The 2nd Dimension

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Viewing Journal: 5 Centimeters Per Second

Movie Overview
DVD Info (Not yet available in US)

Overall= A+
Story = A+
Video = A+
Audio = A+


Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari are close friends who, upon graduation from elementary school, are parted because of family movement. Their deep feelings for each other keep them in contact, but they worry they may not meet again. Then, one day, Takaki decides to visit Akari.........This is a movie in three parts that follows the thoughts and relationship of 2 young people as they meet and part, both from their point of view and from people around them. (Source: ANN)

At this year's Otakon, I was lucky enough to be able to catch a showing of Makoto Shinkai's latest masterpiece 5 Centimeters Per Second. I was just blown away by the movie's simple, but emotionally and visually rich storyline. Shinkai fans will find the theme very familiar as it seems to be the subject of all of his works -- that being the struggle to maintain a relationship even when people are separated by distance and/or time; but what Shinkai does, he does exceedingly well and this is probably the pinnacle of his storytelling talents.

What makes this stick out from his other movies is that this one, while touching slightly on space exploration in the second part, is a realistic story that could easily take place today. And while his other two works are told within the framework of a sci-fi story, this one focuses almost entirely on the characters. As a result there is no distraction from being engrossed in their emotional anxiety, making this as involving of a show as you'll ever see.

Shinkai has always been a master of visuals, but here he kicks the animation up a few notches -- having leaned a few things from his initial, fan-produced Voices of a Distant Star. This is probably the first romance movie that I would say you absolutely have to see on the big screen in order to appreciate fully. Even the most mundane of urban settings are presented with such vibrant color and detail that you'll need to watch it a few times over to absorb it all.

The last part involved a short story followed by a beautiful song mixed with scenes from the movie as well as some other scenes from the lives of the characters. The combination of the music and visuals was an unexpectedly intense climax to the movie. When it was all over I stood up and had to recover a little because I felt a little emotionally drained afterwards.

Overall this is a movie I would suggest any fan of cinema should watch just to see what the medium can accomplish even with such a simple boy-girl-romance storyline.

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