“Over the years since 1988, document.write(“”); the “Mobile Police PATLABOR” franchise in Japan has become a pioneer in multimedia, combining anime comics, videograms, films and novels. Until now the films have been animated. The story has now gone live-action… Labor is a robot specifically designed for heavy industry work. The rise of Labors has sparked a revolution in industry, but also an increase in crime. To combat these new Labor crime wave, the police have created a special unit: The Patrol Labor known as the Special Vehicles Section 2 (SV2). This is the birth of “Patlabor”. We are now in the 21st century and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s SV2 so-called Patlabor still looks out for misbehaving Labors, but Patlabor is no longer considered necessary because of its cost and care. When Tokyo is attacked by an organization of terrorists using stealth helicopters, SV2 is called in to neutralize the threat.”
(Text from the Festival’s program)
WARNING: May contains trace of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing a movie are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further.
This is a beautiful movie. The CGI seems so perfect that the only thing that looks out of place is the Labor themselves — they look so preposterous, like some old giant toys from another era; that was probably done on purpose.
Not surprisingly (considering it’s a movie directed by Mamoru Oshii), this is a Patlabor movie where we see actual labor action only a few minutes in the end. And, of course, the movie have the usual slow moments of politico-philosophical introspection also typical of Oshii’s movies. The director himself seems to make a cameo appearance in the movie, with his typical hat and his beloved basset hound dog.
However, I am not sure that anyone who is not already familiar with the Patlabor story could easily understand what’s happening in this movie, which seems to come closely after the second anime movie, and which is also the final segment of a 7-part series of live-action films! Even myself, who is well acquainted with the Patlabor universe, had trouble following sometimes (was the pilot of the helicopter the previous SV2 commander? Was she acting to seek some sort of social justice? I am not really sure…). Of course, if you take it strickly as an action movie (and disregards the political stuff) there is not much that you really need to understand to enjoy the movie.
In his introduction of the movie, before the screening, Oshii-San didn’t say much. However, he mentioned that he shot his previous film in Montreal (Garm Wars: The Last Druid — for more details on this movie you can check ANN, IMdB, Youtube or Wikipedia).
All in all, this movie offers a great photography, beautiful CGI, a nice near-future sci-fi setting and, as a bonus, it shows us parts of Tokyo that we are not used to see. But it has much more meaning if you are a Patlabor fan, of course.
The Next Generation Patlabor — Tokyo War (The Next Generation ????? ? ???? / Patoreiba: Shuto Kessen / Lit. “Patlabor: Decisive battle over the capital”): Japan, 2015, 93 min.; Dir./Scr.: Mamoru Oshii; Phot.: Hiroshi Machida, Tetsuya Kudo; Art Dir.: Anri Jojo; Ed.: Yoshinori Ohta; Music: Kenji Kawai; Labor Design: Hideki Hashimoto, Katsuya Terada; Cast: Toshio Kakei (Keiji Gotoda), Erina Mano (Akira Izumino), Seiji Fukushi (Yuma Shiobara), Rina Ohta (Kasya), Shigeru Chiba (Shigeo Shiba), Kanna Mori (Rei Haihara), Kotaro Yoshida (Onodera), Reiko Takashima (Kei Takahata), Yoshinori Horimoto (Isamu Otawara), Shigekazu Tajiri (Hiromichi Yamazaki), Kohei Shiotsuka (Shinji Mikiya), Yoshikazu Fujiki (Yoshikatsu Buchiyama).
Film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival on August 30th, 2015 (Cinema Quartier Latin 9, 21h30 – the theatre was filled only at 14% of its capacity) as part of the “World Great” segment. The director was present to introduce the movie but there was no Q&A due to the late hour of the screening.
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