The animation is intricate and beautiful but the narrative is clunky and heavy-handed in places.
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Yoshiura’s film resonates with the fantastic visions that we’ve come to hope for in the best Japanese animation. When the flat character design, two-dimensional villains, and unengaging narrative counter-act that, it falls flat. Like its two lead characters, it is of two worlds.
At once a touching adolescent love story and a visually evocative portrait of society torn apart by literally competing forces, Patema Inverted is an uncommonly ambitious animated effort that beautfully illustrates the need for both physical and emotional connections in a topsy-turvy world.
The music is lovely, and the animation is soft and imaginatively detailed. Patema and Age may not know what’s upside down or right-way up, but their director is never in any doubt.
From the texture of the underground havens to the idea that our leads have to – literally – cling to each other lest gravity tears them apart, it’s a wonder of detail and ingenuity.
The film by Yasuhiro Yoshiura suffers from many of the same flaws as other anime features — a plodding pace, broad humor, a bland heroine and snarly, one-dimensional villains.
Yoshiura keeps the story fairly linear, while playing with perspective and composing many stunning, vertiginous images that consider the different possibilities of being at war with gravity.
It’s impressive but not dazzling.