Mamoru Hosoda offers an awesome animated adventure

Mamoru Hosoda, which in more than one moment was declared “the new Miyazaki”, returns with what may be his best film since Wolf Children. The filmmaker returns to Cannes with Beautiful, a film that updates the story as old as time to the extremely online generation by giving it a new coating with an emotional story of bullying, abuse and our way of connecting with others and ourselves in line. This song as old as rhyme has become a whole new experience with a parade of catchy J-pop bangers that are sure to become a complement to your daily rotation.

Hosoda, who has made a career with the reuse of themes or sets from his debut film (still very little valued) Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!, takes us back to a massively known digital world, this time called U. Essentially a familiar virtual reality for those who have seen anything since Ready Player One a Sword art online, U hosts five billion users, a place where anyone can reinvent themselves and be the best version of themselves embodying certain avatars without the user’s input from biometric analysis of their secret strengths. This is where we meet Suzu (in Japanese for “bell”) who discovers that there is actually more to this provincial life and becomes the sensation of online popstar Belle, a pink-haired avatar resembling a Disney princess, his appearance is accidentally borrowed from Suzu’s prettiest classmate. . It doesn’t take long to go from Belle to a newcomer with polarizing reactions (as Suzu’s best secret hacker friend tells you, you’re only famous when half of your fan base hates you) to go out singing while you’re on top of a huge flying humpback whale. whale covered with hundreds of speakers as if they were barnacles. Of course, things get complicated when Belle comes across an online fighting game avatar known as Dragon, a huge hybrid warthog / goat monster known as Beast, and who instantly and inexplicably becomes fascinated by him.

Image using GKIDS

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While the 3D animation used to bring U to life may seem a bit lifeless (perhaps an intentional gesture to the fiction that U sells to its users), Beautiful it has an awesome background and particle animation. The virtual world of film seems like one of the biggest metropolises in history, animation or otherwise, and Studio Chizu’s team provides you with a huge amount of detail. From the buildings, to the wreckage exploding on the screen as Beast fights the Superhero-inspired Justices who chase him, to the hundreds and hundreds of background avatars with a wide variety of designs that make this world feel lived. We see avatars that look like beautiful, small spiritual creatures straight from a Studio Ghibli movie, to various Digimon-inspired creatures and much, much more.

Adding the feeling that U is a global community created by people from all over the world, Beautiful it feels like a truly international production, a rare thing for a Japanese animated film. The Belle title was designed by veteran Disney character designer Jin Kim, while the Irish studio Cartoon Saloon (Wolfwalkers) brings its unique visual style to beautiful 2D sequences within the U made to look like dreamlike expressionist paintings. The film constantly flooded the screen with hundreds of user comments and messages, and is displayed in multiple languages ​​to reflect the billions of international users in the Gothic castle of U.Beast evokes the magnificent designs of Gankutsuou: the count of Monte Cristo. Then there is a sequence that uses a Clash of clans they meet Risk video game aesthetics to represent Suzu’s social circle reacting to a new rumor. It would have been very easy for Hosoda to just give up Beautiful it’s a Disney aesthetic and they call it a day, but instead it offers us its most visually stunning and varied film to date, as well as the most engaging animated film of the year.

Image using GKIDS

He Beauty and the Beast the reimagining is too sudden, with the recreation of obligatory rhythms like the ballroom sequence that never reaches the emotional heights of the Disney classic. Similarly, the idea of ​​the Internet allowing people to create a new person feels like reclaiming the old ground already paved for perfection. Lain series experiments decades ago. What makes the film special is not the particularities of either story, but the way they come together to support the story of coming of age on the reception of the real you and the ways online communities can help heal old scars. Hosoda follows the emotional stories of Kyoto Animation A silent voice even Carole and TuesdayThe message about the healing power of music to create a beautiful and visually stunning film that breathes this story as old as time.

Degree: A-

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