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Movie Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: “Sky Crawlers”

(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 2 hours, 2 minutes. Rated PG-13 for material involving violence, some sexual content and smoking. Directed by Mamoru Oshii.) Featuring the voices of Rinko Kikuchi, Chiaki Kuriyama, Shosuke Tanihara, Bryce Hitchcock and Ryo Kase. Music by Kenji Kawai.

Yuuichi is a member of the Killdren, genetically-engineered fighter pilots who never age and exist only to die in battle at the whims of dueling corporations. When he is assigned to a new squadron, Yuuichi is confronted with an odd sense of familiarity, leading him to question who exactly he’s replaced. Oshii (director of Ghost in the Shell) has constructed a slowly-paced, moody and contemplative film. On the surface, nothing much special happens. The dogfights, though spectacularly animated, feel empty and insubstantial. The characters are relatively thin, especially the milquetoast Yuuichi, spending most of their time drinking, smoking and being unconcerned with how short their lives could potentially be. However, the banality of the film’s events is hiding a deeper cynicism and disdain for complacency. It’s only when Yuuichi and his emotionally-damaged squadron commander Suito attempt to break free of their day-to-day cycle and strive for something greater that the narrative seems to move forward. In this light, the two-hour running time might seem long, but it’s well-used to establish the mood and feel of the film. As with many of Oshii’s films, patience and thoughtfulness are virtues. On the technical side, the film is beautifully presented and animated, expertly combining 3-D backgrounds with more hand-drawn characters. The Blu-ray transfer is impeccable, showcasing the lush visuals and lovely soundtrack. The disc also includes featurettes chronicling the locale and animation studies the animators did, as well as an interview with Oshii himself. An understated, beautiful film that will reward the patient viewer.

Jared Counts

Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

A UH alum, Jared Counts was hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, bouncing between departments until being hired full-time as a web developer in Febraury 2007. He currently manages the front- and back-end of this website (including the WordPress plugin that runs this staff directory), as well as...

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