Running Time: 113 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12
‘Memories’ comprises three different animes from three different directors, so it’s perhaps a little unfair to describe it as uneven. “A mixed bag” might be a kinder way of putting it, though unfortunately there are no hidden gems waiting to be discovered in any of the trio of tales.
Story number one is called ‘Magnetic Rose’, and it’s an overblown, self-indulgent space fantasy from Kouji Morimoto (who delivered a far more engrossing short with ‘Beyond’, his contribution to 2003’s ‘Animatrix’ disc). With a tiny nod in the direction of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, it uses a classical music soundtrack to accompany the yarn of two astronauts who respond to a distress call from a mysterious vessel. Once aboard, they’re seduced by the mind games of a dead opera singer who uses holograms to recreate her memories of happier times. As you do.
Story two (‘Stink Bomb’) sees Tensai Okamura changing tone and direction completely to take us back to Earth, where a bungling lab worker mistakes the product of top secret governmental research for some Tesco cold relief capsules. Before the daft pillock knows what’s going on, he’s emitting a powerful stench that causes everyone within wafting-distance to fall into an instant coma.
Finally, the shortest of the lot is Katsuhiro Otomo’s ‘Cannon Fodder’. It’s about a society of goomba-faced types whose entire lives revolve around the firing of over-sized cannons in the general direction of an unseen and unknown enemy.
If the film as a whole has one major strength, it’s that all three of its segments truly are incredible to look at. Technically, this is Japanimation at its finest, and each of the tales provide their own particular visual treat. Unfortunately the stories themselves, whilst undoubtedly wildly-imaginative, just aren’t engaging enough. All three triumph as feats in animation, but it’s largely at the expense of storytelling. Simply being “out there” isn’t enough to entertain – at least not in this reviewer’s opinion.
If you’re an anime buff then this is a production you won’t want to miss, as it’s a showcase for the work of some renowned directors and also serves to demonstrate just how versatile their differing approaches to animation can be. But I can’t recommend this to the casual viewer looking for a good way into the genre, as it’s unlikely you’ll be impressed. For a piece of work that boasts a winning plot as well as the requisite eye-popping visuals, check out Spirited Away instead – you won’t go wrong.
It's Got: A third tale featuring some particularly unattractive protagonists.
It Needs: I cant remember...
DVD Extras Memories of Memories featurette, and some trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10
A bit of a disappointment stimulates the eyes, but not the mind.