Hanabi (Fireworks) – Movie Review

Official Synopsis:

This film tells the story of a schoolgirl who finds a pretty transparent ball by the sea, on the day of a fireworks display of a religious festival in a seaside town in Japan. She plans to run away from home to escape from her unhappy home, as her mother is about to remarry for the third time. However, her escape fails until her male classmate finds out the supernatural power that the transparent ball has.

Review Summary:

Fireworks (oringal Japanese title Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miru ka? Yoko kara miru ka?) is a new Japanese animated film that originally debuted in Japan last August, and has made the rounds at animation festivals around the world ever since. It’s animated by the studio, SHAFT, which has done some impressive work in the past.

The producer of the multiple-award-winning animation, Your Name, worked on this film as well. Unfortunately, none of the visual wonder or impressive characterizations are present in Fireworks, which is being distributed in the States by GKIDS.

While the animation is at times quite gorgeous, sometimes it can appear surprisingly rushed. To make matters worse, character choices, logic, story flow and the like all go out the window in favor of a non-sensical romance that also includes time travel. These elements are underutilized at best.

Fireworks will not breakthough to the mainstream like some Japanese animations have. However, it might end up being one of those films that people feel the need to watch at parties just to be entertained.

(See the above video review for a more in-depth discussion)

Grade: D+

Directed by: Akiyuki Shimbô

Starring: Suzu Hirose, Masaki Suda, Mamoru Miyano

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 90 min

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