KimuTaku: The Wonder Years
by Ender’s Girl
Ever wondered what kept Kimura busy before 1996, the year he starred in Long Vacation and became THE KimuTaku, Supreme Japanese Heartthrob? (Lol) Well, he did four movies (see Part One of reviews below), which I’ve lumped together not based on any similarities in plot content (thematically they’re quite a mixed bunch), but because they made up the First Wave of Kimura’s filmography — back when he was still KimuTaku 1.0 (circa his late teens to early twenties). It’s also much easier to group them chronologically, given that Kimura took a 9-year hiatus from films (a lifetime in movie industry reckoning!) before resurfacing in 2004 as Serious Actor Kimura (Who Works with Auteurs! and Real Filmmakers!) in Wong Kar Wai’s 2046, albeit in a supporting role.
Since 2004, Kimura has been making one film a year, and 4 times out of 5 with such internationally respected filmmakers as Miyazaki, Yamada Yoji and Tran Anh Hung, aside from Wong Kar Wai. This is not to say, though, that all of his recent forays into SeriousActorLand have been critically praised. (Separate film reviews to follow.) But as of press time, KimuTaku’s latest flick — Space Battleship Yamato — is in the offing. Could this be the dawning of a new era in his film career, i.e. KimuTaku the Movie Star? Hmmm… *strokes chin* (Read my Space Battleship Yamato review)
Anyway, back to the KimuTaku 1.0 movies. Despite being commercially friendly fare, they’re not particularly memorable, and they do suffer from low-tech production values (i.e. poor audio/video quality, laughable special effects) aka The Bane of Pre-Digital Revolution Movies. Artistically, the overall direction is uninspired, the writing nothing special either — with draggy plots and tepid character treatments. So you really WON’T be missing out on much should you pass on these flicks. But for the Kimura Completist, this could prove to be a veritable goldmine of his earliest work, in which his raw talent, despite being a little rough around the edges, is already quite noticeable. KimuTaku as a kamikaze pilot? KimuTaku as a high school soccer jock? Click to read MOAR!!! MOAR!!!