Sunday, July 09, 2006

Film — The great Yokai War aka The Great Hobgoblin War et al.

A Japanese live-action fantasy adventure film, so you know you're in for, and it delivers, a lot of rubber suits, heavy make-up, and slightly mannered acting all with a generous helping of cheese — all the sorts of vices that the animated form manages to avoid.

That as a given, this is a take on the “reluctant hero” pattern, as young Tadashi, recently moved from Tokyo to a rural village, gets caught up in a village festival, and is elected the Kirin Rider, a local folk-hero. This of course is his passport into the world of the spirits, just as Lord Kato (the villain, played as if by an understated Jeremy Irons) is invoking the angry spirits of discarded things to attack Tokyo.

Through a combination of grit and slapstick humour, Tadashi and a few fairly incompetent spirits (and an exceptionally kawaii sunekosuri) manage to save the day. And all without a single yell of "Kirin Rider Super Lightning Attack!" or similar invocation to invoke a power up!

Neither great art nor cutting edge cinema — but good solid fun, and, I think, would bear a second viewing.

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