Sunday, March 10, 2013

Anime review: "Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu"

I have watched "Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu" last Sunday, but this was such a busy week for me that I didn't had to time to review it. Now it's finally Saturday and I have time to do it.

I've been planning to watch this movie since when it came out, early in 2010. But first there were no subs available for long time, and after that I never seemed to find time for this two and a half hour long movie. I liked the first "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu" very much, but liked the sequel "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (2009)" had some flaws ("The Endless Eight"). Nevertheless, I had good opinion of the franchise. And more, reviews of this movie were always very good - this move is currently rated first on AniDB.

"Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu" (or "The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi") starts with what is a norm for the show - few days before Christmas Kyon is dragged into another Haruhi's crazy plan, without asking whether he agrees or not. But after he wakes one morning, he finds the world not as it was yesterday - there is no Haruhi or Koizumi, and Nagato and Asahina don't seem to know him. He must find what happened and how to reverse it - but before that, he must decide does he even want to leave this, world where he finally has a normal life...

The movie asks for some knowledge of previous series - the knowledge I unfortunately lacked, because I watched them some time ago. But there is not much of such situations, and they get explained in due course, so it didn't spoil much of my enjoyment. But if you have time, rewatch the first two series before watching the movie.

The movie starts a bit slow, but it gets very interesting later. It has a very convoluted plot and it helps if you are familiar with previous series (e.g. I forgot some of the supporting characters). I really didn't expect the culprit, and I liked the ending quite much. As usual, there is a large portion of comedy: lots of embarrassing situations for viewers, e.g. whenever Kyon embarrasses himself by confessing someone that he is from another world. But at the same time this is the most serious and most dramatic part for now.

As expected, the movie is very nice from visual side - not overly impressive, but with nice colors, characters and animation. Sounds are also good, even though it lacks the great music, such as was in the first season.

In case you are a fan of the series, you will really love "Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu" movie. I am, and I really couldn't find any flaw to it. And the fact of its highest rating tells that even other people liked this movie. So, this is definitely a movie to recommend to anybody.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Movie review: "Anna Karenina"

Yesterday I went to movies with my girlfriend to watch "Anna Karenina". It was originally her idea, but I didn't have anything against it.

Even though I was a passionate reader since I was ten, for some reason I (successfully) avoided most of high-school proscribed reading, including "Anna Karenina". I was vaguely familiar with the story, as much as I remembered from a book with short analysis of plot and characters for high-school books, but in general, I didn't know anything about the movie.

The story of "Anna Karenina" is a tragedy, revolving about three central characters in 19th century Russia. Karenin (played by Jude Law) is a high-positioned noble and politician, orthodox, strict but respected for his moral and ethical principles - but at the same time he is shown as cold and distanced, especially toward his family. Anna (Keira Knightley) is his wife, at the beginning of the movie displayed as happy with his marriage and especially their son, and loyal to her husband. She actually reprehends her cousin for being angry at her husband for cheating on her and manipulates her into forgiving him. But this changes after a chance encounter with young and dashing Count Vronsky - a pampered noble with eye for beauty, sweet tongue and flowery manners. An unexpected happens and these two unlikely people fall in love, and later to obsession, which damages their lives and especially Karenin family. There is also a secondary story, dealing with another young and shy noble Levin and his love toward Princess Kitty.

The story is good, but center of this movie is its characters, primary the central trio. As I expected from a renowned literary classic, characters are great and complex. The best notion for me is that no one is described as negative: all three are just people, with their personalities, caught in facts of life, love and passion. Though, I was surprised that at the end I was putting most blame on Anna - I don't know if this was intended by the movie-makers, or it was projected from my own beliefs and personality. I am even tempted to read the book to find out.

I liked the acting, even though I am not fan of Keira Knightley. But even more I liked the semi-breaking of the fifth wall: during the changes of scenes, characters are shown as traveling through theater sets; when important things are happening, supporting characters "freeze". I also liked the costumes and small details about Imperial Russia. The music was very good, even to me who usually don't notice such things.

All in all, I really enjoyed "Anna Karenina". If you don't like romances or dramas, avoid this movie. But for everybody else, the movie is never boring, has great and interesting characters and is very intense.