Are fireworks round or flat? The repeating question that the strange little movie Fireworks ventured to answer. Marketed as the movie with the same producer as Your Name, the recent film that was featured in theaters over 4th of July week fell flat. I took the chance to watch it both subtitled and dubbed in English over the weekend and here are my thoughts on the release:
Over here at BentoByte, we are huge fans of SHAFT and Genki Kawamura, especially Your Name. The excitement for Fireworks was building several times over with every trailer and I was genuinely anxious to see what was in store. Of course, I couldn’t wait, so I bought the first ticket I could and went off to the theaters as quickly as possible. I sat down with my popcorn and large drink, hyped from seeing all the fellow nerds who were talking about the movie and seeing “fireworks” right before the 4th – obviously normies didn’t get it. The lights dimmed and immediately we were off with the movie.
After about 30 minutes… I couldn’t express how my expectations suddenly dropped. A movie with so much potential and a great studio had let me down and I was left with regret at purchasing a twelve dollar ticket. Before I explain, I want to make sure I highlight positive notes about the movie and what I still really enjoyed.
Mesmerizing visuals. With my obsession of Your Name, Shaft certainly delivered to what I was expecting in this department. In short, the film is still beautiful barring some of the strange scenes that really had no place in the movie. The colors and quality of animation captured the right emotion at most times and put me in a trance.
The soundtrack. Along with watching Your Name dozens of times, I’ve listened to the soundtrack many more times over. My expectations were also set high for this point, so I paid especially close attention. Most people wouldn’t think the music merits your attention, but it makes a huge difference in setting tone and creating a specific mood. If you’ve seen The Last Jedi and recall the hyperspace scene which is devoid of any sound then you know exactly what I mean. The soundtrack was on point with a proper amount of whimsy, mystery, and buildup.
The voice acting. I’m also giving a special mention to the voice actors because I don’t think they get the credit they deserve. Especially when they are trying their best to flush out some cohesiveness to the dialogue, where plot and speculation are sorely lacking. They were able to engage the audience how they could and let the one-liners and other strange jokes relate to the audience that I heard a decent amount of chuckles.
Unfortunately, that is about all I could say is worth mentioning as good about this movie. The meat and potatoes revolve around everything that was wrong.
A hollow story. Honestly, nothing can make up for the fact that this anime tries to purposefully be so eccentric, it is tiresome. The story lacks in any sort of inspiration and after thinking constantly about it, everything that happens has no meaning to it. It is a summer love story that is missing the reason why you should care in the first place. There’s no character development, there’s no history between the love interest, there’s nothing special about it, period. The film fails at portraying what the characters are really feeling and seriously just makes me think it’s an elementary school crush that sort of goes, “Hey be my girlfriend”, “Okay”, “Okay!”. Even when it tries to touch on more serious topics, like a girl running away from home to elope because her mother is remarrying, it doesn’t go any further. Her grief at losing her father about a year ago, who is seen with this strange glass trinket which has the ability to turn back time. A love triangle, that is on a fourth dimension because of the confusion with changing time. A boy so inept that he doesn’t understand the consequences to changing time, not because he is young, but because dialogue flows so poorly viewers get lost. Not even the ending, which although beautiful, tied any of the film together. I was left seriously contemplating why I even wanted to watch the movie.
Why am I on a unicorn? Wait, what? Where did that come from?… Exactly. There are way too many moments in this movie that you can remove, and it’d still be the same movie. There is a scene where the girl breaks out into a song and we are transported into some strange Disney-like world with unicorns and a princess who is distractingly taller than her prince. Or on the train with the animation of the characters pacing back and forth as the young boy tries to explain how he ended up here. That is something I probably could have done in my slee. Literally, one guy has to poop every time he sees a pretty girl and interrupts the flow of whatever is going on… it’s seriously idiotic. This all was so embarrassing, that I had to explain to my anime estranged friend the movie is BAD. This may have been cool if I was on some illicit substances… I love anime and I’ve seen some weird stuff, but this was just too much.
Overall, Fireworks did not earn any praise from me nor was it worth the time I spent in theaters. Any special meaning behind the theme is too obscured that I don’t care to think about it. It is a disappointing anime film that is distracting, jumbled and could have been so much better.Tweet