REVIEW: Weathering With You

Let’s be honest, following up from Your Name is like a singer having to come on stage after Freddie Mercury.

During a horrible spout of weather over Tokyo, two teenage runaways have their lives intertwined when one of which is discovered to be more than what she appears.

From Makoto Shinkai – the filmmaker behind such anime classics as The Place Promised In Our Early Days5 Centimeters per SecondChildren Who Chase Lost VoicesThe Garden of Words and, of course, Your Name – comes one of the most stunning animations I have seen all year, Weathering With You. Although not near the heights of Your Name, Shinkai’s newest film still offers traits of genius that cannot be overseen. Despite myself personally not being the biggest fan of this film, I still can highly recommend it to anime fans globally.

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(The Jakarta Post 2019)

I guess to pinpoint the greatest element of Weathering With You would be to focus in on the pristine animation at the forefront of the film. Man, oh man, this was genuinely a gorgeous film from a visual standpoint. Such immense attention to detail and exact focus led to runtime of splendour for the iris. With frames that even rivalled the ingenious animation of Your Name or The Garden of Words, I would safely say Weathering With You is the most competently rendered animation of 2019, by far. Then again, there is not a huge amount to say in the way of visuals when all I need to say is: this film was f****** beautiful to look at. To turn my attention to general critics on cinematic functions like narrative and character would then work to… well… complicate things.

Although I am confident in saying Weathering With You managed to tell a visually provocative and intricate story, other elements of the film just left a bit to be desired. And you cannot particularly throw specific blames at anybody as, like I said, following Your Name was always going to be an impossible task – but I have to say, I left the cinema a little disappointed.

Not nearly was the emotional core of the film as muscular and powerful as that of the emotional core pounding from the centre of Your Name or even The Garden of Words. Why is that? Well, I just felt the dialogue and general script work came as no real match to the visuals. I don’t know if it was the fact this film got a little lost in translation when attempting to speak to global audiences, but Weathering With You felt absurdly more cheesy, over-dramatic and, well, kind of silly when played out. Maybe to the general anime fanbase, this film would be peak anime for you with its soap opera-like drama and goofy, sometimes sensual, comedy, but for me, I just thought this film was a little too over-the-top.

I have gone on record to say I love anime, but the more I divulge this certain branch of cinema, the more I have come to realise that I only love some anime – the rest I merely like or “don’t mind”. Weathering With You was more in the category of “don’t mind”; it just veered to frequently into the cliché sides of anime that I personally do not find interest in, like for example bombastic and random amounts of J-Pop and teen romance that is notched up to 100 from 0 in a matter of 1 or 2 scenes. I loved Your Name because it felt unique – it still had those cliché elements of an anime, but it danced around said tropes in such creative and inspiring ways. Weathering With You was more the opposite in the way it adhered to the tropes before fully focusing in on its more obscure, interesting elements.

Again though, for all the reasons I wasn’t a huge fan of this film, I believe there is an audience out there for Weathering With You that would adore this film unapologetically. And, as I said, its immature to consider this film completely absent of merit; the supernatural elements were fascinating when the film decided to give them focus; the comedy was actually humorous when the right notes were hit; and the eventual was felt when the adventure was intended. The fact is, the film asked me to care for it more than it deserved to be cared for. So for that, I had trouble completely considering this film a triumph like the Shinkai’s most recent efforts.

I will say though, if you are a fan of Your Name there were some cool surprises sprinkled throughout this film. In general, Weathering With You shared a lot in common with its predecessor… its just a shame it didn’t share the same heart.

To sum it up, I liked Weathering With You, but just not enough to say it was great by any stretch. A recommendation for fans of anime, but a bit of shrug for cinemagoers who do not traditionally follow the cinematic artform. It’s ye olde, go for the visuals and stay for… the visuals, I guess.

Weathering With You is a bloody… CRUSADE!!

 

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