Yesterday, ANN reported that Satoshi Kon’s final film resumed production. Personally, I can’t help but see this as a bit of a bittersweet moment.
Kon was a truly brilliant director, who was able to create a film that was both disturbing and wondrous at the same time. His original works, from Millennium Actress, to Tokyo Godfathers were all true labors of love, and had a warmth to them. It was as if the worlds in the films took on lives of their own, and leapt from the screen in a true spectacle. To hear that his final film would finally be finished leaves me conflicted.
On one hand, the mere thought of seeing one last film, one last vision from the master, excites me. After all, we are being given a last opportunity to explore the depths of Kon’s imagination. The world he created for this film, and the characters that reside in it, will be given life on the silver screen for one final romp. It would be a fitting farewell… right?
Unfortunately, the cynic in me is a bit concerned. I remember something like this happening a few years ago, when a similarly esteemed director passed away, and his final vision was completed by another director. Those who haven’t guessed by now, should clue in at the title, A.I. Artificial Intelligence. A.I. was a film that was originally started by Full Metal Jacket and Clockwork Orange mastermind Stanley Kubrick, though it was finished by Stephen Spielberg. While the film was received fairly well by critics, it was railed on heavily by the audience at large. Many called it a disappointment, and a “terrible end” to the esteemed filmmaker’s career. Spielberg in particular was singled out for the film’s lighter tone and more fantastic “feel good” sequences that are a stark contrast to the cold, hard sci-fi feel of the rest of the film. Spielberg continues to claim that he was not responsible for the sequences, though few seem to believe it.
What’s my point in this? Simply put, while this is Kon’s film and baby, it’s being handled by another director (Yoshimi Itazu, for those curious). If there is the slightest thing wrong than the film, be it an awkward bit of dialogue, or an “out of place” reference, fans will place blame solely on Itazu. The film will be under a microscope from day one, until the end of time, and anything that the fans dislike will be seen as “soiling Kon’s vision”, regardless of the fact that it may not be Itazu-san’s fault. After all, it’s easier to blame the living, since they’re here, they’re listening, and they respond. Also, there’s the simple fact that no matter how close to Kon’s original vision this film will be, the final product will never be the same.
Cynicism aside, I’ll personally be looking forward to this final hurrah for a master director. Satoshi Kon was one of my favorite filmmakers in life, and still holds my highest esteem in death. And, to see his final tale come to life will be something that I will eagerly await. I just hope that the many fans out there will be able to look past the minor things, and at least see the film as a fitting tribute to a master, and the greatest honor a director can bestow upon their peer.
Anime Herald Needs Your Help
Since December 2017, we've made it our mission to pay a fair wage for content. Thanks to our patrons, we've been able to fund our editorials and pay for our hosting at fair market rates.
Unfortunately, we are still seeing a shortfall. Many months, we're still paying out of pocket for content, and we regularly run in the red.
We need your help to keep growing, and bringing you the very best commentary that you've come to expect from us over the past decade. For as little as $1 a month, you can help us bring you more amazing articles. As a bonus, you'll get access to our Early Access library, which lets you read articles at least two weeks before the general public!