Makoto Shinkai's (5 Centimeters Per Second) direction brings us beautiful visuals to guide us along the story's journey. Every line drawn is thoughtful and concise. The precision of animation in this film is reminiscent of Miyazaki's (Spirited Away) works. In fact, Shinkai might be the next Miyazaki. As someone who knows almost nothing about animation, it is still clear to me that the team behind this film spent long hours in its creation. While there are plenty of Pixar and Disney films with good animation, nothing that I have seen from American studios can compare to this form.
I would go completely amiss without discussing the soundtrack for this film as well. RADWIMPS's indie rock soundtrack brings the viewer back to their childhood with a punk edge added in. Often times, the beauty of the film is complimented by the soundtrack's sweetness. Some of the lyrics do not translate well into the subtitles, but I'll be damned if the sounds are not a perfect match to the visuals. I have been waiting a long time to view this film after it's release because I missed it in theaters. While I waited, I had to check out the soundtrack that all of my friends have been raving about. At the very least, listen to the soundtrack as it pulls you into a foreign world, full of jaw-dropping inspiration and beauty. For starters check out the song, "Sparkle".
The Bottom Line: Shinkai's animated masterpiece will be cherished for a long time because of it's beauty and complexity.
Score: 10/10 (This is my first 10/10 since Swiss Army Man)