Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Essentials- Akira (1988)

The Essentials-#37

Movie geeks everywhere have heard of "Akira." Its been that influential over the years. Even if you have never watch one minute of a Japanese anime, the average movie geek has heard of "Akira." This was the movie that has been inspiring various filmmakers for years, it inspired The Wachowski Brothers to make "The Matrix" movies. Now, having watched the movie for the first time in a long time, I can definitely see the faint parallels that lead to that classic trilogy. When a movie garners a certain degree of hype, the popularity falls to the individual viewer and their expectations. Hype can put a great movie on a bigger level of great, or it can shatter expectations completely. 

I can firmly conclude that it is okay to believe the hype of "Akira." The movie is as great as you have heard it is. The film is not just a masterpiece of Japanese anime, but a masterpiece of modern film art. The animation in high definition is absolutely spectacular, like watercolors from your craziest dream. Within the first five to ten minutes of film, its pretty clear how before-its-time "Akira" really was. Sometimes, it feels awkward to call an animated film a beautiful film, but "Akira" is indeed beautiful. Its the experience much more intoxicating to sit through.

The film features multiple storylines that play into each other fantastically. When recalling the film, it seems odd that a story about a dictatorial Japan after a third World War could fit into a story about futuristic biker gangs. Those stories also revolve around some creepy-looking super-powered children as well as an old Japanese spirit being harnessed by the military. Not every filmmaker can juggle multiple storylines and have them all count, have them possess meaning, have them overlap with each other easily. In the case of "Akira," I'll admit that it took me a little bit to settle into the rythyms of the film, I was totally unsure in which direction the film would go and that was exciting. Director Katsuhiro Otomo definitely has the talent of juggling many stories in one film and he has mastered the art of storytelling. I'm not going to get to much further into the story, because I want you all to be completely drawn into the craft "Akira" has to offer.

I'll be keeping this one short, there is so much to be read about "Akira" that I don't want to sound like a broken record. My main point of tonight was believe in the hype. Sometimes, hype can be a good thing and in "Akira's" case, it is a good thing. "Akira" is a rare film that has the ability to change your life, I hope you all allow it to change yours.

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