Tuesday, June 11, 2019

You Can't Pick You Family, but You Can Pick Your Anime

Film: Mirai
Format: DVD from NetFlix on The New Portable.

There have been 74 movies nominated for Best Animated Feature at this point in Oscar history, 73 of which I had seen before yesterday. Of those 73, I like 65 of them, or almost 90%. Mirai is going to bring that average down—so of the full 74 films nominated, I still like only 65. I didn’t know if I would find a nominated animated picture that I disliked on the same level as I did Brother Bear, Shark Tale, or Happy Feet, but here we are.

Mirai is the story of an entitled little kid named Kun (voiced by Jaden Waldman) who is blessed/cursed with a baby sister named Mirai. Kun is obsessed with trains and doesn’t like his sister, which means that Kun is going to attempt to hit his sister with his toy trains multiple times. When Kun is not attempting to hit Mirai with a train, he is yelling, screaming, crying, whining, or sometimes whimpering. There’s a lot of whimpering in this movie. A lot of it.

Anyway, while Kun attempts to figure out how to deal with having a sister, we’re going to get some drama between his parents (Rebecca Hall and John Cho). She is going to go back to work right away and he is going to stay home and go freelance. I’ve been that guy. I know how it goes. You work when the kid is sleeping when you just have the one. When you have two, you put one of them in daycare a couple of days a week so that you can actually get some work done. Anyway, dad is completely inattentive and can’t do any parenting stuff because fuck you, he’s a man and this is what passes for funny, evidently.

Anyway, Kun has a series of magical adventures that involve time travel and shape changing, after a fashion. His dog becomes an anthropomorphic and complains about the food he gets now. Kun also meets a version of his sister from the future. He travels back in time and meets his mother as a child, then travels further back in time and meets his great-grandfather. He also meets himself in the future. A good percentage of the last half hour or so of this film literally deals with the fact that Kun doesn’t like the pants his parents have picked out for him. Seriously.

Jesus, but I hated this movie so damn much. I’m not kidding when I say that there is a lot of whimpering in it. At one point early on, there is a set of dolls set up for a celebration for Mirai for some reason, but they have to be put away at the right time or the superstition is that Mirai will have her eventual wedding delayed. Kun has to figure out how to do this with the help of his future sister and anthropomorphic dog. The seven or eight minutes that this sequence takes consists of almost constant whimpering and whining, some grunting, and virtually no dialogue. It was three or four people just looking at things going “Mmmmmmmph! Mmmmmmmmmph! Ohhhhhh!”

Kun is a miserable little kid. He’s nothing but screaming and tantrums, and his parents aren’t much better. His father is inattentive and incompetent and his mother is frequently dismissive and mean. Kun is mean back to her. Everyone in this family is miserable and awful, and I hated spending time around them.

Seriously, if I had seen this movie 20 years ago, I would probably have only one child. If I had seen it 25 years ago, I might be childless. It paints the picture of having children as being a series of fights and difficulties almost never broken up with anything good or fun or pleasant. When Kun learns to ride a bike, it happens with virtually no help from his father, who more or less just watches.

The ultimate message of the film is one about the magic of family and how families come to be, but the family presented here is so awful. As it is, I moved away from the bulk of my family on purpose. I live the right distance from all of them (too far to show up without calling, too close to stay overnight). If this was my family, I’d move to another fucking continent.

Why to watch Mirai: The animation is good.
Why not to watch: Holy shit, but these characters are terrible.

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