Posts Tagged ‘avatar’

SUNSHINE AHEAD [TIDA-KANKAN: UMI TO SANGO TO CHIISANA KISEKI | てぃだかんかん / てぃだかんかん~海とサンゴと小さな奇跡~]

2010/06/25

http://tida.goo.ne.jp/

JAPAN 2010  Directed by: Toshio Lee  Written by: Satoshi Suzuki, Tamio Hayashi, Koji Kinjo (novel) Produced by: Mieko Fujiwara, Kei Haruna  Cinematography: Koichi Nakayama  Music: Coba  Cast: Takashi Okamura, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Hisashi Yoshozawa, Jun Kunimura, Atsuro Wataba, Mieko Harada, Masami Nagasawa

Toshio Lee’s first of at least two films released in 2010 (the other one being BOX!) is based on the autobiographical book of the same title by Koji Kinjo and tells the true story of a nerd and his wife who coincidentally become what today’s been called “environmentalists”. Kenji’s true love is the sea, especially the coral reefs; since his childhood he is fascinated by the ocean and spends every single minute possible by the water.

It is not surprising therefore that he fails as a professional: he regularly loses his jobs and hence leads a simple life together with his wife and kids. Kenji believes he could do many jobs, but at the end all he cares about is the sea. One day however he finds a way to turn his love for coral reefs into a business: he opens up a “coral bar”, a pub that showcases corals in a fish tank and aims to recreate the Okinawa sea. He calls the joint Bar Blue and quickly develops it into a successful franchise.

It comes as a shock to his family and friends when he decides to close down the bar business and instead wants to replant corals in nature. What got into him? Once again his passion gets in his way and all he dreams about is cleaning up the sea and breed corals. He starts with transplanting his Bar Blue corals into the ocean, but the more corals he plants the more resistance he meets from fishermen and politicians. While Kenji wants to preserve nature others want, or need, to exploit it. The conflicts of interest soon make big waves in the press and Kenji becomes something like a local hero, supported by many, disliked by even more.

His main idea becomes crucial for his undertaking: Kenji believes he can become the first person in the world to ever spawn coral reefs. Nobody has achieved this before, but Kenji thinks he can do it. Scientists quickly reveal his lack of method and are questioning his mission that is driven by little more than ambition and intuition. Kenji is facing the challenge of a lifetime: can he make corals spawn before he finally runs out of money, support and luck?

Forget AVATAR, watch SUNSHINE AHEAD instead. If you are looking for eco-conscious entertainment that’s authentic, absolutely not fabricated and free of clichés SUNSHINE AHEAD is the best choice in recent years. Even though it seems convenient to release the movie in times like these (the BP oil spill came later but once again proves that the movie’s timing is right), SUNSHINE AHEAD has absolutely nothing to do with calculated commercial moviemaking.

I have not read the novel but the storyline seems to stick to the real events as only a very few plot points hint at a basic dramaturgy that has little in common with conventional mainstream scripts. The movie has its ups and downs of course, yet it is going with the flow without being trivial. SUNSHINE AHEAD is very convincing as a movie with a message, but it also remains unpretentious from beginning to end.

Story aside, some of the movie’s footage features breathtaking images of nature that make us feel for the hero and his mission even more – SUNSHINE AHEAD may be a drama but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a cinematic experience. The movie is carefully framed and beautifully shot when it matters, and otherwise leaves it to the believable cast to make SUNSHINE AHEAD a really likable film.

SUNSHINE AHEAD is the best proof that a touching movie with a sincere message doesn’t require 3D. Also, it reminds us that despite the technological advancement all that matters is a great story. SUNSHINE AHEAD is a well-rounded, relevant movie that’s especially valuable for oil company executives.

J.


AVATAR @ GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS

2010/01/27

Many may ask themselves: how the heck could AVATAR rake in two of the biggest prizes given away at the Golden Globes? Especially the prize for “Best Film”? It’s as obvious as herpes that AVATAR is not a good movie. Much has been written about the dreadful script and infantile dramaturgy, and whereas the visuals may be innovative the story is as original and surprising as the MARTHA STEWART show.

So the question is how could this Cameron Kitsch be a) a good movie in the eyes of the jury and b) a better movie than its contestants, including INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS? The answer lies with the awards and what they are. The Golden Globe just like the Oscars is an industry – or better “Hollywood” award, not an award given by an independent committee trying to judge just purely on an artistic basis.

The Globes = HFPA’s main objective to “establish favorable relations” with the USA and by doing so it’s their job to celebrate what represents Hollywood best. So the best film is the biggest film, is the film that spreads the images, values and views of American culture best across the globe, and in return for its missionary deeds the film consequently becomes the favorite of the HFPA who is supposed to “establish favorable relations” = lick Hollywood’s buttock. The Globe “serving as constant incentive within the entertainment industry” is meant to honor Hollywood products that are most compatible with other cultures and people, in short: the Globes would award Coca-Cola best picture if they could.

So we shouldn’t be disappointed that “better” movies did not win “Best Film” that night. We should recognize the Globes and the Oscars for what they are and understand the nature of these awards. Just as it is common for advertising festivals like Cannes to primarily celebrate themselves, to show off the industry’s best works of which many have actually never been published and just been created for the awards in order to win an award (so-called scam ads), it is common that even films are being created with the award season in mind, trying to bank on certain industry trends in order to land a surprise hit. And the festivals and awards are just too keen on doing them that exact favor.

If AVATAR ever wins a truly meaningful film award we should be seriously outraged. But as far as the Globes and Oscars are concerned they simply prove that AVATAR is nothing but the smallest common denominator.

J.