Putting the First Man in Space – as Told From Some Other Distant Planet.
Feb 1, 2010
I've noticed that on amazon it is my animé and comic-book based film reviews that are the least well received by voters. That comes as no surprise, animé and comics are sacred cows that must remained untouched by unclean and unconfirmed hands. People take that stuff pretty seriously, and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't among them. I have my own animé's and 1980s cartoons that I loyally defend from the critcal passerby. So I admit that when it comes to Royal Space Force: Wings of the Honneamise, I am just such a critical passerby. I had never heard of this movie prior to its viewing. I rented it based on the packaging art which was intriguing and engaging to say the least.
At the very start of Royal Space Force I thought this animation had promise. The art and animations were full and lush, and the sobering somewhat meditative introduction promised a well thought out story. However, while the story was well thought out, somehow it managed to not be well panned out. All the story elements felt scattered and to be quite honest I had a very difficult time putting everything together so as to know what was going on and why. I will eschew Wikipedia and provide only what I was able to gather on my own from the story.
We are on an "alternate earth" or, rather, another planet that is very similar to our own. The inhabitants look like humans, though their clothing seems to be a sort of Greek-Futurism (by the way, if that's a new term I've just invented, I want full credit for it :-) ) Anyway, this alternate-earth planet is afflicted with many of the same problems as our own: socio-economic imbalances, amoral value systems, political mis-guidedness and, of course, pending war. Between all this is an ongoing program to put their first man in space. All prior attempts have failed tragically. Strangely, a very average navy enlistee is selected as the next candidate to be launched into space.
If this sounds like an interesting premise, that because it is. Unfortunately, all of these plot devices are disconnected throughout the whole movie, including the threat of war which seems to come out of nowhere – and for no reason. Maybe because wars are like that in real life. You can sense that the writers went with each new plot idea as they had them and while most ideas were good, a few should have been sliced right out of the script. The best example is a botched rape scene that strangely and surrealistically ends amicably.
Both myself and my friend were happy to be released from this film. My friend was relieved that it was over. I was proud that I stuck it through. We had fun splitting hairs on our opinions about it and then decided to go online and see what everyone else thought. Our jaws mutally dropped in surprise when we learned that this movie was considered an untouchable classic. Like I said, I'm a critical passerby with this one. But, at least, I didn't pass this one by. I gave it a fair shot. I would recommend it only for those whose attention spans and patience are much longer then my own.
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Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise is the first feature-length anime movie produced by Gainax. Released in 1987, it is directed by Hiroyuki Yamaga with assistant director Takami Akai. The movie would ultimately be a critically acclaimed Gainax classic, but it was poorly received and sold only modestly domestically and overseas. A sequel was intended to be released set 50 years later, but due to lack of funds, Gainax abandoned it part way through production due to a fundamental dissatisfaction with the script & plot.