OK, this one is sort of a cheat, as with the exception of a festival screening, the following film was not released in UK cinemas in 2011. But it did go straight to DVD and waved at me on LoveFilm to be interested in it. I like Japanese films and have been disappointed in the decline in distribution of them of late, and whilst this was a remake, it was a remake of one of my favourite Japanese films, which was a really interesting anime. Not only that, it was a live action remake of a film which in animated form is funny, silly and really rather touching in places. Despite having a slightly mangled title, I saw this new version and thought, that’s a story which could actually work well in live action – why not give it a go. And then, when watching all two hours of the new version of it, I discovered why not.
Time Traveller – The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was to my knowledge the second version of this story. HOW WRONG COULD I BE. As you can see here, there have been loads on TV as well as film. This is the third live action film version, and the whole shebang is based on a mid-eighties book with a title which literally translates as The Girl Who Runs Through Time. Which brings us to the problem of this version. There is not a lot of leaping. There isn’t much running. Compare and contrast the two lead characters from the terrific anime version.
The lead in the anime is irrepressible, full of life, working through petulant comedy to a rather moving denouement around responsibility. The live action film she is dour, upset much of the time and the whole thing reaches a crescendo of unbearable melodrama and syrupy strings. Perhaps I should have been a bit more buyer beware about this DVD, and maybe I should have just done some of the research I did now. It turns out that the anime is a very loose adaptation, the film is much more accurate to the book. Do I care? Of course not. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a terrific movie, Time Traveller is the opposite. Sure its a source I know little about, and a tone of Japanese films that I rarely dig into. But it didn’t stop it being one of the most disappointing films I saw last year.