Posted in Art & Animation, Fantasia 2014, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Hal review Fantasia 2014

Hal / ハル / Haru (2013)
Director: Ryotaro Makihara
Screenplay: Izumi Kizara
Cast: Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yoko Hikasa

Note: This film will screen on July 27

If the premise of this film interests you and you like animation then this is a worthwhile feature to watch. The story is about a girl, Kurumi, whose boyfriend dies in an airplane disaster. She is deeply saddened and isolates herself from everyone else. In order to aid her, a robot made to look like Hal is created to take care of her and to help her overcome her sadness. There’s really more to the story than that but you’ll find out when you watch the film. Robot Hal is given Kurumi’s Rubic’s cube which has different messages written on it. These messages are either tasks or wishes that Kurumi wanted to do in the past with her boyfriend. Robot Hal decides to try and fulfill these tasks.

The backgrounds and environments are nicely detailed and great to look at with vivid colors. The characters themselves are typical giant eyed anime ones for better or worse (for me it’s worse but it’s something that I just have to accept even though I feel this style of character undermines the serious story). But still this is a beautiful film to watch.

I do wish the running time were a bit longer. It’s only 1 hour and it means that the development of Robot Hal and Kurumi feels like it could have been fleshed out more. The buildup does end up being enough and the surprise twist leads to a very emotional ending. However, this surprise twists makes one wonder what events were planned and which were staged. One of Hal’s former friend’s actions which made sense up to that point, suddenly becomes puzzling. Going into more detail would veer into spoiler territory so I’ll leave it at that. Hal is not super substantial but hits the emotional notes well. There is also a short scene after the credits.

There was also short that screened before the screening of Hal that was quite enjoyable. It was called Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl and was a cute childhood romance filled with over-the-top imagination that only a child could have. Birds are a motif in this one with some spectacular day dream sequences that involve birds.



Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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