Story = D-
Video = D
Audio = C
Takemoto study in art college, but not knowing what he wants to do in the future. Shy girl Hagumi loves painting. Some day she is painting and Takemoto see her; he fell in love. So does Morita, who is in art college too. (Source: ANN)
Even though I didn't like the anime version of Honey and Clover, I was curious in seeing this live action version (which was showing at Otakon this year). The only reason being that I wanted to check whether or not my theory about how the anime would work in live action was on target. And I can proudly say I was spot on.
This live action movie has all the down-side of the anime with none of the up-side. It's a story about a group of art school students who are all the victims of unrequited love; meaning that girl-A loves boy-B, but boy-B loves girl-C, etc. There is no focus on any particular set of characters, and with no other story elements driving the story forward it was hard to tell where it was going. And the worst part is that over the full 2-hours of the movie, nothing really even develops in any of these relationships, making it seem like the movie could potentially go on forever.
And it doesn't help that it moves so slowly throughout the entire thing. The conversations would include a line of dialogue, and awkward pause, another line, another pause, and so on. This technique can potentially be used effectively to build a sense of tension between characters, but that just didn't happen here. Maybe it was bad acting, or maybe it was lost in translation, but whatever the case it made each conversation way more drawn out than it needed to be. And it made the movie way longer than it had any right to be.
The thing about the anime was that, even though it had much the same type of storyline as in the movie, the visual gags and some of the extreme antics of the characters -- especially Morita -- at least made it somewhat entertaining, if not especially engrossing. But since those types of things can't be pulled off in a live action drama, this movie ends up falling flat.
As for the music, it is half-way decent. And just about all of the songs are in English which is nice from the perspective of a US audience. It also makes me think that maybe this is one of those movies where the soundtrack sells better than the movie DVD.
So in the end, this movie reminded me of a slow-moving Japanese version of Singles -- or any of those kinds of movies that portray multiple couples with loose connections trying to find love. I tend to dislike those kinds of movies because there is no plot and the characters usually seem so self absorbed and sappy that I just want to scream "Get over it already!" Again, I'm not saying that I don't like romance -- hell my favorite anime movie of all time is 5 Centimeters Per Second -- but with little focus and no plot, Honey and Clover left me bored out of my mind.