. . . and boy, have I got one massive nit to pick.
Before that, let me say it out straight: GREAT movie. I mean . . . mm, I’d love to make use of a well-known phrase involving a pair of human appendages posed vertically in such a way as to indicate approval, but I hear it’s been copyrighted and I’m in no mood to go to court. Anyway, good stuff.
Now here comes the nit. Let me get the shotgun ready.
I mean, come on: San Fransokyo? Really?
On the surface, an interesting premise, and one can clearly see that they’ve done their homework. The signs actually have real, readable Japanese on them (not meaningless strings of random characters). And I do quite love what they’ve done with the facade of the police station in that scene where the lead character reports an incident to the authorities. Reminds me of the old prewar brick buildings in the heart of the Japanese capital, with their subtle blend of local and imported aesthetics.
And then the streetcar comes rumbling in. With little paper lanterns hanging from its roof.
And the bridge, recognisably a fictional doppelganger of a certain real-world structure, but with grotesquely overdone faux-eastern accents that make it look like something out of a dim sum commercial.
And the name. Oh, that horrible name. I won’t say more about it, lest I type something unprintable and find myself darned to heck for all eternity.
It’s just . . . mm, I lack the intellectual depth and vocabulary of a professional critic so I don’t quite know how to put it, but it simply didn’t work. It takes a lot more than pulling out a San Francisco street scene and sprinkling it with tiled roofs and sakura in full bloom to create something resembling a smooth blend of East and West. It didn’t look like a place that organically developed as a harmonious product of two different cultures. It was more like a patchwork metropolis assembled from the atom-bombed remnants of the two great cities that inspired its creation.
As I wrote earlier, they tried. The effort showed. Sadly, it didn’t mesh well.
It would have been better if they’d set it in Tōkyō. Or San Francisco. Either one would have worked. Instead, they decided to stitch together some kind of Frankencity that paid homage to neither.
Okay, nitpicking done. All that aside, it WAS a good film. One of the better ones I’ve seen of late, whether live-action or animated – and I’ve seen some outstanding flicks.
But San Fransokyo? I’ll be having nightmares about this for weeks.
(And to avoid any ambiguity, I was referring to this movie. Cheerio.)