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REVIEW: Sky Crawlers, The (Blu-ray)


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Tony K.
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Joined: 18 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:24 pm Reply with quote
I didn't read the whole review as to avoid spoilers, but thanks a bunch for comparing it to The Wrestler. I usually find films about character study to be of great and surprising interest. And if this title has even the slightest hint of resonance that The Wrestler does, I'm sure I'll really enjoy it. Props for the BD tech specs as well.
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Jedi General



Joined: 27 Nov 2006
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Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:37 pm Reply with quote
Similar to The Wrestler, eh? Just watched that film a few days ago and loved it. Guess I need to check out The Sky Crawlers as well then.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:39 pm Reply with quote
I liked the Sky Crawlers overall, but for different reasons for most. I was only really paying attention to the overaching theme and the action, very Oshii, to have intense bursts and then long periods of calm. My main problem was the trailer, which made it movie seem like Top Gun or Macross Zero, which it isn't at all. I guess you could compare it to GitS 2.0 Innocence the most, in general feel.

Quote:
Most people won't get it, and will be bored to tears.


Is the point I'm trying to make, the trailer needs revision.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
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Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:55 pm Reply with quote
Dag nabbit! I have the feeling I should break down and get a Blu-ray one of these days... This sounds like a good film. I'll have to check it out.
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ManSlayer07



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 214

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:59 pm Reply with quote
Dobly TrueHD audio is actually lossless, not umcompressed. And wouldn't it be less redundant and much easier to just say that the Japanese end credits are translated?

As for the movie itself I think I'll pass, I have no real interest in watching any Oshii titles any time soon.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 12439

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:04 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Although I'm quite sure neither one was produced knowing of the other's existence,


Aronofsky's an anime/manga fan, so he might have at least heard of SC.

Quote:
As a growing number of young adults give up the idea of being a contributing member of society and either stay working menial part-time jobs or become the shut-ins known as hikikomori,


I've always considered that argument that they choose to be hikikomori bs. If they had real prospects, I'm sure these individuals would go for them. But if the one big home-grown industry left in Japan doesn't pay that well, I imagine the regular work sucks, too.

Quote:
It's an intense and angry piece, quietly resentful of both a dead creative environment (the industry) and the people that mindlessly feed on the same decades-old garbage repackaged in different colors (the fans).


Really? I just thought it was Oshii's attempt to conform to industry standards and fan expectations. Rolling Eyes

Quote:
It becomes pretty clear over the course of the movie that the real target of Oshii's scorn is the anime itself: a curiosity to foreigners, but really little more than the same old thing repeated ad infinitum, with seldom an echo of originality.


I'd buy that argument, if he wasn't known for using that style of repetition in his regular work. No, he's just trying to sell himself to a younger crowd, plain and simple-sort of like when Altman cast Lohan in his last movie. There's nothing wrong with that approach, as long as you recognize the generation gap, which Oshii clearly does not in this case.

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Like the avatar of a dating simulator, the expected things seem to just happen to him.


I'm not sure which dating sim would consist of an unattractive and possessive girl as the lead.

Quote:
And, indeed, nothing else will happen to him until he realizes that his way out is to strive towards something.


Then Oshii decides that he should repeat that problem for another hour, because he can't strive toward any direction in the film. Laughing

Quote:
The dogfight scenes are gorgeously rendered in CG, but take on an intentionally banal and meaningless tone.


Did they have better subs than the ones I got stuck with in the theatrical print?

Quote:
The film is more about the mood than anything else, of people in the prime of their lives, yet content to let those juicy bits of life go to ruin by being allowed to sit on the back burner, simmering until there's nothing left.


This, of course, totally ignores the reality that the characters don't have any reason to do anything meaningful with their lives.

Quote:
Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition is a 15-minute interview with Oshii.


Only 15 minutes?! For a $10 exclusive, I want a friggin' half hour!
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physicist



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:54 am Reply with quote
Quote:
I was a bit worried about the English dub, having been produced by Dubbing Brothers, the same company that nearly ruined Paprika last year.


Can you be more specific? I read your review of Paprika and found nothing about dubbing. What did "Dubbing Brothers" do to nearly ruin Paprika? And, how was it averted?

Thanks!
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bahamut623



Joined: 23 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:56 am Reply with quote
Out of curiosity, is Justin's analysis more his own interpretation, or is it really Oshii's intention with the film?
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vashfanatic
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Joined: 16 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 1:16 am Reply with quote
bahamut623 wrote:
Out of curiosity, is Justin's analysis more his own interpretation, or is it really Oshii's intention with the film?


This was hashed out the last time it was posted; yes, Oshii intended one of the meanings of the film to refer to the derivative and repetitive nature of the current anime market.

Btw, kudos to anyone who managed to get through The Wrestler. It looked like a remarkable film, but the highly realistic depictions of violence and self-abuse made me physically nauseous, and I had to quit after about half an hour.
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partially



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
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Location: Oz

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 1:18 am Reply with quote
Interesting, I would say its Justin's own interpretation more than Oshii's intent, as I took the movie completely differently.

spoiler[Since the Kildren are created beings used as an entertainment medium, they play out fake wars as an entertainment product for the rest of the world. The only people of which you see are the adults in the diner, and the foreigners who occasionally visit. They are essentially proxies of "humans", who fight in their place. There are numurous little things that point to this.]

To me it was a film about identity, and war more than anything else. And the futility and stupidness of human nature which revels in such things. I seriously did not see anything in the way of Justin's angle about it being remarks about the anime industry.
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:13 am Reply with quote
I read the original review back in December, and even having read an interpretation of the film beforehand to think about, I was sadly mostly bored by this (so SLOW)...so much so when things finally heated up toward the end, I wasn't even very interested. Maybe this is one of those films that heavily benefit from repeated viewings...but those kinda annoy me on principle.

.

One scene that confused me somewhat was the one where Suito yells at the tourists for showing pity for the killed pilot. What is that supposed to mean? If the pilots represent otaku, and the foreign tourists represent...foreigners, what's "don't insult him with your pity" supposed to mean?"

Why are a bunch of Japanese-speakers hanging around Europe, anyway?

.

So where does that one female pilot fit into things? She relizes the madness of her existance, but all she manages to do is torture herself with angst and eventually tries to take it out on others with violence...well, I guess that's a pretty obvious otaku sterotype, after all...

partially wrote:
Interesting, I would say its Justin's own interpretation more than Oshii's intent, as I took the movie completely differently.

spoiler[Since the Kildren are created beings used as an entertainment medium, they play out fake wars as an entertainment product for the rest of the world. The only people of which you see are the adults in the diner, and the foreigners who occasionally visit. They are essentially proxies of "humans", who fight in their place. There are numurous little things that point to this.]

To me it was a film about identity, and war more than anything else. And the futility and stupidness of human nature which revels in such things. I seriously did not see anything in the way of Justin's angle about it being remarks about the anime industry.

Fake humans who play out endless, meaningless, homogenous fake violence for the entertainment of others doesn't remind you of fictional characters appearing in action shows?
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captainbanana



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:47 am Reply with quote
I don't know what I feel about Sky Crawlers yet after having just watched it. All I know is that I want animators to go back to cel animation so bad that it hurts me, even if the planes in the movie are some of the best looking I've ever seen. What you gain in shiny airplanes, you completely lose in character animation and background animation. It's just not worth it, and it really is a shame.

Oh, and I can parrot what others have said: The trailer for the movie does absolutely nothing to convey what it is about. If you go into it thinking it's a movie about awesome dog fights, you will be sorely mistaken. I knew it was going to be an intellectual film, but even I (who loved Paprika) was so bored by twenty minutes into the movie that I wanted to stop.
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Lemoncookies23



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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:55 am Reply with quote
I view this film and review as highly pretentious. It's as if Oshii, in that he is a famous director of a lot of old anime, and Sevakis, in that he likes and has seen a lot of old anime, think they're "above" the fans and trends of the current industry. Nevermind that mounds of crap was produced during the rise of anime and mounds of crap is produced now. No, these gentlemen are "veterans" of anime. The old guard. The proverbial keepers of the Holy Grail that is the anime of yesteryear. And here they are, when the industry is struggling, pointing their fingers and saying I told you so. Those receiving the blame are the "youngins" who can't look past their shonen action fix and their moe girls. Apparently, these fans don't know what they should truly like. If only all those good shows of the past were being made in the present would anime be doing well. But those darned kids had to ruin it all! And the hikikomori are the proof! I for one am fairly young and fairly young to anime, and yet, I don't why, call me crazy, but I don't like being talked down to or derided for what I like. I'm not really sorry if Mr. Oshii spills his drink at the mere mention of a new shonen anime. I have no sympathy for Mr. Sevakis if he feels under the weather for simply looking at a moe design. Surely more productive things can be done than looking down at anime from heavenly pedestals, inflicting judgment on its current genres and fans! I thought The Sky Crawlers was decent. I'm more or less ambivalent towards it. What irks me, though, and prevents me from fully liking it, is that Oshii is so blatantly drunk with cramming his pessimism into the film that any attempt for an engaging, lasting story with solid world building is moot (and indeed, it quite literally becomes a bore to watch). It's not science fiction entertainment, it's a cauldron of one man's pretentious opinions about anime—one giant metaphor to vent his frustrations—wrapped in nice, neat animation (ironically).

All of that said, I am looking forward to Musashi.
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Iron Chef



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
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Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 3:43 am Reply with quote
Sorry, I really, really have to get this off my chest.

It's "abstruse," not "obtuse." Obtuse only refers to large angles, though some folks would like to adopt another meaning for common usage. Abstruse, abstruse.

I might be a cook now, but I gotta use my oft-neglected journalism degree for SOMEthing.

And if I may comment on the show itself, I, too, found it to be kinda boring. The fight scenes were fun, but the rest of the movie was typical Oshii "let's stand around and talk provocatively" BS. If anything, I got a sense of something like war-as-sport (change teams to companies, have 'em battle it out, replicate the players when they die), but the damning otaku attack was completely over my head.

As a veteran of more than 700 anime, if I missed Oshii's meaning due to my lack of connection to the PR machine behind his films, I have a feeling that he's gonna wind up giving the wrong impression to a whole host of other viewers. They're gonna wind up seeing it as some weird sci-fi dogfight flick and not a curmudgeonly assault on fandom. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but those who "get" what he was going after will grit their teeth until sparks fly and decry the ignorance of the populace. Doesn't really sound like a winning formula.


Last edited by Iron Chef on Tue May 26, 2009 12:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Zac
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Joined: 05 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 3:53 am Reply with quote
JairStout wrote:
stuff


Believe it or not it is neither Oshii's nor Sevakis' job to kiss your ass and love everything you love as unconditionally as you do.

It's also OK for people to be critical and even analytical about the anime industry. Their opinions are as valid as yours are.

You won't listen to me at all, but I would strongly recommend you take a big step back and stop taking everything you read so personally, and stop attacking everyone who you even mildly disagree with.

Believe it or not, you are not a victim because someone doesn't like the same cartoons you like.
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