Akira (1988)

(Second viewing, on DVD, June 2009): The world has changed a lot in thirty years, especially in the field of geek entertainment, as so it’s no surprise if Akira doesn’t seem so fresh or eye-popping after three decades of CGI, geek-friendly properties and ever-more-convincing disaster movies. Then there’s the Japanese origins of the film and the adaptation of the story from a much longer manga, both of which don’t help untangle the messy and counter-intuitive story. Still, the amount of imagination on display is awe-inspiring, and there’s no denying that the film still measures up favorably to its contemporaries. While I’ve never been a big fan of some of the back-story (and the end Kaneda/Tetsuo screaming match always makes me giggle for “Canada/Tostitos!” values of immature amusement), the film itself still held my attention throughout, even through the sometimes-lagging pacing and the excessive gore. It’s an important piece of Science Fiction cinema for reference value alone, although viewers coming back to it after a while may find out that they remember scenes and visual images rather than particular plot points.

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