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Hal (special anime movie review)

hal-movie-animeTitle: Hal

Director: Ryōtarō Makihara

Author: Izumi Kizara

Studio: Wit Studio

U. S. Distributor: FUNimation

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 2nd, 2014

Format: DVD / Feature Film

Genre: Sci Fi, Romance, Drama

Age Rating: Not Rated at time of review

Overall Personal Rating: EVA & Andy: A-

 

The following review is a special conversational review by EAV and Andy. This anime is not scheduled to release until September and because of its unique aspects to the film we thought it would be interesting to provide two viewpoints in a back and forth conversational approach. We hope you find it helpful.

 

Synopsis:

Kurumi’s heart was broken by the sudden death of her boyfriend in a tragic airplane accident. Forced to carry on without her beloved Hal, she fell into a reclusive and joyless existence. Kurumi had given up on the world, but a brilliant scientist devised a plan to win her back. By melding futuristic technology with the binary equivalent of human emotion, they created an ultra-lifelike robotic surrogate to take Hal’s place – and lure Kurumi from her shroud of solitude. Resistant at first, this shattered beauty slowly yielded to her feelings of longing – and took comfort in the company of a robot. Though their unique bond grew stronger with each passing day, Kurumi and Hal would soon discover that nothing about their artificial love story was quite as it seemed.

Commentary:

E: Hal was definitely an interesting movie. It has the potential to do well. I did find that I really had to pay attention to the movie, because if I got busy doing something else for a bit, I didn’t know what was going on. I think it was the way they revealed the story and events.

Andy: I also found it to be a movie you had to pay attention to. It may not have been fast paced, but it was rich enough to make you follow along. The strongest aspect to the film that I found interesting was the way they portrayed both Hal and Kurumi. Both were fully developed and at the same time I found them to be shrouded in mystery.This in itself leads you back to being forced to pay close attention to it. I really think the writing was strong enough to carry this off and proves to be the real power to the film.

E: I watched it a second time, it was illuminating and still held up well. It was amazing how much detail and concepts were fit into such a short time. The writing/ story  really directed the viewer to believe certain things that were put into question later but the way the story was told was rather clever. I enjoyed the  comfortable mix of old and new woven throughout, the ultra modern wasn’t leave behind nature or tradition.

Andy: I agree and think that Izumi Kizara did a wonderful job of creating that world where these possibilities could come true. Even with the great advances that have taken place humanity still has not lost what makes us special. That bond between two people who truly love each other manages to transcend time and space and become clear even when one of the two has become an Artificial Intelligence. I don’t know if that world will ever come true, but it gives me hope to think that if we are able to create such a wonderful machine that we will be sure to give it those aspects of our nature that makes us wonderful and loving.

I too found the animation to be well done and I think it says a lot for a newer studio that has Hal and Attack of the Titans to stand on as their first two productions. For Hal they did a great job of including the emotion of the story into the look and to also give a warmth in the environment that lends itself to the touching story line. It sure did make it easy to have true empathy for both Hal and Kurumi.

E: Visually it was excellent. The outdoor scenes had a poetic reality and the indoor scenes were really full of details that expertly set up the story or the character’s lives. The room that Kurumi had isolated herself in is one example. All the things and pieces fill us into the person she was and her relationship to Hal.

Working at an anime store, I’m often asked for suggestions. Summer Wars or Girl Who Lept Through Time are two movies on my favorite list, now I’ll be adding Hal to this.

Andy: I can see why you like it so much, but I just didn’t get to the same place as you did. I did find the animation at the top of the spectrum and much of the writing was great, but all in all I guess that the complexity just made it a little off the mark. Hal does make it on my list of great films that should be seen and will also be a mainstay on the shelf at the store. I am looking forward to seeing what others think about it when it is released.

E: The more I thought about the movie, the better I liked it. My grade for it will be A-. It was well animated, sensitive, thought provoking and an interesting story told in a clever way. The strike against it was Hal’s background story, it was too saturated with tragedy without enough to really explain.

Another thing I want to bring up, was the robot, who was a lesson in humanity and made a great sacrifice. It is easy to forget about it as a separate character because it was personifying someone most of the time.

 

 

 

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