Oct 13, 2016
MisterGibbon (All reviews)
I have only one question - it's not even a complaint, mind you: What in the world is the point of making this movie? No, seriously - the movie barely seems to know its own focus, and so decides on being whatever the moment calls for. Sci-fi? Go, sci-fi!! Allegory? Go, allegory!! Gravity? No gravity. Whatsoever. Good thing is, there's nothing much to complain about, either - there never was much of a chance to have any.

Ok, so this story is supposed to work on two levels. On one hand you have a sci-fi tale of people on whom gravity works in the opposite direction, so they are liable to fall into the sky. Pretty scary, if you actually think about it. Problem is, the regular people think that's because they are "sinners", if that makes any sense to you. Ok, let's go along, so they have been brainwashed to think so. The world of these Inverts is underground, where they lead a claustrophobic existence in slum-punk cities where vast stretches (relatively speaking, you understand) are sealed off to the general public, so they don't fall into the dark know what I mean. Just as in the world of regular, decent, God-fearing down-fallers, vast stretches are sealed off to the general public and fenced away, because...well, good citizens don't ask questions.

One day, an adventurous little girl from the underground called Patema ventures out into the unknown, trouble follows her, and the next thing you know, she finds herself hanging on to dear life, quite literally. Lucky for her, a fence-sitting non-invert boy called Age (pronounced Eiji), is startled to see her hanging off his favourite off-limits fence out there in the open world. And the godless fence-sitter that he is, he does what any decent human would do (but no god-fearing Invert-hater could apparently even think of), which is save her from falling into the deep blue abyss above. The rest of the story follows their exploits as they evade the Thought- I mean, Gravity Police, learn about each others' worlds, and of course, end up liking each other a lot (with a very acceptable and inoffensively platonic affection, of course). Who am I kidding? It's not acceptable at all - a godforsaken Invert?!

This is where the second, Allegorical side of the story comes in: Remember that lesson - the only lesson you are ever taught every single day in school? The one that needs to be repeated over and over because it never quite made sense to begin with? About falling upwards being an unforgivable sin? (Hell, you couldn't "forgive" something like that if you TRIED) Yeah, disregard that one. Now you're good to go. Oh, and the Inverts aren't taught any of that, because they don't KNOW they are "Inverts". They are taught a lot more practical things, like Don't Fall Off That Bottomless Pit. So yeah, the Inverts are already good to go as it is - they don't HAVE anything to hate...except falling to death, maybe.

Ok, so let me fast-forward a little here, because this kinda gets to the core of what I'm trying to point out is really lacking in this, things happen, Patema and her new best friend Age get chased by the Grand Inquisitor and his police troops - and desperate, pushed into a corner - they head into the unknown. It's actually a decisive plot twist that I don't want to spoil, because I usually don't do that (or at least don't LIKE to do that) in my reviews. But, thing is, I'm really not sure I should care, because frankly, no one in this story does. I'm not kidding. These guys just discovered A WHOLE NEW WORLD OUT THERE. And what do they do? Explore it? Even bother finding out what the hell is IN there? Nope, the whole thing was put there, plot-wise, just so that our loveable leads could have a touching and poignant moment and resolve their feelings about their respective deceased caretakers. Once they get that out of the way, they head straight back to confront the Grand Inquisitor, leaving an entire WORLD behind them, that was moreover HARD TO EVEN GET TO in the first place!! Now you see where I'm coming from with the incessant sarcasm - nobody seems to care about the world they live in - not the characters, and certainly not the writers - except for when the plot calls for it...and even that's only when it's going for an emotional impact. Well, as an impact, it feels like being touched very gently with a feather...yes, that feels quite pleasant, now doesn't it?

Even at the very end, nothing about their world is actually ever resolved. If anything, the picture is now even more baffling, if you have been paying any attention. And if you have, then - silly rabbit - you missed the whole point of the show! It doesn't matter which side is up - all that love!! Love thy neighbour, don't push him off the edge. There is this adorable scene at the very end where Patema and Age are, as usual, holding on to each other - just to move each other about, of course. And Porta, a lifelong Invert friend of hers, someone who cared for her and looked out for her all her life, looks at that joyous "embrace" and despairs. He needn't have worried - their love for each other is perfectly innocent and platonic, and there's enough to go around for everyone. And even if he wanted something like that - having been so close to her all her life and having actually gone to so much trouble for her sake, all he had to ask.

Ok, now once again I'll switch the sarcasm off for a bit and ask a real question - on its own level, does this movie do justice to that theme? one in this movie really seems to hate the other side to begin with, except for a lunatic of a fanatic who wants all Inverts to perish. Even the Police are just passively playing along. If loving each other were this easy (and every other person in my life looked and acted so cutesy and Moe-like), you'd never once have to so much as TRY to teach me something so...adowwable. I guess you should just tag along for the pleasant and inoffensive ride that it is. If you like that sort of thing - hey, I'm no judge - I mean, I know I for one didn't mind it in the least...

Have you ever heard of (or perhaps actually been in) Walt Disney's historically famous "It's a Small World" boat-ride? A century or so ago, it was a thing of wonder. You have pleasingly colourful moving cut-outs, themed after different people and places in the world, on either banks of the stream, dancing along to the jingly "It's a Small World" lullaby song that keeps repeating itself over and over. The whole thing lasts for about a few minutes, and the stream slowly circles around back to where you started, where it drops you off. You get off the boat, stretch your back and arms, and head home. That's what this movie feels like, in a nutshell.