Caught the movie last night.
It was EXCELLENT. As a live action adaptation of the much loved manga it fulfilled every fans dream of seeing the characters come to life. The action, the characters and character dynamics and interaction were where the movie shone the most and exceeded all expectations.
The action - It was fast, breathless and breath taking. Packed and excellently choreographed, there so many details I know to be there but just couldn't digest fast enough, I wished I could just watch everything on slow-motion, or rewatch all the trailers and repeated gif sets to comprehend the moves. To be honest, any action not involving Kenshin or Soujiro seemed slower by comparison, but everyone was performing magnificently; Misao was literally kicking ass, and it was mind boggling that to even consider Tanaka Min was 69 years old.
The plot - It could be because it was a very fast story telling, but while I knew what happened in the manga; with movie, I struggled to 'see' from the point of view of the characters on how the change of sequence of events in the movie would drive the story for one point to the other. Excellent though it was, this was where I felt the movie was weakest and need the most trimming. Of course, my reasoning would have been biased by the manga. And to my fangirl heart, it was nothing that repeated watching couldn’t solve.... hahaha.
The characters - I won’t go into the details, but I love every bit of KenKao, SanoMeg, Kaorux Sanox Yahiko sibling squabbles, Misao Jiya Aoshi.. Shishio, Soujiro, Cho… in short all the characters and all character interactions.
A bit of a down note I would have to say for myself was that, I found that a prior knowledge of the manga and anime was a barrier to viewing the movie objectively. I wanted to just watch and enjoy, but as much as I kept myself open, I couldn't 'un-know' and I found myself trying to align what I see with the manga. I wanted the movie to be excellent, which it was; but I couldn't decide it had succeeded on its own merit.
One thing I realized was that while I loved the manga and the Kyoto arc of the anime, I didn't want it to be a remake of either since the movie wouldn't have the luxury of time to give them justice. I wanted to be surprised with view it fresh eyes. Maybe it was odd, but I did find myself wishing the movie story was trimmed to the bare essentials, with less fan- service.. but at the same time I was aware that would have been a near impossible task, for even the side-stories had messages dear the fans.
One good thing that came with my realisations was that if Jinchuu will ever be filmed I don't care if they follow the story line at all. I just want the emotions and lessons captured, and I think they can do it.
Lastly, the Malaysia experience. Since my last outing with the first movie, I was hoping (albeit foolishly, I know) that they’d just have two subs.. but of course that didn’t happen. As expected, there were three. At least the font size were smaller and didn't obstruct the lower third of the screen, unlike the first time. In general I tried to avoid reading subtitles at all since the English was at the bottom; a bit too far from the action happening in the middle of the screen.
I knew better than to read the Malay ones... but unfortunately, sometimes I can’t help but see, because it was at the top.
At first, there was the moment when I thought the subs said ’ these were Shishio’s officers who were killed’ (I’m translating what I think the translation said- it should have been these were the officer's Shishio killed; hoping that I was wrong because it was fast). And there were plenty of odd moments here and there because the English translation was contextual interpretation which not necessarily captures the Japanese. It was further compounded as the Malay subs was based on the English words.
Then, the clincher came,
Kenshin: Katana o tore, Shishio Makoto
English: Draw, Shishio
Malay: Lukis, Shishio
I didn’t need subtitle for what Kenshin said, but there was a sudden moment of disbelief and I was like, “Eh.. was that Indonesian? I don’t think so..where did that come from?” I looked at the English and just cracked up!!
My husband, who was concentrating was so irritated, “What the hell are you reading!”
They’d translated the English 'draw' for drawing with a writing instrument, instead of taking the sword out of sheath.
Needless to say I made a very conscious effort to stay where the action was or dive down quickly to the English subs, for the rest of the movie.
It added a hilarious note to the fun drive home, though