dilemma before coming to a halting and somewhat open ended stop.
It basically felt that there was very little to add to what’s already known and the pace could be a little too slow for it’s own good. But then, since it’s a product coming from well known director Mamoru Oshii who did the philosophical classic Ghost in the Shell and the equally philosophical and trying sequel, there must be something more to the initial impression of this movie.
One take of the dreadful slow pace was that it tied nicely to the lives of these Kildren. These fighter pilots who are stuck eternally in adolescence had very little to be excited about. Living a life with very vague to no recollection of their past and nothing to look forward to except to battle a never ending war. This movie did a fine job in painting what it will be like to live a dreary life of a Kildren.
Although the Sky Crawlers is a fantasy take of our world, the message about the never ending war had a eerie connection and application with what’s going on in our real world. It poses an alternate view of the possible reasons behind the constant wars that goes on in our human history and why do wars get such prime spotlights in all form of media medium. It pointed out a scary notion that although most human claims to be peace loving, there is a morbid dependency that starring right at our faces and we dare not admit to it.
Beside those two points, The Sky Crawlers also impressed both visually and sound effect with it’s animated aerial dogfights. It’s a pity it’s been split into small portions and scattered through out this movie but whenever the animated fights started, it was quite an awe inspiring sight.
Overall The Sky Crawlers is a slow contemplative piece of work that touches on issues about war. The pace might be rather slow but it’s filled with some top notch animation and meaningful messages. It might take more than one viewing to get the gist of the point that this film is trying to make but that’s provided that you are not too turn off by the slow pace and seemly uneventful storyline.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Behind the Scenes & Interview basically is broken up in three different Segments.
The first segment, Making of Music covers the collaboration of Kenji Kawai (the music composer who did musical duties for Ghost in the Shell) and director Mamoru Oshii. It gave a peek into the work process of this two individuals and inclusion of a harp for this particularly music score.
The bulk of the second segment Making of Voice Over had the two leads, Rinko Kikuchi (Suito Kusanagi) and Ryo Kase (Yuichi Kannami) describing their characters and how they felt at the end of their job scope. This segment also filmed various cast members and crew members working in the audio recording room.
Lastly, the Movie Completion covered a premier of this movie and the reaction of some audience after the screening.
The impressive bit for a local dvd is that it not only included a Dolby Digital 6.1 EX audio for this movie’s original language soundtrack, it also included a Mandarin soundtrack and a Japanese DTS Discrete 6.1 ES option. Such audio options inclusions were very appreciated during the aerial dogfights. The visual in this disc did well enough to complement the audio aspect.
by Richard Lim Jr