Friday, July 2, 2010

A great summer movie about the summer.

So, I spent another afternoon/evening in the company of my dear boy Suri, and my good friends Mclovin and Kristin. One day I should really just write a post to act as an introduction to all of my crazy friends, since they are equally, if not more, nerdy than I am. But I'm quickly veering off topic so I'd better get myself back on track.

This week, we watched the movie "Summer Wars".

On the way home, Mclovin asked what I thought on a scale of 1 to 10. My answer was "14". This movie did everything right, and (to quote Suri) when it didn't do something awsome that the viewer was hoping for, it was only because it was doing something better.

Basically, it's another one of those movies where the whole world relies on technology and things go wrong and everything plumets into chaos and some kids have to play hero. I've been told that it's basically "Digimon: The Movie except better", but I've never seen Digimon: The Movie, so I really wouldn't know.

Anyway, I fell in love with pretty much the whole cast right away, but one member of the cast just quickly blew me away... Sakae Jinnouchi.

This old lady is clearly the most badass fictional person in history. When things go bad, she just starts making phone calls to every important figure in Japan to make sure shit is covered. When her adopted son does something unforgivably retarded, she grabs a goddamn spear and attacks him. All without the slightest bit of hesitation.

She's a central figure in the movie, especially the first half, though later on the movie has reasons for shifting it's focus away from her. Other fantastic characters include Kazuma (and his avatar King Kazuma), and the two lead characters, Kenji Koiso and Natsuki Jinnouchi. I was drawn to Natsuki pretty quckly because she was just clever and amusing straight off the bat. I think my exact words upon her appearance were "She knows how to play the game." Almost all of the rest of the cast are Natsuki's relatives.

Kenji's whole schtick is that he's a math prodigy, but is pretty socially inept. His crazy math skills come up a couple times as main plot drivers of the movie and the scenes of Kenji doing math are completely hilarious. I made a lot of jokes about the moral being "everyone should go to art school" since I haven't taken math in my five years in college and none of the problems in the story would have occured if people didn't do so much math.

And then there is our villain, a terroristic hacking A.I. that goes by the name "Love Machine".

Love Machine is a fabulous villain. A fabulous, terrifying villain. Certainly not the kind you empathize with, since he isn't human. He doesn't talk at all and goes on a rampant, destructive spree that causes mass total chaos and nearly wipes out Japan. And then when that doesn't work he settles for trying to kill the Jinnouchi family instead, for no other reason than they are getting in the way of his hacking. His fights with King Kazuma (who is the avatar of Natsuki's fairly androgynous cousin, Kazuma) are beautifully orchestrated are visually engaging. Then again, just about everything in this movie is.

I'm not sure who was in charge of designing the digital avatars in "summer Wars", but whoever it is totally deserves a medal.

All of the characters in the movie have a representation in the digital world known as "Oz", even if they only shoe up very briefly in the background of some things, like the final battle of the movie. Though this is less of a battle in the sense that it is a physical fight (As the previous battles in the movie have been.) and actually a game played between Love Machine and Natsuki -- a game of Koi-Koi. Koi-Koi is played through out the movie, as all members of the family know how to play (and were taught by Sakae). I wasn't surprised when the climax of the movie turned out to be an epic game of Koi-Koi, but man it was fantastic to watch, even though none of us understood how it was played.

Natsuki and Love Machine play, wagering control of the accounts on Oz. Natsuki is wagering her family's accounts and Love Machine is wagering the accounts that he has hacked and stolen. Of course, when the going gets rough, determination turns the tides and unhacked members offer their accounts for Natsuki to wager, and then the mods give her a special item causing her Avatar to be powered up.

Suri had apparently ordered a figure of King Kazuma, and McLovin was waiting for pre-orders to open on a figure of Love Machine. I believe both are being released by Figma. When asked if I'd want either, I said I might want King Kazuma, but the only figure that I would but in a heartbeat would be Natsuki's final form. If Figma gave her to us, I'd jump on it so long as I wasn't broke.

All in all, I'm another person giving "Summer Wars" two thumbs way up. It was heartwarming and funny and very sweet. IF you want to kill a few hours and really enjoy yourself, give it a shot.

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