Monday, October 16, 2023

Suzume (2023)

SUZUME tells the story of a 17 year old girl who ends up on a quest to lock the doors between dimensions so that a giant worm can’t escape and destroy the world.

SUZUME is a very good film. It’s a grand romantic adventure that pulls us in and drags us along. It has arresting visuals, magnificent set pieces and a score I need to run down and add to my collection. It’s a film that looks spectacular especially on a big screen where the sound and image will make you audibly gasp.

And as good as the film is, it’s kind of disappointing. I say this as an earlier adopter of director Makoto Shinkai, whose films VOICES OF A DISTANT STAR and 5 CENTMETERS PERS SECOND are among the greatest films ever made. (They are and this is absolutely not open for discussion), The problem is that Shinkai’s films have gone from glorious masterpieces  to variations on a theme, namely a young girl at the center of some mystical experience that puts her in contact with a cute guy. His last three films, SUZUME, WEATHERING WITH YOU and YOUR NAME kind of the same story with different details. Even his GARDEN OF WORDS is related. His story telling has become derivative with Shinkai lifting bits from other films, which is odd because his first few films were nothing if not brilliant original.  As much as I enjoy Shinkai’s films, and I do, I just wish he would get back to making a film where I haven’t felt I’ve seen the tale before. Basically I want a story as magical as the visually we get every time out of the box.

Does the repetition mean that SUZUME is bad? No, it’s not. It just means that when you see it it may seem familiar, though you may not care. The fact it is one of the highest grossing animated films of all time suggests that other people don’t care either. It’s good enough that the film is in some talk for an Oscar nomination this year (Shinkai’s films are always in the Oscar talk)

SUZUNE is a good fantastical romance that’s worth a look.

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