- Animated by A-1 Pictures, a studio with high budgets in all its works, so the movie looks wonderful.
- Directed by Masunari Kouji, who has produced some nice minor titles from time to time (Photon, Read or Die) but in all he never produced something amazing.
Welcome to the Space Show by all means not a bad family movie, but it definitely is not a great one either. I am sure it can be very appealing to kids who have the patience to sit through it without being bored with its lack of action for the most part, and it sure will amaze any parents who watch it for its interesting depiction of the alien civilization.
It is definitely not a movie the average member of the target audience will love or care to rewatch any time soon. Apart from the story being simplistic, kids today are really addicted to violence and constant action (because of videogames and news on television) thus the overall calm nature of the film will most likely pass as boring. This is definitely not recommended to grade schoolers who play Vice City or live in areas with lots of public unrest. On the other hand, pampered kids with no worries who are forbidden videogames or too violent programs will definitely like it a lot more. As for the parents, I don’t know, if they like the old Walt Disney films they will definitely tolerate this one as well. It is not deep or confusing, and has its share of adult touches to keep a touch with reality.
The premise of the movie is a standard one. Some kids go on holidays alone on a rural area and meet an alien dog, who agrees to take them on a trip through space. During the trip, the kids must adjust and even work hard in order to overcome setbacks which delay the trip and their eventual return home. It has indeed its share of showing how little children need to work together, use their skills, make mistakes and learn from them, as means to open their minds to a whole new world that lies beyond their simple lives. It has adventure, comedy, sparks of drama and mystery, and even has a very action-based finale with a cosmic threat that arose because of their presence. On paper, it looks fine to follow through.
Of course, being a movie for the family eventually means that a lot of things make no sense or even feel off. For example, in the beginning of the film the parents leave their kids to go alone for several days in the middle of an unpopulated and uncivilized area. Their ages are simply way too small to accept that. I mean, what kind of a parent would let his kids go camping without adult supervision? All the mothers in my village wouldn’t let us get to the swamp next to us without experienced hunters or fishermen as guides and trainers and these ones just LET THEM GO ALONE??? Even if they are to learn new things, who is going to teach them or help them if something goes wrong? This is the wilderness for Pete’s sake; it is not the back alley of your neighborhood. Hell, even most back alleys are dangerous. And as you imagine, something did go wrong and they go jettisoned in the far corners of space.
As for what follows, it is still not exactly mind-boggling either. The kids go to several alien worlds and interact with whatever creatures and environments exist there. It all looks spectacular but doesn’t take more than three seconds to realize that the aliens, despite claiming to be a far more advanced civilization than Earth’s, are still practically nothing more than 21st century capitalists themselves. They have fast food identical to ours, kindergartens identical to ours, mechanics, mailmen, merchants, television, MONEY (heh proof of how they are not civilized at all), and generally despite the fancy alien exterior this is nothing but a typical urban society. They could have gotten on the city near their home and it would make no difference. This again doesn’t help you to enjoy the movie as nothing more than a mediocre road movie, where the dull sceneries simply have more colors and polygons than usual.
As for the plot itself, the kids pretty much need to earn money in order to find a way home, thus they need to work in areas their skills work best. Is it me or does this translates to CHILD LABOR? Which is kinda… immoral? Or is it ok for the so called advanced aliens to create workers from the age of five? And seriously, it is all about money and wealth? And hold on a second, one of the kids has an Earth plant which to them is a most rare and addictive drug. And they actually make money by selling drugs to bystanders??? Ok, this is simply crossing the line.
So this movie is practically about a group of kids, taken by a stranger to a city, where they need to work for money and sell drugs, all means to learn about the magical and advanced world that exists out there… YEAH RIGHT! The could have done the same in any ghetto for all I care. Or China. This is definitely not Walt Disney material. This is something along the lines of teaching the child audience the basics of capitalism. And since the pampered kids won’t get it and the videogame0addicted ones will already know it, this movie is nothing but vanilla in a fancy wrapper. It looks gorgeous with those really cool production values of its, plus the kid voice actors really did a great job to pass as natural. Other than that… nothing. This is not a magical setting to make your innocent mind go traveling to fairylands. It is almost vicious! Maybe it can be seen as camouflaged hard realism and a sign of the times we are living in, where ideals went under and it is all about that printed piece of paper called money. That still doesn’t feel like it should be a family movie. Why not some sort of teen adventure, where the themes would fit better? I sure wouldn’t want any kids to watch this and get funny ideas about making money.
The finale of the movie is otherwise trashing even that weird feeling it was going for. Out of nowhere space villains appear and try to create some sort of universal change and there is a battle to be fought or something. WHERE DOES THAT FIT IN ALL THE REST? Once again I fail to see what that has to do with the whole idea behind the movie, other than proving again how even the aliens are just capitalists with green skin and four arms. And it sure made the last scene cheesy and predictable. It’s not like it lasted a lot to care or they used some sort of super strategy to win.
In all, I wasn’t thrilled with this movie. Not only its themes were not-for-children in a children movie, but its plot was also unimaginative and ended expectably. The production values are great and they can fool the shallow audience into thinking there is something good in all that, but just like the Avatar movie, it is nothing but an amusement park balloon. Fancy colors and shape with nothing but hot air inside. Recommended as nothing more other than an average time-killer.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 2/2, Visual Effects 2/2
SOUND SECTION: 9/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 3/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 3/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 0/3, Characters 0/4