Director: Naoto Kumazawa
Cast: Kento Hayashi, Sosuke Ikematsu, Junpei
Mizobata, Asaka Seto, Misako Renbutsu, Ken Mitsuishi, Toru Emori
RunTime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: InnoForm Media & Cathay-Keris
Rating: PG (Brief Nudity)
Official Website: http://www.dive-movie.jp
Opening Day: 14 May 2009
Tomoki Sakai (Kento Hayashi) is your average junior-high student.
Fascinated by the diving skills of Yoichi Fujitani (Sosuke
Ikemaytsu), an elite athlete born into a family of former
Olympic divers, Tomoki joins the Mizuki Diving Club (MDC)
where Yoichi trains. However, the club is in the red, and
its very survival is under question. Beautiful Kayoko Asaki
(Asaka Seto) has just returned from the US and joins the club
as a new coach, with the mission to save MDC. Her goal is
for the club to produce an athlete capable of competing in
the Olympics. She brings in Shibuki Okitsu (Junpei Mizobata),
a skillful diver with a wild streak from Tsugaru. His volcanic
personality and fierce competitiveness change the atmosphere
in the club. Meanwhile, Kayoko discovers that Tomoki possesses
a unique ability called “diamond eyes” and inspires
him to begin serious training. Tomoki, Yoichi and Shibuki
have to overcome personal problems, and struggle through conflicts
and setbacks in the sport to achieve their dreams. Can they
make it to the Olympics? What is the mystery of the “diamond
eyes”? What do the boys see from the edge of their physical
hot summer of three boys hooked on the thrill of diving is
about to begin.
Dive!! is one of those well executed sport movies that not
only meets the expectation of an underdog sport moves but
exceed by tagging the audience’s heartstring as the
film progressed to the finale.
lay out this play-by-play of a generic sport movie. First
you get the underdogs who have to achieve something miraculous
in order to keep something ear to them active. There will
be conflicts between teammates and coach but ultimately, they
will get a shot (no matter how improbable) at Gold. Dive!!
executed these expected sports movie formula steps skillfully
like an athlete that had been training hard to perfect this
routine and there are plenty sport movies out there that are
not able to perform such feat.
are movies that utilize the sports theme as a mere side dish
and do nothing to delve deeper into that particular sport
(aka a beautiful but pointless vase). While I’m not
well verse in the diving sports, Dive!! made a particular
strong effort in demonstrating the difficulties of this sport
and the hardship in training to excel in this sports.
are sports movies that dabble around 40% of the movie length
in non essential events pertaining to the sport while in Dive!!,
a scene away from the diving platform or various form of training
felt like a well deserved break after a grueling training
movie also went out to explain why certain training could
improve certain technique, thus enabling the sport person
to ascend to the next level of skill in order to compete with
the big boys when he wasn’t able to do so in the first
place. It exemplify why coach or even having a strategies
in sports are important and make a big difference as the competition
also examines the relationship that the athletes share with
their love ones while in pursuit of their goal. It showcases
how strenuous and rigorous training could put a strain in
relationship. It’s also heart wrenching to watch them
wrestle with constant disappointments for an uncertain future
in their sport of choice and that’s one of the unshakeable
fear that actual athletes faces in their pursuits.
notion that stood out was the way the film romanticizes this
sport. It mention terms like ‘diamond eyes’ and
“conquering the concrete dragon” which are probably
not use in the actual sport itself. But it paints the romanticized
picture of the love between the athletes and the sport, where
one had given out so much time, effort and love that they
gave pet names for various aspects of the sports.
also touches on the differences between individual sports
and team sports. As Dive!! features individual sports, it
romanticize that as one progress in this sports, he or she
would get lonelier on the path to championship while their
peers either drop off from the training or fail to keep up
with the standards of a champion.
movie then counter-challenge the notion above by questioning
if that the only path that the athletes had to take in this
sport. The challenge will bring us to the 3rd good point about
this movie and that’s the control of focus on 3 characters.
to the Korean boxing movie, Crying Fist, this film put just
enough weight and focus on each of the 3 boys to make the
audience root for each character. In a fine manner of story
telling, each character presented their individual reasons,
passion and struggles to attempt to win the final hurdle.
As competition usually allows only one winner and many other
losers, it created a teary dilemma tension for the viewer
on who to support, as they can’t all win the top prize.
but not least, Dive!! is also filled with spectacular scenes
of diving. It utilized plenty of viewpoints from the diving
podium that puts the audience right at the edge with the characters
as they prepare to dive. Personally the drawback of this movie
was that it didn’t follow through the shot of the actor
performing the dive. It might be too much to ask from the
young actors but if there were a shot of them doing a complex
dive, it would be a perfect sport movie.
closing, Dive!! may be a generic sport movie but it does well
in performing the various steps in the formula to gather endearment
from the viewers. It also promotes the passion and love for
sports over winning medals which many people seems preoccupied
with. Highly recommended for individuals who are passionate
in their respective sports of choice … no matter which
level they are playing the sports at.
Review by Richard Lim Jr