The Wings Of Hon­neamise

The Not- Quite- Right Stuff

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Dvd & Blu-Ray -

Re­lease Date: 27 April 1987 | PG | Dual- for­mat Blu- ray & DVD/ DVD Direc­tor: Hiroyuki Ya­m­aga Cast: Bryan Cranston, David Thomas, Pa­tri­cia Ja Lee, Michael Frost, Dan Woren Usu­ally when a film is de­scribed as a flawed clas­sic, the flaw isn’t de­bil­i­tat­ing. It’s an an­noy­ance, a shame, a mis­take that ir­ri­tates, but you can still en­joy the film as a whole. The Wings Of Hon­neamise, though, has one mo­ment af­ter which it’s im­pos­si­ble to watch the film in the same frame of mind, and which leaves you with a bit­ter taste at the end com­pletely at odds with a cli­max that’s clearly sup­posed to be spir­i­tu­ally up­lift­ing.

For much of its run­ning time, The Wings Of Hon­neamise is a vis­ually im­pres­sive anime, with cross­over ap­peal for West­ern art­house film fans. It’s set on an al­ter­nate 20th cen­tury Earth dom­i­nated by two great power blocs. One of them is de­vel­op­ing a space pro­gramme in the face of dis­in­ter­est from politi­cians and out­right ridicule from the public. But as the project nears a suc­cess­ful launch, the other su­per­power starts to take no­tice.

There is ac­tion, but not un­til late in the film, when all- out war erupts. Be­fore that it’s more like a bam­boop­unk ver­sion of The Right Stuff di­rected by the Coen Broth­ers: talky, char­ac­ter- lead and full of wry – and oc­ca­sion­ally very black – hu­mour. There are also in­ter­est­ing is­sues raised about the moral­ity of spend­ing money on space ex­plo­ration when there’s so much suf­fer­ing to deal with back here on Earth. The an­i­ma­tion, from a pre- CG age, is gor­geous, with some mo­ments of al­most im­pres­sion­is­tic beauty.

Then the film’s hero – Shiro, this world’s po­ten­tial first as­tro­naut – at­tempts to rape a woman. Worse still, the next day she apol­o­gises to him for lead­ing him on… with a smile. This seems to spur in him a re­li­gious con­ver­sion that ul­ti­mately vin­di­cates the cost of the space pro­gramme. On­line, you can find some peo­ple try­ing to jus­tify this scene ( there’s a hint he may have thought she was a pros­ti­tute, as if that makes it any bet­ter); it is, how­ever, un­jus­ti­fi­able and not even se­ri­ously ad­dressed within the film.

It’s too shock­ing a char­ac­ter devel­op­ment for the plot devel­op­ment it drives, and af­ter­wards it’s im­pos­si­ble to em­pathise with Shiro. Flawed he­roes can be in­ter­est­ing, but not this flawed.

Ex­tras: Just trail­ers. The “Col­lec­tor’s Edi­tion” Blu- ray also has a 20- page book­let. Dave Golder We’ve stuck with the film’s best known ti­tle, but this re­lease is be­ing sold as Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Hon­neamise.

If you will eat those dough­nuts…

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