Jul 20, 2008
Barefoot Gen 2 is a film you probably should not see without having seen the first one. That being said, Barefoot Gen 2 is not nearly as good as the first one besides. The art, here as in the first one, is still one of the key strengths of the movie. While the character designs are a little different - the story takes place three years later, after all - the art is near the level of the first movie, though still not quite as stellar overall. The advantage this movie has over the original partially lies in its story. In the first Barefoot Gen,
you knew the bomb was coming - the movie even told you that it was, as if you were somehow unaware. However, Barefoot Gen 2 takes place three years after all that and uses that to its advantage to tell a fresh story of survivors, full of new characters who weren't in the first title. In this way too, the movie is more upbeat than the first. While there is still the desolation and people struggling to survive, the plucky kids are happy and hopeful, living for each new sunrise. This helps make the movie much less sad than its elder. That is not to say that it isn't sad, however. The movie is still dealing with the harsh reality of trying to survive in post-bomb Hiroshima and to that extent very sad - though somewhat predictable - events do occur. It seems here that the movie is more in love with its hopeful tone though, and is not interested in bumming you out. Rather, the movie is serving its important purpose - to encourage and promote a 'never give up' attitude. While the first movie did clearly expouse this, the second is much more hopeful and less dour as well. In this way, Barefoot Gen 2 is a rather different movie from the first. That being said, Barefoot Gen 2 isn't nearly as enjoyable. The story, while fresh, is still predictable in spots and simply is not as interesting or engaging as the original. Without the horribly depressing events of the first movie, the second seems significantly more upbeat and hopeful. Its not a bad thing by any means, but the movie suffers by contrast to the original. The sequel simply seems to lack the emotional power the original was able to conjur in its moments of sadness. Barefoot Gen 2 is a sensible sequel - but is not as good as the original by any token.
Reviewer’s Rating: 7
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