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The Sky Crawlers [DVD] 
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From Mamoru Oshii, the world-acclaimed director of Ghost in the Shell comes an award-winning story of an exciting but endless war with heroes too young to understand the meaning of their battles. A group of eternally young fighter pilots known as Kildren experience the sudden loss of innocence as they battle the enemy in astonishing dogfights above the clouds. With his only childhood memory consisting of intense flight training, the fearless teenage pilot Yuichi's dogfights coexist with his struggle to find his missing past. When his beautiful, young female commander Suito is reluctant to discuss the fate of the pilot that Yuichi is replacing - or the strangely perfect condition of that pilot's former aircraft - Yuichi's curiosity becomes heightened.
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Top Customer Reviews
The quality of animation is quite stunning, seamlessly blending traditional styles and computer-generated scenes, with a slight dream-like glow to it all. The characters were given a simplified, almost doll-like design which for once doesn't seem like a throwaway quirk and actually helps to suggest the eerie calm and vagueness of their personalities. Kenji Kawai again provides a breathtaking soundtrack with a gentle theme that keeps evolving for the duration, through several variations on harp and synthesizer, complementing and at times driving the mood of sadness and abandonment that is central to the film.
The aerial combat does happen to hold a few moments of excitement, most notably in the crushing denouement, but overall the aircraft scenes are not there for the action but for the portrayal of emotional distance and to highlight the elaborate, regimented way the Kildren's battles are carried out.Read more ›
The overall premise of The Sky Crawlers is that war has become a kind of sport rather than the other way around (anyone for a game of Rollerball?). The draw of violence and the buzz of anticipated violence is all that keeps society pacified, as they watch other people destroying each other on a screen somewhere. The problem then is finding a supply of volunteers to fight and die in a spectacle for the masses to watch - long live the gladiator. So the fighters are bred for the task - kildren.
Oshii's love of flying machines is obvious here, the flying scenes are breathtaking if somewhat improbable at times (some of the manoeuvres bend the laws of aerodynamics rather a lot and would require planes so over-built that they'd probably not fly (I'm talking of high-G/high-alpha manoeuvres) or at least not fly far! Even so, for dramatic effect the flying sequences are excellent. These are interspersed with often extremely slow sections set around the airfield, comprising most of the dialogue and exposition, and with the occasional surprisingly long silences. Other scenes take place in cities, command bunkers and rain-swept hillsides that are created in considerable detail. This film does not lack detail, and the animation rendering is top-end graphic novel material, and this lavishness of setting, for me, overcomes the lack of pace that the film exhibits. It is a slow-burning plot and you have to find the virtues of the film in its characterisation, its faceless enemy 'Teacher', and the way it slowly but surely makes its point.Read more ›
You probably won't obviously enjoy watching it, and wonder why you don't just switch it off. But you probably won't and probably won't throw it away afterwards either (I did - and then had to retrieve it). It sits in my small library awaiting its second showing.
You must see the very last part of the film that happens after the credits (as outtakes are sometimes shown in other films). If the penny hasn't quite dropped by the time the credits roll this little sequence makes things clear: appallingly clear.
The film has the germ of a masterpiece in it - if not quite realised this time perhaps. The animation couldn't carry the emotional content particularly well. Unlike most manga/anime it would probably translate into a good live action film - and being mostly claustrophobic could work on a fairly limited budget too.
The social commentary on this film is also of note for being penetrating and powerful, more so for how matter of fact it is presented and then washed away with a glass of wine as if to say it is horrible and even pointing it out and making it obvious doesn't change anything because the world is just how it is, how it always has been and how it will always be.
The pilots are eternally young but not in a happy, fun Peter Pan type way, this is more eternally depressed teen. This idea plays a pivotal role in explaining the world in which the Sky Crawlers live and their relations to one another especially with regards to the role of memories.
It is worth watching this film at least twice because of the knowledge of the world that you gain in the first play through which will help to reveal all of the subtly planted clues that are missed during an ignorant first viewing, which makes it all the more unfortunate that so many people will be put off by the pace of the film because if your mind is not in it the words `achingly slow, where is the bin' might come to mind frequently enough that you never get to the end. Still that is their loss I think because while it may not be the type of film that you will watch often it is one that is good to have in your collection and whenever you do get it down to watch you won't be disappointed you did, no matter how few and far between those viewings are.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
great animation but a little overlong for me, the story just seemed to drag after a while and I seemed to lose the plot or it lost itself, not sure.Published 7 months ago by I Like Stuff
have just started watching manga & anime movies, so far so good.Published 11 months ago by Robert Mackey
The film starts out with a young adults as an experienced fighter pilot. We later find out they are "Kildren" and stay young forever. Read morePublished 13 months ago by The Movie Guy
Rather apocalyptic Play station movie with dark conspiracy militaristic undertone- as If Japanese authors would like to see them selves in the mirror from its not reflected side -... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Zdenek Hanzlik
i wish i hadnt bought this - story line isnt very compelling and ... ugh just dullPublished 17 months ago by Amy
I was expecting so much more from this film especially considering who the director is. While I guess the overall story when quickly explained sounds like it could be interesting,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mark B