Voices of a Distant Star
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VOICES OF A DISTANT STAR
Although it looks like a studio work, Voices of a Distant Star is a personal film, made almost entirely by a single artist, Makoto Shinkai. Mikako and Noboru are separated at the beginning of high school in 2046. She's accepted into the training program for mecha pilots to fight the aliens who attacked human settlements on Mars. As she moves across the miles and, ultimately, light years, she sends messages that the forlorn Noboru patiently awaits. The animation is largely restricted to camera moves over still artwork and CG objects, but Shinkai is a skillful enough director to tell this melancholy sci-fi romance through the strong music and vocal tracks. Voices of a Distant Star packs more of an emotional punch than many elaborate studio films. (Rated 13 and older, but suitable for viewers 2 years younger: minor violence) --Charles Solomon
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The second impression of this movie almost turned me off to it completely. The visual style, though competent in its way, uses way too many of the anime cliches. She always appears in her shortie schoolgirl skirt and playfully dishevelled necktie, even in combat. Everyone features big eyes, tiny mouths, and stick-thin legs. And yes, there are flying robots with the stock assortment of lasers, missiles, and forcefields. If the visual styling could have escaped the ordinary, this could have been new landmark in the world of anime. Ordinary isn't bad, though, so the story carries this movie beautifully.
Extras include the pencil sketches used to rough out the visual story, a director's cut of the movie, and a brief feature lacking English sound or text - interesting, but largely closed to me. The package as a whole, though, is well worthwhile.
I hadn't heard of Makoto Shinkai until this year, with all the hype from 5 Centimeters Per Second, which I also adored, but I'm glad I know of him now. I will definitely be keeping an eye on all of his works, much the same as with Miyazaki.
I won't waste space going over the content of the film, since that has been covered quite well in the other reviews. Suffice it to say, this is worth owning, even if you're not really an anime fan. Buy it.