A Neverending Story–ish Saga


Even if he’s never actually made a film you can stand, you cannot ignore Takashi Miike—no one working today is as preposterously fecund, has visited as many genres (gangster, musical, horror, psychodrama, fantasy—oy), or has made each as perversely his own. With this ludicrous fantasy, add children’s film to the CV—even if, as the colorful hyperbolists at the New York Asian Film Festival put it, it’s a miracle Japanese kids can sleep if this is the kind of film they get. It’s really not a shock if you contemplate the state of popness in that manga-anime-deranged culture, but still, it’s Miike, chronicling, with as big a budget as he’s ever had, the Neverending Story–ish saga of a young boy lured into helping out the spirit world against the encroaching forces of robotic technology. The film makes no more or less sense than Ridley Scott’s Legend or Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, but for many, keeping up with Miike’s cranked movie factory output is an end in itself. The DVD includes six making-of featurettes, two freestanding shorts, monster-character profiles, and trailers.