Perfect Blue (20th Anniversary Screening)

Perfect-Blue-2

Twenty years later, and Perfect Blue still thrills and chills….

Tonight didn’t seem any different than usual for me, aside from the belabored trip to pickup my children from school. I’d taken a long hiatus from this blog (among other things) to focus on getting my family back in order. The wife and I prepared dinner as our two children settled in for evening. After they had gotten into bed, we headed off to pick up our friend and make our way for tonight’s screening. I opened up the door, and my wife walked on ahead toward the van. I closed it and a chill ran down my back. I peered up at the sky. It was gray, dreary and misting, cold rain. The steep drop in temperature gave me another chill. Little did I know, tonight’s film would leave me feeling icy, disturbed, and confused–all (of course) in a good way.

SPOILERALERT

This isn’t the first time I’ve brought Perfect Blue up on this blog. I’ve made it clear I’m a fan of Satoshi Kon’s work here, alongside his other heavy-hitting cinematic bouts.

I always appreciated certain themes that seemed to reoccur in Kon’s work. The fear or paranoia (uncertainty) when it comes to the world wide web is one. Second, is the fear or paranoia of those we believed to be our most trusted friends and family. Perfect Blue plays with these two phobias (so to speak) and bases them in Japan’s ‘Pop Idol Culture’. Not too mention another fear of ours Kon preys upon—being a victim of a toxic fandom. It seems silly to bring up, but when all things are considered; this film’s action is driven by the actions of fans, admirers, and people who initially were supportive of the main characters.

This isn’t a story of ‘Good Guys versus Bad Guys’. I struggle to even see this film in that light at all. Even with the enormous twist that occurs during the last half of the film; it felt more like a betrayal than it did an altogether, evil act. Don’t get me wrong, the ‘antagonist’ of this film is definitely a wrongdoer. But one could argue that they acted out their betrayal only after feeling betrayed themselves. A murderous, ‘tit-for-tat’.

I love the intriguing, yet chilling level of paranoia brought to this film. The film’s ‘hero’, a singer, is simply trying to execute a career change. She’s ultimately convinced by one adviser that being a Japanese Pop Idol isn’t a profitable way to live, no matter how much passion is there. The singer (Her name is Mima) eventually decides to become a professional actress. Coincidentally enough, another one of her managers shows her how to setup her personal computer and web browser. Why is it important? Because from this point on, Mima’s life changes dramatically. She’s switched to a difficult and competitive career, and she’s also looking to establish an online, social presence during the early stages of the internet. It may not have seemed like much back then; but we all know how much a strong, internet presence can influence someone’s career. Keep in mind celebrities now have been criticized and bullied into shutting down their social media profiles. Anyway, a fan letter tips Mima off to a fan-made web page dedicated to her.

The web page proceeds to torment her throughout the duration of the film from then on. It knows what she eats, how she sleeps, even down to what foot she steps off of the local subway with first.

The film revs up it’s intense crawl and throws in these sharp, sleek cuts throwing both Mima and the audience into this confused, hapless stupor. From there, we’re forced to confront Mima’s fading confidence in her talent as an actress, her relationships with her managers and former pop idol co-stars; and the aforementioned ‘Mima’s Room’ fan age. Not only do the fans seem to be upset with Mima’s decision to quit her Idol life, but her role on the drama series she’s been cast in has become incredibly risque’ and explicit.

Just when the pot of personal and not-so-personal horrors begins to come to a boil; someone or something has begun murdering people associated with Mima and her career. A fitting, puzzling, hair-raising twist like that thrown in makes Perfect Blue, not just one of the best, animated films of all time–but among some of the best thrillers of all time as well.

If you haven’t seen Perfect Blue, please seek it out. As a matter of fact I’ll post a link here to Amazon. There, I’ve done half of the work for you. You’re welcome.

On ‘Perfect Blue’

Once again I watched one of my favorite animated movies ever and my opinion of it has not changed. This time I wasn’t alone, my wife and her best friend’s younger brother were along for the ride; and they were not disappointed.

I find it interesting the struggle Japanese pop idols seem to go through in this film and even today. The hustle and bustle of assembling a group of singers and dancers, the struggles endured during the rehearsals and such. I can only imagine what little relief they get from charting one of their many dizzying singles.

Perfect Blue is a psychological thriller about Mima, a pop star who is one-third of the super popular CHAM. Their success has come and while they haven’t become has-beens, they’re definitely knocking on that door. This story really begins when Mima, the Beyonce Knowles of the group, decides to venture out alone and become an actress. There are many fans who don’t like her decision, and maybe even a couple who are willing to kill to keep Mima a pop idol forever.

There’s some bloody, gory depictions of violence, and one scene in particular has quite a bit of stabbing–but for the most part–the first 2/3s of the movie feature some nudity and that’s pretty much it. Check it out if you can, you won’t regret it, especially fans of psychological horror films.

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Here is the trailer below:

SVR: “Excuse me, Perfect Blue?”

CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO SHOW PAGE—>http://thatkidneo.podomatic.com/entry/2013-10-17T17_00_15-07_00

Dee shares his thoughts on the second movie in the marathon, Perfect Blue. Then he dives into a ton of Halloween-inspired 3AL discussions.

+Music from VIXX, Shinee, Super Junior

Perfect Blue (1997)

2013 Monster Movie Marathon:-Movie #2
 
Words: Desmond Childs
 

Excuse me, who are you?

You, my friend, are a STAR! Thousands upon thousands of people, of all shapes, colors, and sizes-come to see YOU.  How does it feel to have those eyes on you? Sure, you’re part of the famous pop idol sensation, CHEM; but EVERYONE knows who the true star is. We want you to sing forever, Mima! The only thing we will ALLOW you to do….is sing….

“You’re the one who needs to wake-up!”

Perfect Blue plays like a suspense novel from start to finish. The musical score underlines the paranoia and creeping dread Mima begins to feel as the story rolls to its startling conclusion. There have been countless pop stars who have risen into the spotlight only to dim just as quickly, fading away into the past. One can only imagine the pain-staking effort those musicians and singers have put into transforming themselves into being relevant for as long as possible. Many of these “Idols” attempt to crossover into other mediums such as television or movies. Assuming the Idol is in good standing, this would only bring them a slew of other fans, right? What if there were fans who truly believed their favorite singers, belonged to them alone? What if there were people willing to do whatever it took to keep up the image of an idol, even if the idol themselves wanted to move on to bigger, and better things? These and many more aspects of being an Idol are looked at in Perfect Blue, albeit dialed up for full impact.

The most intriguing theme this film explores has to be Mima’s loss of innocence. One example that drives the movie, is her decision (however influenced or coerced she was) to become an actress. Her life as an idol, in comparison was safe. It had become second nature to Mima, who worked hard, remained humble, and appreciated the help she received along the way. As she undergoes her new career path, she becomes subjected to more adult themes. As part of a police procedural drama, she’s placed in scenes with mature situations that push her further away from her comfort zone. Will you do the rape scene, Mima? How well can you play the part of a serial killer? These are themes a pop star, who sung about love, perseverance and happiness struggle to adjust too. The overall tone darkens with this career change, and we begin to meet “adult” characters; cold, impatient, unpleasant, and some even seedy or suspicious. The loss of innocence is slowly building toward being complete, but it’s not in the healthy way many of us grow into adulthood. It’s all forced and pressed upon Mima, who desperately tries to process the changes around her and within. It’s a very well paced hunt of a story. How the responsibilities and possible dangers of adulthood stalk, hunt, and finally kill the innocence of a young actress.

I’m never going to deny the fact that I love Satoshi Kon movies. In fact, I champion them whenever possible. I feel that he was one of the best at injecting true terror, suspense, and anxiety into whatever he touched. His films were never just animated movies. They were live action films someone doused in hundreds of cans of beautifully imagined color, texture and atmosphere. Perfect Blue has those qualities too, although the character designs here are a little wonky to behold; they do a fair job portraying characters for what they are. Keep that in mind. Do not let your own eyes deceive you, when watching Perfect Blue.

Perfect Blue can be found on a number of sites. It didn’t surprise me when I looked on Amazon.com and saw someone actually trying to dump it off for 63 bones. Anyway, fear not! You can find the movie for far less, and still get a HUGE bang for your bucks. Fans of mysteries, thrillers, and Alfred Hitchcock will appreciate this suspense-thriller classic by the late, great Satoshi Kon.

MONSTER MOVIE MARATHON PREVIEW: “Perfect Blue”

The second movie in my Monster Movie Marathon is more of a thriller than a horror film. Regardless, it does a good job of freaking me out, all the same. Directed by the late, great Satoshi KonPerfect Blue is equal parts suspense, intrigue, and paranoia. Have you ever had that feeling? The one that makes you suspect that someone is watching you?

Perfect Blue