Satoshi Kon’s TOKYO GODFATHERS
He does it by concentrating on three unlikely homeless characters – a middle aged drunk, an over-the-hill drag queen, and a pudgy teenage runaway.
On Christmas Eve in Tokyo the three stumble upon an abandoned newborn baby in a trash dump and decide to seek out its mother. Unbelievable events spin out from there in as un-Hollywood a fashion as you can imagine. And therein lies the movie’s overwhelming charm – interesting and unusual characters, humor, absolutely gorgeous animation, wonderfully clever dialog, and an unfolding emotional reveal of the three main characters’ personalities and pasts that you can’t help but respond to.
The story abounds with coincidence and an occasional supernatural apparition. No matter. These add to the charm and occasional off-kilter dramatic atmosphere. What begins as a simple morality tale evolves into an increasingly complex and outrageous witty adventure that ends up with a chase that brings together major and minor characters to a satisfying climax.
My complaints about this DVD are minor. The (yellow) subtitles are occasionally hard to read against some of the lighter backgrounds. The documentaries that accompany the movie are rather brief and, while they show off the actors who voice the main characters, they say little about the technical and artistic accomplishments of this film, which I found to be astonishing in parts, (I stopped counting the number of different urban background created for this film; someone obviously spent a LOT of time walking around Tokyo photographing potential sets.)
The previews are a mixed bag of animation – in amongst the explosions-and-robots movies there are some gems like MEMORIES and the much anticipated STEAMBOY.
In conclusion, this is a wonderful film. It’s clever, heartwarming, funny, and a joy to watch.
Review copyright (c) 2007 by Dennis D. McDonald