HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dark Tower, The
Better Watch Out
Beguiled, The
Year of the Comet
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
War for the Planet of the Apes
One Sings, the Other Doesn't
Great Gilly Hopkins, The
Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  Bremen 4: Angels in Hell Furry Foursome Fight Fascism with Funk!Buy this film here.
Year: 1981
Director: Osamu Tezuka
Stars: Mari Okamoto, Hiroya Ishimaru, Kazuko Yanaga, Kei Tomiyama, Kosei Tomita, Mahito Tsujimura, Makio Inoue, Masako Sugaya, Nachi Nozawa, Naoko Kyoda, Setsu Taniguchi, Tomoko Munakata
Genre: Musical, Animated, Science Fiction, Weirdo, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rondo (voiced by Kazuko Yanaga), a scantily-clad alien babe from outer space, arrives on planet Earth eager to spread her message of peace. Unfortunately, she stumbles into the midst of an invasion led by Nazi-styled Colonel Karl Presto whose battle robots and hi-tech stormtroopers blitz their way through a defenseless nation. While a youngster named Trio (Masako Sugaya) is in the barn feeding his beloved cat, Coda (Mari Okamoto), soldiers blow up his house, killing his mother. Amidst the chaos and horror of a catastrophic death toll, Coda escapes to the country where she befriends a donkey named Largo (Kei Tomiyama) and a clumsy but kindhearted dog called Allegro (Hiroya Ishimaru), who saves them from the stormtroopers. Inspired by Allegro’s kind act, Coda spares Minuet the chicken (Naoko Kyoda) from becoming dinner. Together the four animal friends discover a shared talent for making music. When the animals stumble upon a dying Rondo, the alien uses her powers to transform them into quasi-human mutant pop stars who use their music to rally humanity and take down Presto’s fascist regime.

Fairytale adaptations don’t get any stranger than this Osamu Tezuka anime, an amibitious, apocalyptic science fiction take on The Musicians of Bremen. While aspects of the concept hark back to Tezuka’s earlier The Amazing Three (1965), wherein aliens disguised as barnyard animals battle to save the Earth, and anticipate the landmark J-pop-saves-the-universe favourite Superdimensional Fortress Macross (1982), the film is distinguished by its strident anti-war message. Having lived through the aftermath of the Second World War, Tezuka was driven to sear the horrors of war upon the minds of a young generation to ensure there would be no repeat of past mistakes. Right from its opening scenes the film segues from anthromorphic whimsy to a succession of shockingly brutal images: children mown down by gunfire, poverty, starvation, political arrests, genocide, even real footage of atomic bomb tests. It is far from subtle but what is there that’s subtle about war?

Other animated films addressed the evils of war but none did so in quite such startling fashion as Tezuka. For some the juxtaposition of Disneyesque sweetness with stark brutality, slapstick silliness, playful eroticism, pop music and sci-fi action, was simply too jarring. But the sheer audacity of its dynamic agenda, to entertain and enlighten, results in a one-of-a-kind experience. The sweeping storyline incorporates film buff nods to everything from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and The Wizard of Oz (1939), to Luchino Visconti’s bonkers biopic Ludwig (1974), vintage science fiction and the wartime thrillers of Polish auteur Andrzej Wajda. True to form, Tezuka peppers the narrative with in-joke cameos from his other manga creations, including Astro Boy, Jungle Emperor Leo, Don Dracula and Unico, along with a substantial role for his scarred surgeon antihero Black Jack.

Its heavily pacifist tone reflects Tezuka’s lifelong crusade against militarism as well as his steadfast belief in art as a vehicle for humanitarian ideals, as the plot sees the Bremen Four rally the oppressed citizens then storm the pop charts. They eventually play sell out concerts at huge stadiums. While Allegro grows to enjoy being surrounded by adoring schoolgirls as he and his bandmates are courted by the rich and famous, Coda remains haunted by the spectre of little Trio, now a traumatised waif living rough on the streets. Torn between pop stardom and their political beliefs, the band spurn Colonel Presto’s offer to serve as his musical mouthpiece and end up imprisoned. In a typical Tezuka twist, Coda’s spirited decency draws out the latent humanity in the cruel dictator. He briefly falls for the cute cat-girl, but reverts to villainy when unmasked as the robot doppelganger of a major Tezuka character. The third act is an out-and-out action film as the animal heroes help resistance fighters storm the castle. There is a thrilling swordfight aboard a steamship pursued by a giant spider-robot plus more gunfire and dead bodies than one would expect from Rambo, let alone a children’s cartoon.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 926 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: