I heard that this anime was underrated, and then decided to check it out. After watching the film, I was doing two things. One, I was scratching my head, and two, I was trying to pry my jaw from the floor.
Wow, what a surreal, vivid, creepy, terrifying, amazing, astounding, memorable work of art.
The story here is quite simple, and is presented very slowly. The main character does not hesitate to observe and admire her surroundings. The pacing has been complained about before, and I halfway agree with these complaints. On one hand, the extra-slow paced lingering shots may bore you, and on the other hand, they will create a lasting impression on you once you finish the film. It's kind of a catch-22, which is rather unfortunate. The slow pacing is both good and bad.
The artwork and animation are almost indescribable. I was completely astonished at how lifelike and detailed the characters were animated. For its time, the animation must have been groundbreaking, and it looks great even today. I feel that it transcends the "anime" style. The style and the background artwork I also enjoyed. I haven't seen many animes with a feel quite like this one. It's an extremely moody, creepy and somewhat realistic style. The backgrounds are very imaginative, memorable and often ambiguously symbolic. It's creepy and absolutely mesmerizing.
The music was orchestrated and consisted mainly of vocals and choirs. Nothing really to complain about here. The music fit the scenes, enhanced the scenes and didn't detract from or overpower them. It was sometimes downright dreary, yet it was oftentimes whimsical and fantastic. I loved it.
There were only two characters, and they were portrayed in a very simple way. Their actions developed them the most, and although they lacked much dialog, it wasn't really needed. Their actions and looks spoke volumes. I wished that they could have been developed a little more, so that we could come to know them. That, unfortunately didn't happen, but seemed to meld perfectly with one of the themes of the movie. I felt that the director, Mamoru Oshii, preferred developing the world over the characters, because there is more time dedicated to showing the nice scenery.
Are you going to enjoy this movie? Well, that, my friend, depends on whether you are able to sit tight and enjoy a very slow movie. Are you watching anime for the art and message, or for the entertainment? Angel's Egg requires the viewer to be on the same mental wave-length, so to speak. And if you are, you will enjoy this film immensely. It reminded me in some was of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and if you enjoyed that movie, you will most likely be intrigued and engaged.
Angel's Egg is a memorable, slow-paced, mesmerizing and beautiful film, and although somewhat ambiguous and confusing in its message, it will still stick with you and affect you. Whatever the message is. I felt that this film was expressed very sincerely, from the bottom of Mr. Oshii's heart. He himself said he didn't know what it meant. I got some allegorical and Biblical what-if's out of it, as well as symbols of hope, future and loss of innocence. You may find something else. It is incredibly deep, and it's not laid out for you.