Considering it's anime, Summer Wars starts out more like a bad romantic comedy.
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Running almost two hours, its increasingly convoluted narrative may be too difficult to follow for younger viewers. But its thematic ambition and dazzling visual style ultimately make it one of the more rewarding anime efforts to reach these shores.
Hosoda, who directed the cult film "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," has made a sophisticated yet poignant family entertainment with an appeal beyond Japanese animation buffs.
Summer Wars is a magnificently manufactured piece of film entertainment that goes beyond the obvious and manages to comment, often obliquely, on everything from Facebook to virtual war and/or terrorism without ever seeming heavy-handed or strident.
Summer Wars surprisingly celebrates togetherness and bravery as much as binary-mathematics expertise, all helped along by a kick-ass synthesis of traditional hand-drawn scenes and fluid, rainbow-explosive CG artistry.
It's hard to appreciate things like the character detail amid the insufferably squealy voicing and arbitrary suspense.
It's the kind of fun and quirky film that you don't see very often in art houses this time of year.
There's a lovely, unhurried quality to Mr. Hosoda's storytelling, which nicely matches the clean, classically composed images of his outer story.
An enjoyably trippy Japanese animated feature.
In Summer Wars, it's what's old that's made to seem refreshingly new.