Sakasama no Patema – Movie Review
I’ve been waiting for this movie for awhile and it’s finally out.
The last anime movie that I could remember watching and liking was ‘Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki’, if you haven’t seen it, then you should watch it because that was good.
Sakasama no Patema definitely has the “intriguing” aspect locked down with it’s storyline of upside down people, the clashing of societies. Throw in some metaphors and some “what is the meaning of life”-sort of questionable moments and you’ve got yourself something to watch this weekend.
Genres: adventure, drama, fantasy, science fiction
Themes: parallel universe, upside-down world
Run Time: 1hr 36mins
A world, forever beyond your expectations. In a dark, cramped, underground world of endless tunnels and shafts, people wear protective suits and live out their modest hard and yet happy lives. The princess of the underground community, Patema, goes out exploring as always, inspired by her curiosity of the unknown depths of the world. Her favorite spot is the “danger zone”, an area forbidden by the “rule” of the community. Despite being frequently chastised by her caretaker Jii, she cannot hold back her curiosity for the reason behind the rule, because no one would tell her what the “danger” was. When she approaches the hidden “secret”, the story begins.
Sakasama starts off focusing on Patema, a girl who has lived her whole life underground.
As one would expect, having seen nothing of the outside world aside from a small Polaroid image of the sky given to her as a kid, she grew up fixated at the possibilities of what laid beyond those tunnels that she grew up in, like a frog stuck in a well.
To her, she is a perfectly normal girl merely trapped within her world. To Age (the male protagonist of the show), Patema is one of the inverted people.
*dum dum dum dum* Drum roll please.
Patema stumbles upon Age as she tries to escape her world in order to explore the outside world and to find Lagos, a good friend(father-like character) of hers.
Through an accident, Patema is stranded in a shed with Age where he then tries his best to help get her back to where she belongs. But what movie is without it’s villians?
This is where we are introduced to the dictator of the outside society(Aiga) where Age lives.
In Aiga, the students and members of society are told that the Sakasama People (Inverted People) are sinners who have been deemed unworthy and thrown into hell (which, in their case, is the sky), and any association with these people is illegal.
The story then picks up it’s pace from being a “boy meets girl” movie, to a more drama and action filled one as Age tries to save Patema when she finds herself captured by the dictator.
A whole bunch of other things ensue, but I shall not spoil it for you. 🙂
The movie runs for slightly over one and a half hours and for the most part, the pacing of the show is good. And when it does lose some steam, the following scene picks up the slack without waste.
So…where to start…
One of the biggest thing to note about this show is probably the fact that the whole movie tries to be a thought provoking one, but the effect it had on me was minor and I wasn’t left wondering long after the movie had ended. The key topics that the movie had touched on were not something uncommon nor was it’s execution anything fantastic, but it did try to not come across as being painfully blunt. Which is a good thing.
What is it’s theme you might ask?
Well, it is of course none other than the idea of a utopian/dystopian society. The whole concept that in order to create a Utopian society, man would have to suffer and be restraint in order for there to be peace. The idea is nothing new, but it was still executed well.
The movie plays out Aiga as being a society that is closed off from any knowledge except for what’s permitted, with it’s people being nothing more than tools and toys to be played with by the dictator. Having opinions of your own is non-condusive to the “peaceful” society that’s been created for the sake of the people, and that’s the way they like it.
This is where the character Age comes in, he is used as a way to tear this whole faux uptopian society apart by showing us the consequences of “acting normal” by our definition of the word. He loves the sky and would often seek it out, and one of the scene that I really liked was the one where all the students travel to school on a conveyer belt. The symbolism in that scene was definitely packed to the brim. The students on the conveyer belt looked like mass produced products without any emotions, all neatly lined up on a production line as they “made their way to school”.
Throughout the whole movie, we are shown that everything that happens is merely a matter of perspective. To Age, Patema is inverted, but to her, he is the inverted one. We are shown that the knowledge these character’s have is based off what they are taught and how they saw things through their own eyes rather than that of others. It definitely aims at trying to get the audience to look beyond themselves in life and see what they might discover when they do so.
Another key metaphor in this show is the use of The Sky as a representation of the unknown and fear. It is constantly brought up with Patema being in danger of falling towards “The Sky” due to her lack of gravity. The movie focuses a lot on showing the audience that the fear of the unknown might restrict us from seeing the truth, and from experience a whole new world of things. But without spoiling the whole movie for you, I can’t really say much more. 😉 Of course, according to the dictator (I don’t know if his name is ever mentioned, and that in itself is another thing to note if it wasn’t mentioned), the sky is portrayed as Hell.
As with all stories, where a boy and a girl come together in a meeting at a curious age, some form of romance is definitely bound to develop. Thank god the show tried to stay off it as much as possible (though you could tell they couldn’t help themselves), as those non-romantic moments were the entertaining ones.
It is not that the romance in this movie is bad, it is just clumsy, which in all honesty is inline with the character development of Patema and Age. However, I could have done without some of those “blood”-like hint of love (you’ll know the scene when you see it).
The Animation and Sound
Purple Cow Studio Japan did a good job with the animation, the scenery was breathtaking at times and the effects were superbly done. If you are able to watch it in 1080p I would suggest you do so. The whole experience is worth it, what with the sound effects and the “prettiness” of it all. Of course, for me, the best skyline and backdrop designs are always Makoto Shinkai’s ones.
This is the type of show that I would have loved to have seen at 3D Max, with those huge screens. It would have brought the viewing experience to a whole new level seeing as to how the main focus of the show was the sky and the idea of looking up or down.
I have a slight fear of heights and I could definitely feel the pain of the characters with my heart dropping down to my stomach at moments (even from just watching the movie on a small laptop screen). Just imagine if it were on a big one… (•^_^•)
The character animation is nice and fluid as you would expect of the movie. It is easy enough for the animation aspect to pull the story aspect of the movie down, but I think that the two parts really fit well together in this movie. The dark moments played out really nicely, and those light-hearted comedic moments, though rare towards the end, were nicely time.
There was this particular scene at the start where Age is trying to walk away and Patema kept interrupting him with questions. I loved the way sound (or lack there of) was used to interrupt the atmosphere of the scene and to provide some comic relief with it good comic timings.
All in all, it was not the best animation ever, just good, which is inline with the storyline of the movie.
I thought that a video of the ending theme song of the movie would help to illustrate the mood set throughout the movie:
Turn on that screen, and relax into your chair/couch. This would be a good weekend movie to watch, but I would recommend that you watch it at night, simply because it’s a bit heavy for an afternoon watch. Then again, if you don’t care then close those blinds and get watching.
The movie may seem like it’s been done before, and feel really familiar or unoriginal (nothing really is that original these days), but it is done well in my opinion. The art, music, story and characters are all entertaining and the twists in the movie had definitely caught me off guard though not unexpected when I look back at it.
Movie Rating: 8/10
I hope that you guys will have a good weekend! 😄