Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Akira (1988)

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

It’s been said that you can do a lot more with animation than you can do in real life because animation has a leveling effect on the special effects.. This is evident in films such as Akira. Let’s face it; the movie starts out with a nuclear explosion in Tokyo. The result is Neo Tokyo. 30 years have passed since the explosion. (The bulk of the movie takes place in 2019.)

Biker gangs are everywhere. The police go after them, but there are always more. In the beginning of the movie, one gang is chasing after another. As soon as the police show up, they scatter. Still, one gang member wants to chase down another. One thing leads to another, which in turn leads to an accident. Tetsuo (the one doing the chasing) is taken away in a helicopter. None of his fellow gang members can figure out where he’s been taken or what happened to him.

Tetsuo is taken to a secret research facility where experiments are done on him. (These experiments are related to what happened in Tokyo in 1989, but you don’t find out how until much later in the movie.) The experiments have very serious consequences, including hallucinations and the development of incredible powers. Tetsuo doesn’t understand what’s happening to him or what kind of power he has.

It’s really hard to go into the plot from there for two reasons. First, it’s way too complicated to explain. Second, I’d also have to give out a lot of the plot twists. It’s better to just watch the movie. I have to warn you that it’s a very violent movie with disturbing visuals. I should point out that this is not a movie for children unless they like having nightmares. In one scene, you get to see a giant teddy bear with liquid pouring out of it and Tetsuo is terrified of it for good reason. I’d say the movie is more appropriate for those of high-school age or older.

The movie is a good movie for several different reasons. First, the animation is great despite the fact that the movie was made in 1988. (I was going into middle school the summer this movie was released in Japan.) Also, it’s a great story. Yes, you’re thinking that animation is kids’ stuff. Might I remind you of the last paragraph? This is not a kids’ movie. It’s a story about someone who starts out as someone the gang leader protects to someone the gang leader (and everyone else) fears.

From what I understand, there are several translations. Even on the same DVD, sub and dub are different. I’ve usually gone for dub, even though most people go for subtitles. I find that having to read subtitles is too distracting. I’d rather be able to see the animation than have to look down every few seconds. (One of these days, though, I’m going to learn Japanese.)

The movie gets five stars. I would recommend this, but to older audiences. I couldn’t see a small child watching this and coming out ok. Even for an adult, you have to be used to disturbing stuff.

Official Site {Japan]

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