One of 2016’s biggest surprise hits, Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name has fast become both a breakout hit in it’s native Japan and a cult classic here in the UK (not to mention it’s huge global success at the worldwide Box Office). Now, western audiences can discover (or rediscover) the film, thanks to a major (albeit limited) IMAX re-release.
A traditional body swap comedy that plays off the standard conventions of the format, Your Name at first glance appears be heading in a predictable direction – boy and girl from opposite ends of the country wake up in each other’s body, they struggle to adjust, hilarity ensues. Except Your Name is not a film that contents itself with playing things safe or predictable, instead steering it’s narrative down a highly unexpected route.
It’s this unexpected route that really gives the film it’s heart and soul – so much so that it’s near impossible to discuss without spoiling what is undoubtedly a modern classic of animation.
The film is a sum of many parts – screwball comedy, heartbreaking love story, symbolism-tinged drama, and even at one point, a haunting ghost story. What holds this mish-mash of ideas together are the well-rounded and engaging characters, particularly the two leads. Both Taki (Ryunosuke Kamiki) and Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) are a delight to watch throughout, their hilarious body swapped antics enthralling, as is their later emotional dilemma when time itself conspires against them.
The animation is gorgeous to behold, complemented by a loud but proud soundtrack that lends the film both a sweet, lyrical feel and a cool edge reminiscent of the best teen dramas. The 2D animation is most certainly the highlight here amidst a plethora of strong elements – visually stunning and compelling, it’s damn impossible to take your eyes off the screen for even a minute.
Beautiful, artful filmmaking that truly deserves to be seen to be believed, this re-release is perfectly timed and should no doubt be taken full advantage of by moviegoers in search of something fresh, original, warm and daring. Whether it’s the standard cinema showing or the gorgeous IMAX version, Your Name is most certainly a film that demands to be seen on the big screen, and will most certainly stand the test of time…