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Bubble 2022 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” from 1837 still concerns us today. The tragic story of an unfulfilled love leaves so much room for interpretation that filmmakers* keep finding new ways of interpreting it. It is therefore not surprising that the fairy tale based on the “Undine” saga remains omnipresent in popular culture almost 200 years after its appearance – best known, of course, through Disney’s animated classic ” The Little Mermaid “, which will be released as live action in 2023 -Chicago director Rob Marshall ‘s remake is back in theaters.
Also ” Attack On Titan ” director Tetsurō Arakitakes on the fairy tale classic in his first production for the Netflix streaming service. He turns the material into a sci-fi action anime with some impressively fast-paced parkour scenes. But as modern as this approach may seem at first glance, the result is just as old-fashioned. Instead of getting her own personality, the protagonist in “ Bubble ” is only allowed to look at her dream prince in love – and otherwise author Gen Urobuch i (“Aldnoah.Zero”) keeps stumbling when it comes to the narrative.
Five years ago, mysterious bubbles of water suddenly fell over Tokyo. Shortly afterwards there was an explosion, a large part of the metropolis was flooded. In the submerged parts of the city, the laws of gravity no longer apply as they used to and a powerful energy vortex provides an additional danger – which is why the areas were evacuated and shielded from the outside world by a huge dome. Only a few young people stayed behind and now live there on boats or on the roofs of houses that are still sticking out of the water. The isolated world is also the scene of regular competitions for the remaining food and resources.
At so-called battle coursesyou risk your life as a team, jump over rooftops and floating debris to reach a flag faster than the opponents. The serial winner is the Blue Blaze team – mainly thanks to the taciturn loner Hibiki. He can use the bubbles still flying around with somnambulistic certainty to cover huge distances at breakneck speed. But when Hibiki overestimates himself during a night outing, he falls unconscious into the water. At the last second, a girl emerges from a bubble and saves him with a kiss. Baptized with the name Uta, she now never leaves his side. They have no idea that as a couple they could finally destroy the whole world.
Although Wit Studio has only been around for about ten years, the studio is already one of the most renowned Japanese anime companies. This is mainly due to the enormously successful TV series “Attack On Titan”, which was also directed by Tetsurō Araki. But it caused a lot more excitement when a cooperation with Netflix became known in 2021. This not only includes a training program for up-and-coming animators funded by the streaming service, but also a series of exclusive films and series that Wit Studio will now produce for Netflix.
“Bubble” is the first result of this collaboration – and is probably intended to set an exclamation mark, which is why the film was even shown as a cinema world premiere at the Berlinale before it was streamed. The press statement at the time made it clear what Netflix expected from the offensive with exclusive anime content that was initiated in this way: The genre is a wonderful art that pushes all the limits of expression and can thus show things that are not always possible in a live-action film. And in that regard, “Bubble” delivers.
Even Tokyo, mostly submerged in water, whose high-rise towers are now overgrown with grass, is an impressive sight. The Parkour scenes are also really visual. When Hibiki and Co. not only jump from house roof to house roof at breakneck speed, but also use floating scaffolding, cars and other junk for their jumps through the air, rounded off with somersaults, it looks absolutely breathtaking. But then why isn’t Bubble the standout anime hinted at here?
There are many films in which visual strengths more than compensate for weaknesses in content – but in this case it doesn’t work. For this, the two do rousing battle courses-Contest then only too small a part of the film. In addition, Tetsurō Araki and his team rarely manage to bring us closer to this world, which is so fascinating at first glance. The fact that there is not the same space for explanations as in a series presents those responsible with a challenge that they cannot master.
This is not only evident in some rather clumsily built-in explanatory passages, but above all in the secondary characters. They are actually treated completely neglected (you don’t have time) and remain pure decals that are only moved when they are needed for something. An info plays a role for a later twist? Then two characters talk for a moment who have obviously been living side by side for a long time, as if they were just meeting each other for the first time. Elsewhere, Makato, who was previously introduced to the group as a clever, rational scientist, quickly becomes a deeply in love girl who only cheers after Hibiki with huge hearts in her eyes.
But not only the secondary characters remain empty shells. As a revenant of Arielle, Uta does not develop a profile either. Your job is to strike a pretty pose in a miniskirt throughout the film, stretch your legs and adore your “prince” almost without a word. Beyond all the already existing problems of this representation, the necessary fall height for the tragedy of the finale is also missed. No matter how much “Bubble” refers to the original fairy tale, Uta may even put Andersen’s book in her hands. It is significant that the only passage of text that she remembers and later repeats over and over again is a line in which the mermaid simply admires her prince.
Netflix is hoping for a large portfolio of extraordinary animated films and series from the cooperation with the well-known anime company Wit Studio. Although “Bubble” shows what kind of (visual) potential this cooperation has, it is a big disappointment because the sci-fi Ariel, who is actually the focus, remains just a love-struck, amazed girl in a miniskirt.