Jan 20, 2014

Summer Wars (2009)

After watching Mamoru Hosoda’s first full-length feature film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), and falling in love with his charming characters and engaging story structure, I had high expectations for Hosada’s follow-up. Unfortunately, the bubbly, eye-catching animation of Summer Wars was not enough to salvage its stereotypical characters, lack of emotional investment, and overdependence on ludicrous plot devices. The film is unable to develop any believable connection between the protagonist and his love interest, although the rest of the family members are lovable and have great chemistry when interacting with one another. The film’s attempts to say something profound about society’s dependence on technology is constantly hindered by its inability to develop a relatable world, starting off with an unlikely technological premise and introducing one inexplicable detail after another that would never work in real life. Separately, the family dynamics of the Shinohara/Jin’nôchi house and the action-packed world of Oz may have been great, but the disjoint feeling between the characters actions and the feats they perform in the virtual world is tough to shake off.

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