Day 249: Akira (1988)

akiraI have been doing this for 248 days before today and I realized that I have watched all sorts of films like horror, comedy action, martial arts, animated films, but I have never watched a Japanese Anime film. That is why for today, I chose to watch the film Akira which was released in 1988. In 1988, Tokyo as we know it was destroyed by a psychic by the name of Akira. 30 years later in Neo-Tokyo, scientists are still trying to figure out the psychics and what gives them their power. Meanwhile, Neo-Tokyo is in ever growing distress and people are becoming restless. One revolutionary group tries to break out one of the psychics, but it backfires when he transfers powers to a bike gang kid who goes a little violent when the powers start to manifest. Now three psychic children and one of the biker gang kids friends will have to stop him before it’s too late. The film stars Mitsuo Iwata (Golden Boy) as Kaneda, Nozomu Sasaki (Bubblegum Crisis) as Tetsuo, Mami Koyama (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils) as Kei, Tesshô Genda (Ghost In The Shell) as Ryu, Hiroshi Ôtake (Speed Racer) as Nezu, Yuriko Fuchizaki (Oh My Goddess!) as Kaori, and the film was written and directed by Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Metropolis). 

akira 2I am not going to lie and say that I love Japanese Anime because I never really paid much attention to them. I am however going to say that I really enjoyed watching the film even though I was trying to figure out what Akira is exactly. All I know is when that dude shows up, nothing good comes from it, but total destruction which is why I can see why people want to prevent it. One of the things I loved about this film the most is the fact that it’s a very well written story and it’s executed on your screen. Here is this kid whose been picked on or he may not be the most popular member of the gang who finally gets some powers that allows him to mess people up. What would you do with them? Yeah, you would mess some people up because you can. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Tetsuo is in his room and he is visited by the three little psychic kids, but they came in the form of giant stuffed animal toys to try and freak him out. They know exactly how dangerous he is and they want to prevent him from harnessing the powers. The animation is not like what we typically see from Japanese anime because this one is very similar to that of Heavy Metal, but improved. You could even compare it to Titan A.E. if you really wanted to as far as what the animation looks like. I really did enjoy watching this film and I’m glad I took the time to watch it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 123: Metropolis (1927)

metropolisFor today’s film, I chose to see Metropolis and it’s a silent film classic from the master of German Expressionist films Fritz Lang (M). The movie stars Gustav Fröhlich (Asphalt) as Freder – Joh Fredersen’s Son, a boy who has grown up on the richer side of life thanks to his father Joh Fredersen who runs Metropolis. One day when he sees a woman named Maria (Brigitte Helm), he notices that the lower working class is being treated like slaves. So, he decides to go in undercover and figure out what it is he can do to help. He discovers that Maria is some sort of guiding light for the workers and he decides to help her, but an inventor has a different idea of his own. He will employ his machine man who assumes the identity and look of Maria to fool the people into believing that their savior is not coming. Can Freder save the day before it’s too late or will the evil inventor succeed. The film also stars Rudolf Klein-Rogge (The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse) as The Inventor, Fritz Rasp (The 3 Penny Opera) as The Thin Man, Theodor Loos (M) as Josaphat, Heinrich George (The Stationmaster) as Grot, and Alfred Abel (Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler) as Joh Fredersen.

metropolis 3For a film that was made in 1927, it was definitely a visually stunning film and it’s no wonder it holds it’s worth as a classic. They tell you in the beginning of the the film that they tried their best to restore it to it’s original form, but some of the film was damaged. You’ll definitely notice during the film all the different pieces of film that they tried to piece together because it’s obvious. Like I said, the visuals in the film are just stunning to see from the robot, the city itself, and some of the other visuals like the seven deadly sins (as you can see to your left). The story is an amazing one that can relate to just about anytime frame even though this takes place ten years from now in 2026. Think about, we live in a climate where it seems like the rich are getting richer while the poor are staying poor. When that happens usually the poor will rise against it and that is the premise of this film. There are no audible lines in this film, so the acting skills of the actor had to be on check for these films to work and believe me they were amazing. There body language most certainly told the story  as they conveyed the characters feelings onto the screen. The film was definitely ahead of it’s time and I am so glad that they were able to restore it enough that we can enjoy it as it’s immortalized from 16MM to digital. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade. Check it out for yourselves on Netflix right now.

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