Thursday, August 1, 2013

Film Review: Summer Wars (2009)

Summer Wars (Review)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

OZ is a massive virtual reality world that connects everyone and everything; every user creates an avatar and is free to participate in activities such as shopping, socializing, competitive fighting, and so on. Kenji, a math genius and OZ moderator, is invited by Natsuki to participate in her grandmother's 90th birthday. Kenji is eventually falsely implicated in the hacking of OZ, and a threat in the virtual world becomes all too real...

Summer Wars continues to show the bothersome and, more importantly, dangerous consequences of a world heavily dependent on technology. Along the way, Natsuki's family will humorously bicker and tease, while showing the importance of family and people; people taking care of people. Eventually, Kenji and Natsuki, along with her extended family, partner up to stop the menace through cyber warfare using their avatars and their computer skills; all while, albeit formulaically, developing their somewhat romantic relationship. After several exciting action sequences, Summer Wars reaches an epic finale. The story, despite a few clichés, is genuinely enjoyable and entertaining.

Summer Wars creates a deep world. The story, the concept, the design... it takes ingenuity to create a world like this, and this has plenty of it; I mean, the characters are brilliantly designed, OZ is fully fleshed out and in-depth, and the film offers so much more. The comedy elements feels very natural, never forced, and it creates many laugh out loud moments. The action is superb, with exhilarating fight and chase sequences; the scales gets so large it's often breathtaking. The story blends the action and comedy very well, they are blended seamlessly to create a consistent and immersive experience. It feels great to watch such a positive film, definitely a heartwarming movie.

The Japanese voice acting is nearly perfect. Mitsuki Tanimura plays Kazuma Ikezawa, which is a female playing a male; I know this is normal in animation, but this had me briefly confused; however, she captures the right emotions and ultimately delivers with her performance. The rest of the voice cast is fantastic, delivering authentic emotion. The animation is lush, the colors are vivid and the movements are smooth; a beautiful film to watch. The music is great, perfect for the film. Mamoru Hosoda directs and develops a fantastic story.

Overall, Summer Wars is a magnificent action SciFi adventure. It's extremely entertaining - the action and the comedy are top-tier, high quality. It has a few clichés, but the story ultimately works in being entertaining and meaningful. I strong recommend Summer Wars.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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