Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus downs a potion and goes back to 1974 in this time travel adventure....
After her mother gets into a car accident, Akari (Riisa Naka) learns of a potion her mother created in order to travel back in time. Briefly waking from her coma, Akari’s mother asks her daughter to travel back in time to 1972 and deliver a message to a mysterious man from her past. Unfortunately Akari travels back to 1974 and must now work out how to complete her mission two years after her desired destination.
I’d seen and enjoyed the original animated Girl Who Leapt Through Time back when it was released and I sort of expected the same thing but in live action here. It didn’t take long to work out that this live action version was its own story and I have to say it was quite refreshing to see where this new tale was going.
I’d seen on the cover art that this was being touted as a Japanese Back to the Future and this sort of thing usually ends up as a dubious way to sell a movie, but there really are a lot of similarities here. The story of Akari discovering things about her mother’s past had the same warm feelings as Back to the Future. The same sort of fun glints are in the adventure and this all feels like a personal journey ala Marty McFly rather than broody sci-fi ala Star Trek.
Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was a light enjoyable drama and the being a massive fan of time travel tales I probably enjoyed it a bit more. It’s not all that memorable, as beyond a few emotionally powered dramatic scenes there’s nothing in the way of set pieces or originality really. This really comes down to how much you buy into Akari’s story and how sensitive you are to the pretty loose science being played with here (waving a hand over someone’s face to erase their memory was a bit much for even me). Its comic book sensibilities worked and the odd twists and turns really kept the story alive. Oh and the end was really nice in a way only time travel stories do this well.
I was very impressed with the transfer here. The whole movie looks like a summer's day with bright colours and real warmth. The image is a clean grain free affair throughout, black levels are solid and everything looks nice and sharp.
The bold dark blues of Akari's school uniform, the glowing greens of the sun bathed trees and the red of Akari's scarf look fantastic throughout and even when the setting switches to the seventies with a slighter browner look and a winter backdrop, everything looks great.
Despite lacking the sort of detail HD can provide, this standard definition presentation looks pretty darn great none the less and is one of the best looking DVDs I've seen in a while.
Beyond the crazy weird initial time travel sequence (which really sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the movie) the 2.0 audio track doesn’t really have much to do. Dialogue is strong and the melodramatic quite typical synth score is decidedly simple without any sort of layering. There’s not all that much going on beyond that. The atmospherics are barely noticeable and this track is a simple as they come really.
Two trailers (01:09 and 02:05) and seventeen minutes of film clips (providing a mini version of the entire film??) is all that's on offer here, so pretty disappointing really.
Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a solid time travel story without being all that memorable. The drama is heartfelt and the journey of Akari is really effective but the science fiction element isn’t really explored to a satisfying level for me and while that didn’t spoil the movie it did leave me wanting a bit more detail.
The disc itself looks fantastic but has lacking audio and extras that let the release down and all in all this ends up being something that’s probably a better rental consideration than a blind buy.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 2nd May 2011
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Stereo 2.0 Japanese
Extras: Trailers, Clips
Easter Egg: No
Director: Masaaki Taniguchi
Cast: Riisa Naka, Akinobu Nakao, Narumi Yasuda
Genre: Drama and Sci-Fi
Length: 116 minutes
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