Thursday, April 13, 2017

Your Name, mini movie review

Rating: B+

Your Name is the Japanese anime that has taken Japan by storm.  According to Wikipedia it's the "fourth highest-grossing film of all time in Japan, the 8th-highest grossing traditionally animated film and the highest-grossing anime film worldwide, with a total gross of more than US $328 million."

Your Name, written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, is a body switching movie in the same vein as Freaky Friday or Wish Upon a Star, only this time it's a girl, Mitsuha, from the country and a boy, Taki, from Tokyo who are switching places.  At first they think it's a dream, as the memories of the person they are switching into fade when they are themselves again, in the same way dreams fade when we awake.  It's not until their friends and family mention how weird they've been acting, and by leaving each other messages, that they realize these "dreams" are real.

The narrative is smooth switching from Mitsuha and Taki, showing their lives as they grow to appreciate one another, with many road bumps along the way.  It's through putting yourself in someone's else's shoes that you grow to love them, and that's what makes this movie unique.

Director Makoto Shinkai movies are always a visual delight, and I've grown to love his films artistry above Studio Ghibli, if you can believe.  I remember when The Place Promised in Our Early Days first came out in 2004.  He created ripples in the anime World.  I purchased 5 Centimeters Per Second as soon as it was available on DVD, and marveled instantly over that beautiful movie, particularly the second act, a must see.  Stunning traditional animation.  I haven't seen some of his other work, though I want to, as his style is so distinctive.   Your Name is no different.  It's visually beautiful, adding life and vitality to the presented scenes.  It glitters and gleams, in a good way, in a way film and 3D animation never can.  Thank goodness there are studios in Japan who are still making animated movies the traditional way, and Makoto Shinkai is one of the best.

The story in Your Name is interesting.  Where the plot could easily become convoluted, instead there's balance and fluidity.  There's a good mixture of comedy, drama, and suspense as details from their two lives parallel.

For those who love anime and classical animation, plus really solid storytelling, I recommend Your Name by Makoto Shinkai.

MPAA: Rated PG for thematic elements, suggestive content, brief language, and smoking.

(For my LDS friends who may want to see this, I would say this movie is a strong PG, in accordance to the "suggestive content" mentioned by the MPAA.  When Taki becomes Mitsuha he plays with her breasts, which becomes a joke through the film every time he wakes up as her.  There's no nudity, as he/she is wearing a shirt.  And when Mitsuha first becomes Taki she reaches down to check she's a boy, which is done off frame.)

And for those living in Utah Valley, Your Name is showing at Provo Towne Cinemark 16 with three showings dubbed in English and two showings with subtitles.

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