Don't you absolutely HATE it when you find a movie online with an absolutely irresistible plot that's almost too amazing to be bad, and then see it only to realize the person who made it had no artistic talent whatsoever? I don't know about you, but it happens to me a lot, and all I can think when finished is how much better I could have made it.
A Wind Named Amnesia is one of those kinds of movies. Set in 1999, six years after the movies original release, humanity has been completely devastated by a mysterious wind which blows across the world, wiping clean the memories of every person on the planet. In an instant every bit of knowledge we as a species have gained over the course of millions of years is gone, even our language and family ties are severed in the chaos that follows. Planes fall from the sky as pilots forget how to operate their aircraft, cars crash, the world burns. In an instant the thriving civilization we've created is reduced to rubble and its creators to bloody savages who poses nothing but their most basic and unexplainable instincts.
Wataru is just another helpless victim to this terrifying disaster; alone and starving he stumbles upon an old military facility where he meets the one person left alive that retains some memories. His name is Johnny, a genetically enhanced boy whose brain acts as a super computer which allows him to function like a normal human. Johnny teaches Wataru as much as he can and sends him on a journey across a deserted world to observe the human being in its most basic state and find what it is that drives us. Is it pleasure? Life? Power? With the protection of civilization stripped from us what is it that will motivate us to act?
A Wind Named Amnesia is has a lot in common with Kino's Journey - The Complete Collection. The main character, Wataru, travels across America in a jeep with a strange women he meets in Los Angles. There are about three different mini stories within the film giving it the feel of a much longer show. It was have been a lot more interesting had it been an actual show, or at least an OVA. There is simply too much potential for this story to be packed into a two hour movie and it often felt rushed and jumped around far too much. One second their sitting at the Lincoln Memorial discussing life the next their in New Your City running from a killer robot. It was just too fast and way too ill conceived to make a satisfying film. The entire journey through the Midwest and from Washington to NYC is skipped completely leaving the viewer wondering just what happened. Weren't they just in Las Vegas? What are they doing in DC? Very, very annoying.
When I first saw this plot line my first thought was "I have GOT to see this movie" and can you blame me? I mean really, is this not one of the best ideas for a sci fi film ever? If this film had been made by someone with even an ounce of creativity then it would have been great, but NOOOO! Whoever did this film is, quite frankly, a moron and I mean that in the most literal sense of the word.
The beginning of the film was pretty good when the Amnesia Wind blew in and the world collapsed in chaos and confusion. I'll admit it was more then a little bit bone chilling, but that's about the only good thing I can say about the film. So for pros we have amazing idea, and a good beginning. So now lets get to the cons.
First off, the main characters. I've seen my share of bad anime characters, and while this lifeless bunch may not be the worst I've ever seen, their far worst then average. If the film had been plot driven I may have been able to forgive this flaw to an extent, but as good as the plot is they decided instead to make the film character driven. Wataru himself is your stereotypical male lead from any old anime film. I you've been watching anime for a while you'll know his type; young, handsome, impulsive, moralistic, and extremely stupid. In his defense he's still smarter then the mindless cannibals running around, but by our standards he's dumb as a brick. Oh I'm not talking about his lack of knowledge, I can certainly understand why he doesn't know a lot of things, I'm talking about his lack of common sense. Really, who gives a gun to a cannibalistic savage? You guessed it, Wataru does. Yeah stupid, nets just wait until he decides to turn it on his little tribe.
Sophie, his companion, isn't much better, and neither are any of the supporting casts, such as they were made up of mostly crazies. More stereotypes.
The biggest disappointment though was that the plot was barely fleshed out. The film got bogged down in these silly mini stories that it lost focus on the overall theme of the film. What is humanity? What drives us to do what we do? How would a world such as this look like? Wataru starts out on a journey to discover answers philosophers have been arguing about for centuries but gives up quickly saying "it's too complicated for me." You have got to be kidding me. A film with so much promise to dig deep into the human mind and really examine what it is to be human and they decide to make it about car chases and scantly clad women. Give. Me. A. Brake. Like I said, no imagination.
SPOILERS. And don't even get me started on the end. It wasn't that big of a shocker to figure out aliens were responsible for the amnesia and that Sophie was one of them, but when she tells him (Wataru) that her people destroyed the world and might not give them back their memories he just sat there. Didn't get mad, didn't want to kill her or rip her head off, just asked why and when she told him they don't even know he just sat there. *sigh* how unrealistic. And then the, uhh, love scene at the end was completely unnecessary, not to mention random and unexpected. I'm telling you it came out of absolutely nowhere as if the creators just wanted to "spice it up" a little bit. It was stupid, didn't add anything at all to the film, and was out of place. Bad idea.
I'm a sucker for apocalyptic films such as this; unfortunately though most turn out to be pretty awful, this one included. Two stars for an interesting idea and a good beginning and nothing else. Beginning good, middle bad, ending HORRIBLE!