This is the first of a line of movies made by Osamu Tezuka (yes, the God of Manga again) and are all part of his Hinotori saga; Man’s folly throughout the course of history, as well as his search for immortality and happiness. I will not make different reviews about each one of them, I will mention all I have to say about the whole concept here. For those interested there are three more movies as well as a series taking place in the same universe of the show.
To be frank the basic concept is very mature yet its presentation is very basic and childish in an attempt to appeal to everyone. That may be good in a way but it sure makes the whole thing fall apart when shown to a more demanding audience. A major problem is of course the duration which is way too short for its own good. Anything that involves the meaning of life, the rise and fall of civilizations and lots of character drama can’t possibly fit in just one hour. Such things take time and for that reason many will consider the information overflow and the rushed character development as poor storytelling and forced development. This of course counts for the demanding audience and not the flimsy viewers who are willing to accept a plot that runs on turbo or a relationship that blooms in two minutes. If for any reason your disbelief can be suspended so easily then the above is not a problem at all.
The story is in all chapters of the franchise pretty much the same thing. Bad things happening to good people and they try to make the best of what they are left with. Most end up making even more mistakes in their obsession for salvation and progress and end up making things worse. In this particular chapter, it is the story of a man raised in a mechanized society that has rejected family bonds. People are taken cared by robots and even work as substitutes for parents, before they are eventually taken to be trained as warriors or pilots in various hi-tech projects involving the proliferation of mankind throughout the galaxy. The main hero and his friend-robot are too high on ideals and thus early on refuse to accept their programming of learning how to kill and going on a search for the legendary phoenix that will grant them immortality. This results to the boy being sent on a prison as a convict, while his merciless twin brother ends up getting the girl and a high ranked position as a director of a project to harvest the energy of the planet.
There are numerous allusions and metaphors throughout the movie, from ecology, to morality, to betrayal and some more, and if the very rushed development won’t feel bad to you then the movie is indeed very mature and educational around the dark side of humanity. That still doesn’t save it from being naive as the solution to any problem is plain simple and silly. That female robot can do anything it likes no matter the security. The phoenix can appear anytime it pleases to throw a silly morality speech to the audience. Earth starting to fall apart came out of nowhere.
In a similar fashion, the characters are to the most part left as nothing but caricatures; extreme archetypes of good or evil. No time to develop them beyond the obvious and definitely no time to make us feel their sudden pain or love if it happened in a few seconds with little foreshadowing or focus.
The saving grace of the whole film is the production values. Despite being the oldest, 2772 is by far the more artistic and better looking of all Hinotori related anime. The first part of the movie for example is completely mute and we see in fast forward how the hero was raised, while a light music is playing to get us in the proper mood of the show. It really manages to show us all the basics of the society of the film without a single word (which is a very positive thing in terms of good storytelling). The romantic scene with him and a girl he likes, as well as the catastrophe in the finale are very well done in terms of presentation and get the proper feelings across. All the rest are medium to good as they feel more like a silly children’s adventure rather than a dark story of human folly. I mean those robot mascots were real mood killers and had some damn broken powers to offer cheap solutions to any problem.
Overall it is a good film on an aesthetic level. It just needed two more hours of duration to really delve properly into all its numerous and important events, as well as offer more understood character growth and sympathy from the viewer.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 2/2 (well-done)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (quite symbolical; especially in the beginning)
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (silly but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 3/3 (they become part of the story)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (rushed)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 1/3 (still remembered by some as an interesting retro title)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much overblown drama)
Memorability 2/4 (generic today but has its charm)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 6/10
It needed far more duration and far less talking but it is still good.