Children Who Chase Lost Voices Review

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I definitely didn’t know what to expect when I started this film. I didn’t know anything about it, from the plot to the characters. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t a pleasant surprise and certainly fell way below what I would have expected from it. It’s a shame since the film could have been good if it just had a better all around staff. The end product is just rather boring and aimless. It drags on and on and on.

Asuna is an everyday kid who knows how to take care of herself. She performs all of the chores and keeps her house in order since her Mom is typically out. One day, she witnesses a battle between a mysterious kid and a giant monster. They quickly become friends, but the kid is murdered soon after. Asuna doesn’t know what’s going on, but then the kid’s younger brother Shin shows up. He wants her crystal so one thing leads to another and she jumps through a portal with him to another world. Her substitute teacher, Ryuji, decides to come as well while he lets his comrades murder a poor monster that chose the wrong place to hang out. Despite realizing that Ryuji is a murderer who sold out his comrades and is keeping her prisoner, Asuna doesn’t take it personally. She hopes they can still be friends, but what is she even doing here anymore?

The film’s pretty aimless as I mentioned. Ryuji’s here to bring his wife back to life. If he can murder enough people, maybe he can get into the under world and find her. Of course, it won’t be so easy, but he is ready and willing to sacrifice Asuna to do this. Shin wants to help his corrupt village get their pendent back and is ready to murder everyone to do this as well. Asuna is really just here for the thrills and maybe she can see the dead kid again this way. There are no likable characters here and once again it is a story where you just feel bad for the animals. They didn’t ask for this, but the humans are always picking on them anyway.

What makes Asuna unlikable is the fact that she hangs out with Ryuji after everything he did. She seems completely oblivious to life in general and makes all of the wrong decisions. She is supremely annoying and grating to watch and if she even had a sliver of personality then she would have been a far better character. Even if the personality made her a jerk, at least it’s be something. She’s like a blank slip of paper in this one. Ryuji is evil even if the film doesn’t always try to portray it that way. I couldn’t sympathize with him one bit even if his goal is one that I typically don’t mind for villains. If he wants to do this, then he should go all the way and accept his role as a villain. The fact that the movie portrays him to still be a decent guy otherwise is just annoying and I didn’t buy it.

Shin’s also pretty generic. At least he helped out when it counted, but he’s just soooo weak. How could he let himself get one shotted so many times in one film? It was particularly embarrassing when he tried to stop Ryuji, but couldn’t. The film went out of its way to mock the concept of a child hero as he thought he was a great warrior, but ended up just being a kid in the end. It was easy for Ryuji to take him down. There weren’t any other real characters here aside from random villagers and Asuna’s human friend. They didn’t get to really do anything.

I’d say that the film was just too long. You’ll get bored after a little while and the fantasy elements take too long to really turn into anything tangible. The nightcrawler things were interesting as they suddenly showed up and kidnapped Asuna. More creatures like that could have been fun, but the sad fact is that the majority of them were animals that couldn’t fight and just existed to get slaughtered by the humans. The animal violence is naturally a huge reason why the film was really bad. They gunned down an animal for no good reason and this was the government. It’s all rather vague which is supposed to be interesting, but I wasn’t invested enough to care. Why does the government want this mystical land and how do people know about it? Why have they not sealed off the exits so the fantasy people don’t just come to the human world whenever they want? You can wait for the answers, but they’ll never come. It was always surprising when someone would get slashed and blood would appear. It always felt a little out of place, but it’s not excessive or anything. I wouldn’t really count it as a negative, but the animal part makes that irrelevant anyway.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the animation isn’t all that good. It’s not bad, but it has that soulless look that you may have come to expect from Westernized anime or as I like to call them “General audience” anime. It’s something that can be hard to describe, but it’s just a style. Look at Spirited Away or this film and then look at the latest DBZ or Naruto film. The latter you can instantly tell is an awesome anime film while the former titles look more see through and American. However you describe the difference, I always prefer the latter. It just looks a whole lot better. This film still looks decent by American standards though. We do get some action scenes here and I suppose the animation tries its best, but it certainly doesn’t do much to help the film. Likewise with the soundtrack as there aren’t any interesting themes here. I can’t say that I’m very surprised though. Not too much of a knock on the film, but you wouldn’t expect it to have any cool tunes. That’s just the kind of film it is.

Overall, Children Who Chase Lost Voices was absolutely a flop. Animal Violence + Annoying characters is always going to equal a loss in the end. The film was way too long and just got to be boring by the end. You’d definitely be changing the channel if this ever comes on TV again. None of the monsters were all that impressive when it comes to their power and the ending is like another laugh to the viewers. It seems to be a running gag that the heroine loves to go back to Earth and act like the whole thing never happened in the end. It was fitting for this film though since we’ll all just try to move on from this title. It’s definitely not one that I’d recommend. You should go watch a Dragon Ball Z film instead.

Overall 3/10

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The Jungle Book Review

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It’s time to finally get to the Jungle Book review. This film got a lot of recognition for its superb CGI and how realistic the animals ended up looking. They definitely do look pretty sharp and I’ll give the film a lot of kudos for its effects. Despite being a film with a lot of animals around and having a kid as the main character, Jungle Book did pretty well for itself. Honestly, the film would have been even better if Mowgli was older, but that’s for the sequel.

Mowgli is a kid who was raised in the forest. As such, he is used to being around animals instead of humans. Unfortunately, Shere Khan doesn’t approve of this. He faced a human once and lost his eye so now he thinks that all humans are evil. Honestly, most of the humans probably would come to the forest with the intent to do the animals harm, but Mowgli is too young for any of that. Mowgli is forced to go on the run when his clan is taken over by Shere Khan so now he must find some reinforcements and stop Khan before anyone gets hurt. He’ll need the help of a friendly bear, a panther, and a host of other animals who are around the bend. Mowgli is not a bad character, but I still think that kids can’t really hold their own films effectively. It’s just too hard to take him seriously. The scenes of him roaring, running around, or getting stung by bees all rank among the lower moments of the film. It’s really the side characters who do a good job of showing us why this film is good.

Take Baloo for example. He’s the best character in the film and since he is a bear, the guy is also a threat to the villains. A Bear would probably lose to a Lion in real life if they fought….but it would be very close. Both of them can conceivably defeat the other. Shere Khan is a tiger so then this helps Baloo’s case, but this bear isn’t a fighter anyway so that minimizes the advantage. Baloo is all about making equal partnerships and he’s a reasonable fellow. He’s a great friend to have around and he added some nice humor to the film. If he was intended to be the fan favorite all along, then the film definitely did a good job of making him a likable character.

Bagheera is the main Panther and the one who raised Mowgli ever since he was a kid. He’ll remind you of the main Panther from Animal Land and you can really draw a lot of similarities between this and that series. That one is a lot more extreme with the violence though and I don’t actually recommend it. It also got pretty supernatural by the end with all of the Chimeras running around and being as strong as Kaiju. That was certainly crazy. Bagheera may not be the absolute strongest animal here, but he’s a good all around fighter. I’d say that he seems to be a little stronger than the wolves, but not quite as powerful as the tigers. Bagheera is definitely one of the more likable characters in the film and while he may not be great at working with others, he learns to be a team player in the end.

Shere Khan is a great villain and he certainly makes his presence felt. I do think it was a little iffy how easily he defeated the Wolves though. They had numbers on their side and the leader shouldn’t have allowed himself to be taken out so easily. It’s a classic example of why arrogance leads to a fall. The Wolf wanted to show that he was in control of the situation so he lay down and pretended to be at ease. This made Khan’s plan all the easier. Khan would have won anyway, but I like to think that a prolonged fight against the whole clan would have been far too difficult, even for him. Khan is definitely persistent and you have to give him credit for never giving up. He never went down without a fight.

Kaa is another villain who got a big scene in the trailers, but didn’t actually do all that much in the film. She really got a glorified cameo if anything. Her illusion abilities are certainly handy, but in a fight she is clearly outmatched against the rest of the characters. The main character is one of the only people that she can defeat although to be fair, he’s the only one that she needs to eat in order to end the adventure.

If the film has any weakness, it’s that it can drag a little bit at certain points. For example, the escapade over to the Baboons. The plot didn’t really add anything to the movie and I never really care for the monkeys. It was impressive just how large the King was and the chase scene was cool, but it just felt like filler. The heroes were also so vastly outnumbered that it was just hard to see how they escaped from that plight without more serious injuries. I didn’t want any more bee injuries though because that always looks pretty gross so Monkeys were preferable. I also would have loved it if the film had taken place in the city, but then it’d be a completely different film right?

The writing was good, which always goes a long way in these movies. Bad writing would have made this film quite sad. I can’t say that I really recall there being much of a soundtrack in this film. That would have been pretty neat, but it wasn’t a bad soundtrack at any rate. I think there were some generic danger and action themes in there somewhere. As mentioned before, the graphics are pretty realistic. I prefer more fantasy esque graphics of course, but this wasn’t supposed to be that kind of movie anyway. As far as realistic animals go, Jungle Book did a really good job.

Overall, The Jungle Book is a good film. You’ll definitely get some Lion King vibes from the main villain and the scene where he “befriends” the cubs as a threat to the Mom is certainly familiar. Shere Khan definitely made for an epic villain. This is the kind of film that can definitely stand on its own without a sequel, but a sequel certainly wouldn’t hurt. There is definitely a lot that they can do with this series, but there are also a lot of ways that it can jump the fence. The writers will have to be careful how they handle this. I’d recommend checking out the film. There may be some scenes that drag on and Mowgli isn’t all that good, but by and large this is a solid film. The positives clearly outweigh the negatives and that’s always the important part. I think this film would have easily gotten a 7 if the main character had just been a little older, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Overall 6/10