Girl Who Leapt Through Time

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The Girl who Leapt Through Time: Time stops for no one

Feb 6, 2009 (Updated Jun 15, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:  Animation, story, voice acting, writing, editing,...

Cons:  Temporal mechanics are flawed.

The Bottom Line:  

A beautiful anime that captivates you the whole way through.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

  There are very few movies that truly grip me emotionally. I don't feel sad for bambie's mother is shot, I love the happy ending of old yeller, etc. But I always shed a tear for the T-800 and John, Edward and the struggles he has being an outcast of society, and the ultimate sacrifice of Mr. Spock. This is one of those movies that elicit an emotional response from me, and makes me appreciate my life even more (and after going through the year that I have experienced this movie really hits home with my emotions.) Or brings out the question I wanted to ask someone, "am I ugly". Many of the themes and ideas are based on life in High School, but it does apply to those who have graduated.

I also enjoy movies that take me away from the realities of the world we live in. To live out a fantasy through another character. Or to make me think about the world we live in. The ideas of the human condition, the challenges we face as imperfect humans, social dynamics politicians find themselves in, moral and ethics of what we are doing to our world and doing to each other. These are the movies I seek since there are very few done right. I am seeking movies that not only let me escape from this tragic world we live in, but I want a movie that will make me think about the afore mentioned issues. And maybe, just maybe I am able to extract the passion out of myself and inject it into another human being, with the intent of making this a better world for all. Am I too idealistic? Or just a pessimist? I'm not really sure where I stand, but it is movies like this one that challenge my way of thinking. Challenge my expectations of those around me. Force me to look at reality in a different way...hopefully a better way so that I can make a positive change. This movie extracts those emotions in a way few movies can.

There are so few Anime movies out there that any time I see one on the shelf I pick it up. I saw this and after I researched online and confirmed it was a movie, I picked up the special edition. Basically the same as the regular edition but you get the music CD included (I think anyways). I really wasn't sure what I was going to watch and during the first 10 minutes I was starting to regret my purchase. I was getting a little bit bored and the animation did not WOW me at first, it was after looking as the subtle things in the environment that made me appreciate the work the animators took to make this film. Well when her brakes failed and time travel was involved, I was instantly hooked onto the story. I was captivated both by the story and emotions it elicited as well. Everything in this movie was done brilliantly, at first I was going to score it low because I am so into action movies and give preferential treatment when scoring. But this movie will be an exception to that rule. I think everyone should see this movie. Heck, everyone should buy this movie.

The basic story is told around a girl named called Makoto. She is a typical high school student that goes through life like any other girl. She wakes up late. Spends time with friends. Worries about the silly things in life. Tries to work hard. And is out to have fun. It isn't until she develops the power to time leap that her inner personality comes out. This is where we really get to know her; her sense of fun, value of being liked and being successful, and the value she places on helping others. Throughout the story we really get to know her intimately. We really don't get to know the others in the movie that well but that's ok because it isn't needed in this story.

The voice acting was well done. There was absolutely nothing I can complain about. It sounded real. The emotions and outbursts you would expect from high school students. And they spoke with emotion and the correct emotion at the right time. I was pleased.

I describe the animation as pleasing. It isn't fabulous or ultra realistic like other animation films of recent years. It is just good animation. The animated people are always the first thing I look at when rating an animated movie and I have to give this one an 8 (which is pretty good.) You don't see the individual characteristics like you do in live action but the characters do not look too cartoony either. It is good enough for the illusion that these are real people, just not perfect. (if that makes sense). But the clothing does move in the wind, their hair moves during the scene.
I also look for facial expressions and how emotions are conveyed. Are they over the top? Are they realistic? In this film I felt that the facial expressions were realistic and added to the illusion perfectly. There were a few cartoony moments but I forgive them for that. But when you are able to mimic a real live persons facial expressions then you know you have gone to a new level of animation.
The other thing I look for in an anime is does the animated environment convey a sense of realism or reality? In this case it does. The environment is rich with many drawn objects in the environment to make the environment look realistic. The bedroom looks like a real bedroom with all of the little things in the background make it believable. It makes the place you visit seem real. This is a must for any good Anime.

Another important thing I look at is am I given a sense of how big/real the world our lead character lives in? In this case I would give it a 9. I have a disconnect between the different scenes but I do feel as if I was a visitor in the city/school she existed in I would recognize those areas. Now this aspect isn't important for a good movie, but it is important if you want to create a complete illusion.

The other reason I believe makes a movie great is the exploration of some important issue to humanity. The main issue tackled here is the morals of playing with time. If we had the power, would it be morally and ethically right for us to use it? Would it be fair to other people if we use it for our own personal gain. Is it ok if someone doesn't know about their alternate time line? What could have been? These are addressed not in a theoretical sense but you actually see the consequences of her actions. This is what makes this a great movie great. It causes you to think about yourself and the impact you have on the world around you.

The music is absolutely brilliant. It is a combination of piano and synthesizers at different parts. It is simple yet complex at the same time. I feel this is what good poetry should aspire to be. The only complaint is the music doesn't always sync with what is on frame; it is slightly detached. I did buy the special edition and got the audio CD and I have no regrets with the purchase. There are a couple of tracks that have found their way into my regular random mp3 rotation file.

Besides it being slower than my personal tastes, I am also disappointed in their explanation of temporal mechanics, time travel. They gave a passing explanation that just didn't jive with my perceptions. Ya I know it's a small flaw but I am personally interested in the science behind the explanation. I want a logical and believable explanation of what happened and the movie did not give it to me. But this is a minor complaint that did not take away from the story.

The key players
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Original story by : Yasutaka Tsutsui
Screenplay: Satoko Okudera
Music: Kiyoshi Yoshida

Yahoo users: A-
Yahoo critics: none
Metacritics users: movie not listed
Metacritics critics: movie not listed
Rotten tomato community: 87%
Rotten tomato critics: 87%
My score:  4.93

MPAA rating: Some say N/R, I think it is either a G or PG. People die but you don't see them die, you move through time before you would see the action. Death is implied, so I guess PG is more accurate.

Running time: 98 minutes

Ending comment
I am so mixed with where I rate this movie. I am in awe of it and how well it was produced. I am an action fanatic but there are a few slower movies that captivate me, and I am captivated by their story telling. If that doesn't say how good I think this movie is than nothing else I say will.

Other reviews.
Top ten anime movies
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Spirited Away
My top 50 movies reviewed

Recommend this product? Yes

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