In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Hideki Takeuchi
Cast: Hiroshi Tamaki, Juri
Ueno, Eita, Asami Mizukawa, Keisuke Koide, Eiji Wentz, Becky,
Sayaka Yamaguchi, Yu Yamada, Shosuke Tanihara, Takeshi Nadagi,
Seiji Fukushi, Michiko Kichise, Masatoh Ibu, Naoto Takenaka
RunTime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: GV
Official Website: http://nodame-movie.jp/
Opening Day: 11 March 2010
Following the success of the popular Japanese romantic comedy
drama, NODAME CANTABILE: THE MOVIE hits the big screen! Hiroshi
Tamaki and Juri Ueno reprise in their roles and continue their
love for music and their pursuit for their ambitions. Chiaki
(Hiroshi Tamaki) is an aspiring conductor who faces the challenge
of leading an orchestra which is made up of substitutes. Nodame
(Juri Ueno) gives her support to her beloved as she works
hard towards achieving her dream to pass a promotion exam
at their music conservatory. Will Chiaki be able to revive
a broken down orchestra and launch his musical career? What
will become of Nodame and Chiaki's relationship?
Nodame Cantabile would have top the Japan Box Office for 5 consecutive weeks if it wasn't the James "King of the World" Cameron's Avatar hogging the number 1 spot*. It makes one wonder what the drawing power of this movie which is another one of those movies that capitalize on the TV series popularity. After being exposed to the world of Nodame Cantabile for the first time, it's not hard to pin point the attraction in this franchise which had originated from Manga and had already branched out to an Anime series, a TV series and a TV special.
The appeal of this franchise works in 2 folds.
The first unique selling point of this franchise would be how it made classical music accessible to layman / newbies and the younger generation who generally are more involved with other type of music. It provides simple and entertaining explanation of the various piece that had been showcased in this franchise. Pieces such as Paul Dukas's symphonic poem, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Tchaikovsk's 1812 Overture are used to provide parallelism and enhance the comedic elements that going on in the film. It also provides intriguing history lessons behind those pieces and the reasons why they were preformed in certain ways. It even went on to explain what does Cantabile meant. In short, it's one of the most entertaining introduction to classical music that open the eyes (or ears) of those who were never exposed to this type of music genre.
The next attraction of Nodame Cantabile would be Juri Ueno's hilarious rendition of Noda 'Nodame' Megumi and the comedic chemistry that she played off with Chiaki (Hiroshi Tamaki). The coupling of one "Xiao Char Bo" (Singlish for crazy woman) and a ultra serious conductor give rise to many hilarious situations such as painful slapstick and wonderful usage of special effects to generate the laughs. Juri Ueno did a great job protraying Nodame (which incidentally is based on a real person) on screen that it's funny just to watch her walk. Although this is an esemble effort, the live action Nodame Cantabile series and movie succeed mainly due to her performance.
However, this movie was great in making classical music accessible and drawing laughs from Nodame's antic, several factors of this movie was lacking. The problems that Chiaki faced with the unsuccessful orchestra were solved automatically on it's own. It doesn't give the protagonist much to fix or do with the problem at hand. Then there were the influx of various characters that appeared near the end of the movie and for those who are not aware of their significance in the TV series might end up wondering who are these bunch of people. Even the characteristic of Nodame and Chiaki took a sudden shift near the end and it could be rather unfathomable if you are not aware of certain human characteristic that made them behaved in their strange manner.
All these problems mentioned above occurred because the movie was running out of time and was trying to build a bride to the 2nd movie (yup, this is only a first parter). It's a small nuisance and by the time these problems arise, the anticpantion for more of Nodame would easily override those issues. Nodame Cantabile: The Final Score - Part I is a good introduction for those who are new to this franchise and it's building up an enormous anticipation for the finale. Nodame Cantabile The Final Score - Part 1 comes highly recommended.
* Nodame Cantabile lost the 1st spot to the animation "One Piece" but the following 4 weeks, it remained on top and was only second to the mega money making 3D movie.
** If you are a fan of this movie, do stay till the end of credits for the 2nd movie's trailer.
(A Musical Fiesta that richly deserves it's Encore)
Review by Richard Lim Jr