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Ah! My Goddess!: The Movie

A movie directed by Hirokai Gouda

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3 1/2 Stars: Love can withstand many trials, but can it withstand the mighty force of a God?

  • May 20, 2012
Rating:
+4

Love is fleeting, love is weak, and love is what can make a strong man weep. Love is infinite, love is forever, love is what makes us live on into eternity. For there is no greater feeling than the first time you fall in love or when you get married, when you have children who you love, nurture and help grow into good decent human beings of tomorrow. There is no greater feeling of sitting there with your significant other as an old man and woman and living out your days in happiness with the one that you truly love. Love is one of the most destructible and indestructible forces that we as humans can ever experiences; it is as much an enigma as it is a strange force of occurrence. It is something that cannot be explains in simple terms, yet it is the strongest and most over-powering emotion, it is the one feeling (outside of anger) that we have little to no control over and at times lose our self to it. It is the one thing above all else that can prevail over anything, or at least that is what I use to believe.


Hiroaki G┼Źda's beautiful and sumptuous big screen continuation/adaptation of the popular manga and 1993-1994 OVA "Oh! My Goddess"(changed to Ah! My Goddess in America to avoid any religious backfire) is nothing short of breathtaking. "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is a stunning, absorbing, sweepingly romantic and all consuming tale of love, lost life and ultimately what makes  us who we are and  if it is possible to find true  love in this bleak world. "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" picks up right where the OVA left off with Keiichi(Voiced by Rafael Antonio Oliver) and  the goddess Belldandy (Ruby Marlowe),Urd( Melissa Williamson)and Skuld( Sherry Lynn) all trying to find  common ground with each other(Keiichi in particular). All the while as Kei and Belldandy try and make their romance work admits the constant interference of the always "helpful" Urd and the annoyingly over-protective Skuld. The story of this film picks up in the third spring since Belldandy's arrival on Earth since Kei called the Goddess help line by mistake and wished for Belldandy to remain by his side forever. At first their love was slow going and innocent, it was not at all like the so-called "romance" of "Twilight" with its abuse metaphors; it is longing glances, its sullen attitude, its overly brooding and narcissistic story, and atmosphere. "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is a sweeping, fantastical tale of love and life that is as energetic and humorous as it is visually sumptuous and enchanting. This film has so much life, so much love, and so much energy to it; it radiates with a brilliant glow and stunning visual artistry that only an anime film of this quality could achieve. This film delivers such an enormous and grand understanding of the trials and tribulations of love and life it takes such an honest and straightforward approach to how Belldandy and Kiiichi conduct themselves in their everyday fight in this crazy little thing we like to call life. "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is a glowing and ever enchanting, honest to goodness, fantastical story of true love at its utmost purest levels. This film takes you on an adventure filled joyous love story that is so sweeping, magical and breathtaking that the moment that this film is over you want to experience it all over again from the very beginning. "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is a delightful visual assault on the senses  and the heart; it easily stands as a defining tribute to the  love that two people(or in this case a man and a Goddess) can have between each other and how no matter what the obstacles love can conquer all.

What I found most intriguing, and at the same, time most engaging about this film is how it manages to admits all the drama actually find a story and a pace of its own despite the flaws in its design. The lack of a focused narrative; and a plot that derails the film in certain, crucial parts when it should be soaring high this film in all its faults and mishaps, is a  nice little bundle of joy that is  worth the effort to sit through and revel in its beauty and  grandeur, Instead of drowsing in it. Even though this film is far from perfect, or even great for that matter, "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is one of the few big screen adaptations of a popular anime series that actually works. Beautiful, honest decelerations  of love and commitment that so rarely gets tackled in such a serious yet playful way as in this film and some finely tuned and animated action sequences(if a little on the dull side at times) help make this film the enjoyable experience that it is.




Voice acting in the last 12 years or so has seen a major increase in talented and versatile voice actors. Such as the great Crispin Freeman (Hellsing, Hellsing: Ultimate, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor), Troy Baker (Darker than Black, Vampire Knight, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) and many others great and wonderful performers. The voice acting in "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is, well... Pedestrian at best, the voice work from the English cast ranges from acceptable, to bland, to just plain terrible; Rafael Antonio Oliver gives the films weakest, and perhaps most lifeless performance as the noble and honorable hero of the story, Keiichi Morisato. While I will give Oliver credit where credit is, due he makes use of what little talent and emotion he displays in his performance serves as the catalyst to which ends up bringing down this story serious emotional impact and grand romantic atmosphere. Now Oliver does try his best, and in some scenes he manages to pull off some rather surprising (If not at times dull and flat) moments where his voice does ring true and give the character some moments of emotional depth and honesty. Those moments are few and too far apart to give his performance any real meaning or significance. His bland, dull,  and at  times annoyingly flat voice performance brings down  a great character and makes him seem like an emotionless piece of animation without a soul; rather than the soulful and loving creature that Ki really is  making the film seem cheesy and one dimensional in its perspective and flatting a great film. While Bridget Hoffman does a slightly better job than Oliver does, her voice work for the luminous (If overly naive) Belldandy is quite charming and affable in the way she captures the spirit, the joy, and the pure loving nature of the character. Much like Oliver, she is quite bland and has the emotional range of a soap opera actress. Hoffman attempts (and mind the word attempts) to try to infuse her character with some semblance of life and in the end achieves nothing more than a rather amateurish, if sometimes emotional performance. The rest of the cast including Sherry Lynn(Skuld), Mary Elizabeth McGlynn( Urd), Anne Sherman(Peorth), Chloe Thornton(Belldandy young) and David Lucas (Celestine) all turn in fine supporting performance in this alluring animated feature.


"Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is a wondrous and bewitching experience, an animated film experience that not only touches the hearts of the viewer but also their minds. This is a film to experience for its awe-inspiring animation, wonderfully romantic story, and satisfying action; while this film never truly comes close to the heights of the more recent anime series that succeeded this film, it certainly holds its own as a film that not only should be experienced but also thoroughly enjoyed. "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie" is a fantastical movie experience that leaves you in the end feeling satisfied as well as feeling a little warm and fuzzy all over.

4 Stars: Love can stand many trials, but can it withstand the mighty force of a God?

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May 21, 2012
Very detailed review!
 
May 21, 2012
Great stuff, Lopez! Happy you have returned and what a pick for a return review. It has been some years since I saw this one last. I have to tell yah, that this was way better in the original dialogue with the subtitles. This was indeed well done, but I admit that I am not huge with this kind of romantic drama anime. Welcome back!
May 21, 2012
Thank you very much! I have this on DVD and it has the original Japanese dialogue, I might just watch in its original language just to see the difference. And I guess I liked this film as much as I did and due to the fact that I must be a hopeless romantic at heart, movie like this just get to me.
 
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More Ah! My Goddess!: The Movie reviews
Quick Tip by . May 21, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
Caption
An enchanting, magical, and altogether engaging experience, this big screen adaptation of the popular manga, OVA,  and  2006 anime series "Ah! My Goddess: The Movie"  may not be a  true stand out amongst some of  the more  higher grade anime films such as "The Secret World of Arrietty"(2010) or "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004). Even so this film is a strong example of  how a movie adaptation of a popular series should be done right …
review by . April 01, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Beautiful animation, I'm a big fan of the antagonist     Cons: Resolved way to easily     The Bottom Line: If you enjoy a bit of Ah! My Goddess! then this is for you. ^_^     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. So it’s odd the way things come out. There’s the OVA (basically straight to video animation), then there’s the movie, and finally the newest series. A lot of goddesses running …
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C.R. Lopez ()
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Member Since: Nov 6, 2009
Last Login: Jul 7, 2012 09:53 PM UTC
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About this movie

Wiki

In the popular AH! MY GODDESS! OAV series, Keiichi, a lovelorn college freshman, tries to order takeout food one night and instead finds himself talking to a helper goddess service, through which he summons the goddess Belldandy to Earth, with whom he ends up falling in love. This feature film picks up after the series, just as Belldandy and Keiichi's life begins to settle down. Unfortunately, trouble begins when an eternal seal is stolen and two goddesses, Belldandy's mentor, Celestine, and a new recruit at the auto club appear. As the goddesses discover that the seal is missing, they also find that their ability to communicate with heaven is gone, forcing them to face the evil alone. A beautifully animated and welcome follow up to the delightful original series, AH! MY GODDESS!: THE MOVIE is sure to please even the most die-hard fan.
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Details

Director: Hirokai Gouda
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: Geneon Entertainment (November 27, 2001)
Runtime: 1hr 55min
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