How do you make a film about fighter pilots boring…?

I was going to write a review of Lucky Star for today, but last night I sat down with two of my housemates to watch a film. I had finally managed to get my hands on a blu-ray copy of “The Sky Crawlers”, and so excitedly plugged it, commenting about how it had an “IMDB rating of 6.7″ and higher on rotten tomatoes…

It started so well too. The opening sequence is incredibly eye pleasing, as you follow a computer generated flight sequence over some stunning scenery. The music fits to it perfectly as well. But this doesn’t last for long.

I would normally start by summarising the plot, but the thing with The Sky Crawlers is that, with the exception of a vague storyline, there isn’t one. So instead of trying to elaborate this, I think I will stick to my biggest gripe with the film.

THE DOORS. Well, it’s not just the doors. It’s the CGI in general. It has moments when it is absolutely stunning, but as soon as someone feels the need to open a door, or fold up a newspaper, it all goes horribly wrong. My main problem with the animation is that it’s inconsistent. The Sky Crawlers takes the bold decision to combine hand animated characters with a mostly computer animated world, and as a result, it just doesn’t fit together. At times it feels like you are watching someone play a badly made video game.

Once I got past my reservations about the animation, I realised that I was already half an hour into the film, and nothing had happened. We had some vague explainations of terms, a few pieces of dialogue, some chain smoking, and a lot of feigned dramatic silence. But essentially nothing had happened.

It seems to me like The Sky Crawlers was trying to be an emotional and stirring film, and it raised some fairly deep points, but the main problem with its execution is the fact that it missed the most important thing: emotion. The characters appear wooden, and expressionless, the dialogue is mostly dull, and the overuse of silence is just laughable.

Perhaps I am missing something here, perhaps, with all these good reviews, The Sky Crawlers actually has some deep underlying metaphor, perhaps the story actually represents the struggle of humanity and the futility of existence, or perhaps it’s just a really bad film.

Plot – 2/10.
Some signs of thought, but ultimately no real point to the story.

Characters – 2/10.
Showed some occasional signs of emotion, but felt mainly wooden, boring empty shells.

Storyline – 3/10.
Occasionally it felt like something might happen, but the film just drags along slowly, and silently.

Animation – 4/10.
Some brilliant CGI in parts…But… THE DOORS! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD THE DOORS!!!!

Sound/Music – 4/10.
Hard to rate as their isn’t much. The opening sequence music is perfect, but far too much silence for my liking.

Enjoyment – 5/10
So, nothing happened, but at least I didn’t feel bad enough to turn it off part way through…

Overall – 34%

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