Mamoru Oshii's THE SKY CRAWLERS
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
Wonderfully animated, this moody anime adventure combines elements of 1984 (perpetual warfare), Blade Runner (androids with fuzzy memories), Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (alternate history and retro-futuristic aircraft), and Dark City (constant recycling of character experiences and events).
There’s lots of smoking, a cute dog (which reminded me of the director’s Avalon), and lots of blank young people standing around conversing about reality and stuff. Plus it has some of the most amazing aerial animation and “CGI photography” I’ve ever seen this side of Porco Rosso and Howl’s Moving Castle.
But what does it add up to? I’m not sure. Technically it’s fascinating, but the story and social commentary (which are not trivial) get lost among the laboriously protracted ennui and disaffection most of the young characters display.
While that may be the intention of the director, it does drag in parts, especially since the aerial combat scenes are so much more engaging than everything else that happens on the ground.
Other than my lack of engagement emotionally with the film, I just couldn’t buy the perpetual-warfare-run-by-giant-corporations angle. The economics just don’t makes sense given the steady drain of talented pilots. Plus the European-modeled streets and cityscapes are curiously underpopulated and lonely. Who’s paying for all this?
Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis D. McDonald