HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  They Were Eleven Lost in space
Year: 1986
Director: Satoshi Dezaki, Tsuneo Tominaga
Stars: Akira Kamiya, Michiko Kawai, Hideyuki Tanaka, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Kozo Shioya, Michihiro Ikemizu, Norio Wakamoto, Tessho Genda, Toshio Furakawa, TARAKO, Tsutomu Kashiwakura
Genre: Thriller, Animated, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Teenage psychic Tada Lane (voiced by Akira Kamiya) is among ten cadets from the Cosmo Academy sent into outer space for their end-of-course test. Their assignment: to take command of an old spaceship and survive fifty-three days without outside help. Should the going get tough any one of them has the option to give up and push the emergency button, but if they do so all cadets automatically fail. However, the cadets are immediately unnerved to discover there are eleven people on board. One of them is an imposter and while they don’t know who, neither can they contact the academy to find out if this is part of the test or whether there is a saboteur in their midst. No-nonsense, blue-haired bishonen King Mayan (Hideyuki Tanaka) takes charge as the cadets identify themselves. Aside from the revelation that cadet Knu (Norio Wakamoto) is a green-gilled alien, the biggest shock for the all-male crew is that Frol (Michiko Kawai) is - gasp! - a sexy blonde babe though she claims to detest girls and doesn’t want to be treated as one. Tensions flair as the mission grows increasingly perilous and fingers of suspicion are pointed at the hapless Tada.

An intelligent, suspenseful space thriller rather than the sort of slam-bang action epic most casual viewers expect from anime, They Were Eleven was adapted from the fine manga by groundbreaking writer-artist Moto Hagio. Hagio was one of the so-called Show 24 group, a name bestowed upon a generation of female manga creators who collectively redefined the form with a distinctively baroque art style that visualised the psychological worlds of their characters and emphasised existential themes. Many of these women were drawn to the horror and science fiction genres to which they brought a refreshingly humane perspective whilst delivering the kind of thrills and chills young male readers would expect from a boys’ manga.

With its character-driven approach, They Were Eleven evokes the cerebral Russian science fiction of the Soviet era, e.g. Test Pilot Pirx (1978) or To the Stars by Hard Ways (1981), but also prefigures more visceral anime with similar strangers-trapped-in-a-strange-situation conceit such as the remarkable King of Thorn (2009). Gripping, thought-provoking yet agreeably fast-paced, the film is also quintessentially Japanese in its preoccupation with dissecting a fraught social milieu with an emphasis on the need for cooperation and harmony. In classic mystery fashion, every character has a secret to hide but the plot repeatedly stresses the only way these mismatched misfits can get through the experience is by learning how to trust each other. Sparks fly between the placid but kindly Tada and the feisty Frol in a refreshing reversal of traditional gender roles as Hagio ensure the most outspoken and assertive character aboard the ship is a woman.

However, in keeping with shojo (girls) manga’s preoccupation with homoerotic themes, a neat twist reveals Frol hails from a planet whose inhabitants are gender neutral until they reach maturity. By passing the test, Frol hopes to win the right to become a man which is of great importance given she comes from a male-dominated society where women are considered little beyond decorative. While colourful the chara designs don’t quite do full justice Hagio’s vivid artwork but the film does not suffer from condensing the manga. Flashbacks intermingle with psychic revelations as it dawns on Tada he has been on this spaceship before. The suspense is nicely sustained but leavened with welcome humour including one scene where the youngsters settle their differences with a cathartic food fight. Stuck-up King Mayan gets repeatedly pelted in the face with custard pies. The climax is truly uplifting in its analysis of what constitutes real character. Somewhat surprisingly the end credits mimic American Graffiti (1973) revealing what happened to the characters after graduation.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2376 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: