27 July 2009 | webbster63
Probably the best non-animated movie in this country
Before I start, I must say that I have had this tendency to find 90% of the live-action movies in this country to be so poorly written that I generally avoid them.
That said, I'll try to describe the movie without any spoilers: Pako and the Magical Picture Book was amazing. At first glance it appears to be a kiddie movie. I'm fine with that, as I like a good childish comedy now and then. As you start watching it, it seems pretty simple and kind of stupid: Oniki, the old man, is in the hospital after having collapsed at a board meeting at the company he spent over 40 years building up from nothing. The farther into the movie you get, the less it seems like a regular hospital and more it seems like a place for mental health patients and for people who cannot take care of themselves. Even the doctor and nurses are weird. There are several people who I would just calls nut cases, a violently angry nurse, another nurse who wants to get the old man's money by becoming the wife of his son (this isn't an essential part of the plot at all), the old transvestite, and several others who can't really be described without ruining part of their plots.
Then there is Pako. Pako is a little girl who loses her memory every day. Think along the lines of 40 First Dates, but less funny. She is an unusually cheerful girl, and she always carries around a storybook she got from her mom. The book is pretty crazy, and at first it sounds like it is a pretty mean story about a frog who hates everyone.
By the end, you get some really deep insights into the characters, showing the adult morbid sides to several of them, and the sad depressing sides of others. Alongside all this you have Pako and her story, which twists what would be an extremely depressing and dark story to kind of show what the world would look like to a child's eyes. It is such a perfect mix of dark tragedy and childish comedy that I would say it goes very well with something Tim Burton could have made if he was able to handle the strange intricacies of Japanese dialects and properly convey them in English.
If you liked any of the "lighter" Tim Burton movies and you speak Japanese, then watch this movie. You are missing out if you don't.