In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Cast: Rinko Kukichi, Ryo Kase, Chiaki Kuriyama,
RunTime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: Encore Films & GV
Official Website: www.encorefilms.com/skycrawlers
Opening Day: 27 November 2008
Mamoru Oshii, the world-famous Japanese filmmaker, whose works
include Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Innocence (2004), will
direct a new feature animation film, The Sky Crawlers. The
film is based on a popular five-part novel by a best-seller
writer, Hiroshi Mori.
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 a movie about a group of fighter pilots involved in warfare,
the latest animated feature by celebrated Japanese director
Mamoru Oshii isn’t terribly exciting. While one would
be expecting adrenaline filled action sequences pumped up
by pulse thumping music from such a genre, this movie’s
highlight certainly isn’t that. What you get instead
is a soul searching drama that deserves your time and effort.
After all, Oshii is the same visionary filmmaker who gave
the world the apocalyptic Ghost In The Shell (1995) and Avalon
(2001). So when something so thought provoking comes along
in the form of a Japanese anime, we do not find ourselves
disappointed at all. In fact, this anticipated film once again
proves the director’s ability to rouse those deep thoughts
on a series of novels by Hiroshi Mori, this adaptation features
a group of youngsters known as 'Kildren' co existing in a
fighter plane organization. 'Kildren' are humanoids that live
eternally in teenage years, and in this case, they will continue
living forever until they are shot down in an air battle.
You see, these 'Kildren' have been specially designed by adults
for peacetime entertainment in air shows, and in this situation
they are faced with, these genetically designed beings can
only live their lives to the fullest as each day passes.
film is set in an alternate time and space where skies look
bluer and grasslands look greener. The dreamier and more appealing
state of things will please viewers with an eye for aesthetics.
Incorporating traditional hand drawn 2D backgrounds and stunningly
rendered 3D fighter planes, the scenes look so real, you feel
like stretching your hand out to touch them. Before you think
that this may end up feeling like an air force recruitment
advertisement, you’ll be surprised that the animation
has a gravely cold air to it, which brings a sense of melancholy.
This stunning animation has won the film the Future Film Festival
Award at the 65th Venice International Film Festival.
the visuals, also listen out for the heartbreaking score by
Kenji Kawai (L: Change the World) and the perfect sound design
where you’d take notice of the thrusting from the plane’s
propellers, the dropping of the bowling pins in the alley.
And if you listen hard enough, you may even hear the characters’
pleasing visuals and the gratifying audio production values
in place, the message behind this restrained film takes it
one notch higher. There are many thought stimulating moments
in this 122 minute picture. If you knew you may be dying tomorrow,
does it matter whether you grew up at all? If you have been
taking the same path every day, do seeing different things
along the way make it worth living for? And in a country similar
to ours, are there really children who do not become adults?
Rinko Kukichi (Babel), Ryo Kase (Tokyo!) and Chiaki Kuriyama
(Kill Bill: Vol. 1) provide somber voices to the central characters
of the story to apt effect.
the philosophical and heavy context of the film, it may not
be your ideal choice to a weekend getaway movie. But if you
are ready to take the effort to think about what life is really
worth really living for, then go take the flight with these
(A thoughtful anime film well worth your time)
Review by John Li