“Summer Wars” starts out like the worst kind of romantic comedy; a cute girl pays a nerdy guy to accompany her on a trip back home, and then shocks him by telling her family he’s her fiance. You totally expect Jennifer Aniston to pop up somewhere. But once it gets past this stupid excuse for a plotline, it becomes a really engaging movie. Turns out her family is actually interesting; they’re the proud but penniless descendants of a Samurai line, and there’s plenty of inter-family dynamics, old crushes on cousins, and shallowly buried hatchets to make things interesting. Twenty minutes in, and “Summer Wars” feels much more like a French family drama than the stupid American romcom it started out to be.
My friend @Madpenguin highly recommended the anime series “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” to me some years ago and that anime proved to be something that defined the magic of Japanese animation; it reminded me that a feature does not need a highly specialized CGI animation engine to make a successful animated film, that nothing can compare with an excellent story and a methodical direction to make one love an animated film. Having been impressed once, I immediately grabbed director … more