Jellyfish Eyes - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jellyfish Eyes Reviews

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½ January 30, 2016
The first third of this is phenomenal. Really should've just been a short. Feels padded to all hell.
½ December 14, 2015
Jellyfish Eyes is a perfect example of trusting the people whom you claim to trust. I would not have watched this film if it was not a Criterion release and the trailer for the film had me questioning my trust in the company. I was wrong. I admit this. My expectations for the film were twisted and mixed. It looks like a live action Pokemon-stylized, children's movie and it was. However, watching the film I realized that there has been something lost in my life.

Nearly all of the films that I watch fill me with wonder, which is one of my baseline requirements. I realized, watching Jellyfish Eyes, that sprinkling joy on top of the wonder go the distance in fulling my emotions.

The story of Jellyfish Eyes is a group of twenty-somethings who found a portal to another realm filled with companion creatures. Negative energy is required to open the portal and they have learned that children are the best generators of the energy that they need. I really want to leave as much of story untouched as possible because the film is well worth your time.
½ October 25, 2015
It is a pretty bad movie.
July 31, 2015
Takashi Murakami's directorial debut, which is actually a couple of years old, has generated a great deal of excitement and discussion. When Janus Films and Criterion joined forces to release it to the US, expectations had reached such a high that it was almost bound to disappoint some.

The American Film Critics have not been particularly kind to this highly innovative, original and thought-provoking film. That's too bad. This is an entertaining and smart film.

Digital animation / real-time special effects aside, this is an amazing little movie. While it is clearly aimed at children, it deals with survival in a damaged world without ever going too far. That is not to say that I would rush to have my 8 year old child see it. Japanese culture is very different than American.

As I think everyone is aware, Japan encountered the most horrific nuclear disaster in 2011 that could have made Chernobyl look like a cake-walk. Lucky for Japan and the entire world, the disaster's impact appears to be somewhat minimal. Or so we "think." In a post-nuclear world nothing is guaranteed or fully understood. For those near the incident in Japan, the scanning of food, water and soil is a normal occurrence. As for the implications for the ocean, it is very unclear.

Similar to what many parents faced after the tragedies of 9/11 -- comforting and explaining all of that to a child was almost impossible in my mind. I think we can all be sure that Japanese parents deal with a similar situation when families were evacuated and forced to move to new homes. Some stuck in detention centers for a while.

While Takashi Murakami had been developing this project for close to a decade, he clearly revised and reinvented his idea to address the fear, anger and sadness that the nuclear disaster presented to children.

Within this context, "Jellyfish Eyes" takes on a whole other level of meaning and commentary. Overly-protective parents, grieving families and bullies take on a new context. While the truly magical creatures the each child in the film "owns" is presented within a simply-complex Sci-Fi story -- it doesn't take a rocket science to understand that these at first threatening creatures could be a result of nuclear mutation. Murakami's magical creatures offer hope and empowerment for the children. They absorb the childrens' sadness, fears and anger.

At times the metaphor is a bit convoluted. And the movie is paced differently that what we anticipate from Disney. And the mixing of real and digital effects are sometimes more than a little disorienting and violent.

This may not be a smart choice for young children or some parents. But I find it hard to find many faults with such a magical invocation of imagination and spirit. It is not perfect, but it is pretty awesome!
July 17, 2015
One of the worst films! I say this as somebody who both loves Murakami's art and tv shows like Pokemon or Digimon- this is a disservice to both. The problem with this movie is how conformist it is- it's exactly a bad made-for-tv quality live-action anime movie. I don't know why that surprises me, because quite honestly what I love about Murakami is his conformism and capitalism. Yet the best part about Murakami's art to me is when he both conforms but undermines- that subtle dig on the emptiness and hollowness that comes with the cute images and the designer bags; the horror that peaks through when you're surrounded by thousands of dead technicolor eyes staring at you in a room. I'd sum up Murakami's art as "the cuteness of a nuclear meltdown." This movie, unfortunately, is just bland and run of the mill- there's just surface.
May 13, 2014
This is a beautiful, insanely inventive combo of low-brow and high-tech, wrapped in a classic coming-of-age story with deep human and political themes. Set in post-Fukushima Japan, it is the story of sweet, but troubled youngster, Masashi, and his struggle to fit in with his new classmates. Having moved to a new town with his mother, due to an environmental disaster which apparently killed his father, Masashi discovers a friendly, playful, flying jellyfish-like being living in their new cramped apartment. He quickly discovers that his new classmates also have similar pet-beings,(called F.R.I.E.N.D.s) which they control with Gameboy-like consoles in after-school battle royales. Beneath the playful exterior, though, Masashi quickly begins to see that these F.R.I.E.N.D.s mask a darker force at work in his new town. This is the point of departure for Masashi's journey, where he battles ever larger foes, culminating in a climactic sequence that would make any daikaiju eiga aficionado applaud. This amazingly original film is also hilarious, and at times, profoundly touching. It is must-see for anyone interested in the movement of postmodern art known as Superflat, by the movement's own founder, the brilliant and wildly idiosyncratic Takashi Murakami. It may have you shouting 'Kurage-bo!' long after you've left the theater.
May 10, 2014
This is a beautiful, insanely inventive combo of low-brow and high-tech, wrapped in a classic coming-of-age story with deep human and political themes. Set in post-Fukushima Japan, it is the story of sweet, but troubled youngster, Masashi, and his struggle to fit in with his new classmates. Having moved to a new town with his mother, due to an environmental disaster which apparently killed his father, Masashi discovers a friendly, playful, flying jellyfish-like being living in their new cramped apartment. He quickly discovers that his new classmates also have similar pet-beings,(called F.R.I.E.N.D.s) which they control with Gameboy-like consoles in after-school battle royales. Beneath the playful exterior, though, Masashi quickly begins to see that these F.R.I.E.N.D.s mask a darker force at work in his new town. This is the point of departure for Masashi's journey, where he battles ever larger foes, culminating in a climactic sequence that would make any daikaiju eiga aficionado applaud. This amazingly original film is also hilarious, and at times, profoundly touching. It is must-see for anyone interested in the movement of postmodern art known as Superflat, by the movement's own founder, the brilliant and wildly idiosyncratic Takashi Murakami. It may have you shouting 'Kurage-bo!' long after you've left the theater.
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