Sunday, July 13, 2014

Voices of a Distant Star

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Every so often, I go for something completely different. I saw this movie on NetFlix and decided to give it a try, mostly because it’s only thirty minutes long. (Since I’m working now, I don’t have a lot of time for movies.) I figured that I would see what the movie was about.

The plot is very easy to explain. A girl, Mikako, goes off to defend Earth from an invading army, leaving a boyfriend, Noboru, behind. (Yes, she’s a girl; she’s only 15, if I recall.) The only way that she can communicate with him is through text messages on her cell phone. As she goes further out, it takes longer for the messages to reach Earth. Eventually, she’s 8 light years away, meaning that it takes 8 years for the messages to get back.

The story focused on the relationship between the two main characters. (In fact, there were no other human characters.) There was little or no explanation as to how the messages were transmitted or how the Mikako even charges her phone. There also seems to be some debate as to whether both characters are aging at the same rate or if Mikako and the other ships are goinjg near the speed of light, allowing her to age more slowly. (It was never mentioned either way.)

Makoto Shinkai is the man behind the movie. He animated the entire movie on his computer, doing some of the voice work at first just to see how it came out. (This was included on the DVD, but is practically the same as the feature if you’re using the dubbing.) The visual style is a little different, but you get used to it. Shinkai is good. He has one other movie, which I’ll be renting.

I ended up using the English voice track, which I seem to be doing a lot of lately. I think that subtitles would have taken my attention away from the animation too much. I would have rather been able to watch the movie without looking down too much. As for the music, that was great also. I even liked the music on the menus, which is rare for a DVD. The music in the movie was subdued, but worked well.

As for extras, the only thing worth noting is a short called “She and Her Cat”, which is told from the perspective of a cat that is adopted by a woman. There’s also the director’s cut of the movie, but as I said earlier, it doesn’t mean much if you don’t understand Japanese.

I’d definitely recommend this movie to anyone. Even if you don’t like animation, it’s only thirty minutes. What have you got to lose?

Voices of a Distant Star Trailer

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