A few months ago, I heard about this movie called Your Name about two teenagers, a boy and a girl, who swap bodies. This “body-swap” premise is nothing new. I have seen a number of movies where this is the inciting incident and they usually play out in a similar fashion. Your Name is different because it has thus far been a huge commercial success both in Japan and worldwide. I imagine this is why I was able to see the film at a large theater in Portland. It was the last showing of the night and my theater probably had about 20 people in it.
Don’t read this paragraph if you want to avoid spoiling Your Name. The film begins as you would expect it to. We watch each main character’s experience of waking up inside the other’s body and living each other’s life. The body-swap happens enough times that the characters can actually plan for when it will happen. When the swap stops occurring, the boy named Taki visits the home village of the girl, named Mitsuha and ends up reversing the course of events that ultimately leads up to a catastrophic meteor strike on Mitsuha’s hometown.
I don’t normally watch anime but I have seen a few that I enjoyed. This one is definitely closer to the enjoyable end of the spectrum. I liked Your Name because it really capitalizes on its solid premise for great effect. It begins with a comedic tone that persists throughout the movie even when the stakes are much higher later on. When a film can balance several different tones throughout its run time and not seem befuddled, that is usually a good sign for said film.
Another fantastic element of this film is its unique visual style. It’s clear that Your Name features hand drawn animation and a lot of effort went into editing and framing the various shots that comprise the film. Even if Your Name were a bad movie, you would still find it compelling due to its beautiful animation style. It was a treat to see this film on a large screen.
If you are a fan of anime, you should make seeing Your Name a high priority. The characters and story are fully realized, the animation style is beautiful and you will find yourself laughing and crying. Your Name satisfies every requirement you would look for in an anime film.
If you have any exposure at all to anime, then you will most likely see this film because it has been such a huge commercial success. I was surprised to discover that Your Name is the worldwide highest grossing anime film of all time. In truth, this does not really surprise me because I can’t think of many other anime films that have been released to a worldwide audience. If you know of any such films, let me know in a comment.
Your Name is making Anime history because it doesn’t have a lot of competition, but that doesn’t mean the film is any less entertaining. Your Name is a gift of a film that should be seen by people everywhere.
When I heard the basic idea for Colossal, it was enough to get me excited for the film. The idea is this: Anne Hathaway plays an alcoholic whose actions are copied by a giant monster in South Korea. When she gets drunk and loses control of her body movements, it leads to hundreds of people dying. Going into Colossal I was intrigued to see how the movie would such a unique premise.
Anne Hathaway stars in Colossal as Gloria, an alcoholic who is forced to move from New York City back to her hometown after her boyfriend kicks her out of his apartment. Gloria bumps into her old school friend Oscar, played by Jason Sudeikis, who gives her a job working at his bar. Big news hits that a giant monster keeps appearing randomly in Seoul, South Korea and Gloria discovers that the monster’s only appears whenever she sets foot in a playground. Gloria realizes that her actions have lead to many people dying. It turns out that Oscar also manifests as a giant robot when he goes into the playground. When Gloria sleeps with one of Oscar’s friends, he starts to abuse his power to control the giant robot to manipulate Gloria. This culminates in Oscar beating Gloria up and stomping around the playground while she watches. To stop Oscar, Gloria flies to South Korea while allows her to manifest as the monster at the playground in her hometown. She coops up Oscar and throws him into the distance, ending the giant robot’s reign of terror.
This movie succeeds on the strength of Anne Hathaway’s performance. While it’s hard to feel too sympathetic for Gloria, it’s undeniable that Hathaway is doing some superb acting. The same can be said for Jason Sudeikis who is doing his usual straight man routine. Colossal doesn’t completely suck because both Sudeikis and Hathaway are good at their jobs.
Watching Colossal, I felt that the movie was acceptable but not as entertaining as I was expecting. Usually I am good about tempering my expectations but this time was different. I was expecting to be blown away by this film based on some reviews I had read but I felt that the film was simply decent. I feel that Colossal could have used its premise to make for a a more entertaining film. I found myself bored watching Colossal because the stakes were not clear enough. I think the problem is that the film’s central conceit is so obviously unnatural that it becomes hard to take the movie seriously. Perhaps Colossal would have turned out better as a dark comedy instead of a drama.
I am inclined to recommend Colossal because it is an original film. It’s a film that goes against the grain of Hollywood and that is something worth championing by itself. Beyond originality, it’s hard to recommend anything about Colossal other than the performances. It’s a shame that Colossal is not a more well constructed film. We need movies like Colossal to be superb instead of just watchable. At least watching Colossal will give you some insight into what its like to be an alcoholic. The problem is not that Colossal is a bad movie. It’s that Colossal is not as good as it should be.