Sunday, March 20, 2011
The Boys (and Girls and Men and Women and Little Kids) of Summer
I have a big recommendation for SUMMER WARS, the 2009 Japanese animated film recently released here on home video, with a spiffy English dub job written and directed by Patrick Seitz. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, the director of the delightful THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, this science fiction tale of a math nerd who gets hauled out to the country on a hot weekend at the end of July 2010 for a questionable job, becomes embroiled in the reunion of a large and contentious extended family, and who helps endanger, and then save, the world is a delight from start to finish. Part of what makes this movie so impressive is the director's and animators' skill in making each of the many characters an individual, each with his or her own "voice," mannerisms, and outlook on life -- something difficult to do in live action, harder in animation, and even harder when dealing with the low budgets that even creators of feature-length animation labor under in Japan.