Sky Blue, or Wonderful Days, was a totally, and please forgive the pun, out of the blue choice for me and I chose it for no other reason than it popped up in my recommendations list for my DVD rental service. Something that shows how good the recommendation service is on the LOVEFiLM DVD rental service which I can’t recommend enough.
It’s a Korean animated movie that boasts stunning visuals and a huge plot, so tasting it cold was a bit of a gamble that seems to have paid off.
The story is strong and filled with interesting characters, yet despite the breadth and depth of the story the characters are kept light and you don’t really feel as though you do anything more than scratch the surface of them, which is a real shame as they they seem as though they could be given so much more life and reality with some more backstory.
There were a couple of moments that didn’t do the film much justice, one was that some of the character voices had the usual anime style of being just a tad over acted, and the others, which are all too typical in anime and manga, cute animals and unusually annoying children. It feels as if the film is pulling between two genres when these sort of styles are brought in. On one hand they are trying to create an adult themed cartoon, and on the other you have voices and characters straight out of Pokemon.
This bothers me, because if they had managed to focus on a pure adult animation then this movie would have increased in estimation, but although these failings are not bad enough to really harm the film they do affect it. Still, with all this there’s something that just takes your mind away from it all the time, the visuals, they are stunning.
The backgrounds to just about all of the scenes look fantastic, and some of the sequences were stunningly created and looking really beautiful to the eye. Careful consideration has been taken about where to place the viewer, and how to recreate the actual movement of a camera through the scenes. Nowhere is this more apparent than the opening scenes with the bike racing through the outside world, it’s a wonderful piece of animation.
Presented: Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Very sharp and clear picture, the colours tended to be duller due to the nature of the story, but when colours arrived they were strong. During the fog scene there was very little evidence of the grading effect you see in lower quality encoded DVDs and digital signals, it was very smooth and you had to really look to see this effect. Overall an excellent picture reproduction.
Presented: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS
The DTS audio was utterly brilliant being delicate, crisp and clear. During any action sequences the audio was loud and bold and very spacious, travelling around the speakers with the action. The full effects of DTS were used with audio coming from all around you, which was helped by the thoughtful positioning of the camera in regards the action and therefore where the sound and movement would be coming from. There was a good use of silence too which heightened the actual sound effects when they arrived. The soundtrack was wonderfully chosen and matched the movie superbly, with the final scenes elevated by the chosen operatic piece which was quite stirring.
Although there are a few more annoying aspects of anime creeping in here with some not so strong voice acting and childish animation, overall the movie is good. What really makes it is the fabulous animation combined with the excellently visualised camera movement. It truly is a feast for the eyes, and when the DTS audio is layered above it you’re sucked into the world so easily. Yet for all those good points the story is left quite light and brushed over, especially with the lead characters who are hinted at being deeper than they really are. There was so much to explore here and yet it’s been ignored. Definitely worth a viewing if you are a fan of such movies, otherwise you might find this visual feast a tad less satisfying.