Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Wonderful Days (aka Sky Blue) (Review)

Wonderful Days (aka Sky Blue) (Review)
Kim Moon-saeng/Chung Joon-ho/2003
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"...leads up to a spectacular final..."

In 2140, after a devastating environmental disaster, the elites built and found refuge in an advanced city called Ecoban. Outside of the organic city, the people live in a wasteland and work as slaves for the elites to harvest energy for the DELOS system, which is powered by pollution.

Wonderful Days follows a young man named Shua, a former member of the Ecoban who now works as a rebel of sorts. He finds himself fighting against Ecoban and the elitist within, despite having a past relationship with a current member, Jay. Anyway, Shua finds himself infiltrating Ecoban constantly to keep updated with their moves, and when they threaten his friends and family, he finds himself having to take down the system himself. There's also a bit of a love triangle between Shua, Jay, and another security officer – all of which share a haunting past. Wonderful Days leads up to a spectacular finale – definitely an epic and satisfying ending.

However, I did find Wonderful Days to be a bit too complicated. Now, I understood most of the story. The current events – Shua's situation and Ecoban's goals – are easy enough to follow. But, there seems to be so much backstory to tell, but with so little time. You have the environmental disaster, Shua's past, the love triangle, and so on, but the film is only an hour and a half. So, despite being an interesting and symbolic story, Wonderful Days does occasionally feel half-baked. I did like the flow of the story, and I especially enjoyed the subtle and often blatant commentary on environment, pollution, and classism. The action sequences are also thrilling. The ending was also fantastic. But, it could have been so much more.

The Korean voice cast, which I unfortunately do not have a list of to properly credit, is great. Some characters often come off as boring and bland, but there is some energy and realism to the voice acting. The visual style of the film blends different types of animation, and it looks unique and attractive – I own the South Korean Blu-ray of this film, and it has a few moments that are absolutely beautiful. On that note, the English subtitles on said Blu-ray are also great – a grammatical and spelling flaw here and there, but more than competent. Director Kim Moon-saeng captures a visually unique film and delivers some meaningful messages through it's plot and symbolism, but also delivers an underdeveloped and underused backstory.

Overall, I enjoyed Wonderful Days. It's a great film with a meaningful yet entertaining story, great action sequences, and a beautiful, distinct style. But, the plot can be unnecessarily complicated, and it does feel like it didn't bother with a backstory and some character. The ending is definitely a saving grace, and one of my favorite endings of any animation.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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