Go Back   Palimpsest > Reviews > Film Reviews

hosoda, summer

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 5th Jul 2012, 14:08   #1
is beyond help
Colyngbourne's Avatar
Join Date: 30 Apr 2003
Location: England
Posts: 10,739
Default Summer Wars

My acquaintance with anime is limited so I wasn’t sure what to expect watching Summer Wars, the 2009 film from Mamoru Hosoda. I am familiar with Studio Ghibli, with Gundam Wing, Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon and an underdeveloped awareness of Akira and a couple of other films but this barely touches the surface. However, what I have seen has been broad enough in style that I can enjoy the simple cartoons of the more child-friendly animations – their unfeasible sweat-drops, magical knees and face-faults are mostly an endearing short-hand that goes hand in hand with more subtle expressions of emotion and mood. The more adult films – Akira, Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Summer Wars – are capable of developed storylines and character arcs that reward the viewer with something more than the average animation.

In Summer Wars a maths-nerd teen Kenji is invited to classmate Natsuki's country house for a family weekend – her grandmother’s 90th birthday – but is dragooned into posing as her fiancé. Kenji, like most folk in a technological world, is hooked into an online system which handles most of his life data – here it is the 'Second-Life'-style world of “OZ”, in which many millions of world-wide avatars operate their businesses, financial and social dealings. When Kenji inadvertently solves a coding problem that someone texts him as a maths challenge, he is caught up in a hacking scandal which destabilises OZ and hence most of the world’s crucial techy operations: heart monitors go awry, traffic signal systems, banking details, and satellite configurations. Summer Wars handles the personal, family and international implications of these all-encompassing social networks, and the impact of technology generally, and sets the difficulties – alienation from the family in particular – in the context of an extended family with modern lives and jobs but an unswerving loyalty to what makes the family unit work: the immense value of sitting and eating meals together, working together on problems. Even the black sheep of the family, computer genius, Uncle Wabisuke, comes to realise his value in contributing to the family effort. Some major-league hacking and online Japanese card-game wizardry help defeat the intelligence at the heart of the internet melt-down.

Character-wise Kenji is perhaps a little stereotyped as the inexperienced geeky teen but the film provides sufficient background realism that the stereotype seems valid in this case and the world of internet interaction is lovingly recreated in a very naturalistic way. And the whole film is very very funny – the uncles who sneak their immensely expensive technology home to help solve the crisis; the aunt who fixedly watches her nephew playing baseball in the regional competition; even the irritating little youngster cousins. And then the film is also moving – Grandmother Sakae is a notable elder stateswoman, it turns out, with an indomitable spirit and a heart for inclusion and family that extends to adopting and loving dearly her husband’s illegitimate child.

This was on loan from a mate but we will be buying a copy asap.
Currently reading: The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins | My reading list | My film list
Colyngbourne is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fai/ery stories: JJ, Faerie Wars, Artemis..., Tithe, etc. Colyngbourne Book Reviews 11 15th Nov 2009 15:23
Barbara Kingsolver: Prodigal Summer Digger Book Reviews 7 27th Sep 2009 16:25
song for summer 2007 Oryx General Chat 17 14th Jul 2009 4:28
Leonid Tsypkin: Summer in Baden-Baden beer good Book Reviews 0 24th Jun 2009 11:15
Star Wars amner Film Reviews 46 20th Jun 2005 13:53

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 19:10.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.