Film Review: Memories
Memories is a beautifully animated film made up of three shorter films. Overall, the stories are interesting, but somehow left me feeling a bit unsatisfied, except for the first one, which was stellar. I kept wondering why each one didn't become a whole movie, and they didn't seem to all fit together under one unifying theme or central metaphor like, say, The Animatrix. It's weird, the stories aren't in harmony with one another, but it is an enjoyable viewing experience overall.
There are three stories which make up the film, Memories. The first one tells the story of a melancholy opera singer, the relics of whose life is found by some guys in space years after her death. It's a captivating and moving one.
Then, you have this strange tale of a teenage boy who is off in some little town in the mountains of Japan when he accidentally takes experimental medicine that turns him into a deadly Oddish, er, causes him to emit poisonous fumes that kill people but make flowers and plants grow in winter.
Finally, you have the story of a little boy who watches his father working as a team of men who load and prepare for firing a gigantic, red cannon. This explores the town he lives in, which is bleak, machine-like, and perpetually at war, through the eyes of a child.
While this one isn't a great masterpiece, it is beautiful and engaging. I say it's not a great masterpiece mainly because I found myself a lot more drawn in to the first story, with the following two feeling like let-downs in comparison. The second two also didn't seem to be as directly tied to the title, Memories. The first one sets you up to expect that "memories" is going to be a critical theme throughout the rest of the film... and then it appears as if the other two stories just abandoned that concept. The second and third stories don't seem to have interesting discoveries made by the characters or much narrative tension. The second is just... a kid becomes a walking epidemic, and that's pretty much it. The third is just... a smaller kid observes his father working on the firing of a cannon at an enemy he knows nothing about... and that's it. Any one of these little episodes could have been so much more than they were, they each could have been full movies. As it is though, it's still okay. The film isn't great, but it's not bad either.
While Memories could have been more, it's okay for what it is. The artwork is beautiful, and I especially like the first and third stories (the second, not so much). The movie is artsy, but needs to explore beyond its own edges a little more.