I decided to buy this movie after seeing the preview for Patema Inverted on Amazon Prime. I hadn’t seen an anime movie in a little while, and it looked to have great potential. Unfortunately, this movie was a pretty big letdown.
The premise of this movie is a bit hokey, if not comedical: It’s boy-meets-girl with a 180 degree twist. The girl is from another world where gravity happens to be upside down, and this means she will fall ‘up’ if she isn’t holding onto something, or standing on the inside roof of some sort of structure. While there is some mild romantic connotations, in general the story revolves around the connection between their worlds, and a dictator-type guy who is in control of his world.
To cut the story short – this film was a letdown on many levels: character design, story, music, effects, voice acting, and a general sense of being derivative. This film clearly was heavily influenced from the classic Ghibli great Laputa: Castle in the Sky, not just because of a similar premise, but also some similar scenes and even a handful of lines that were similar if not identical. I may be overthinking things, but even the name “Patema” seems oddly close to “Laputa”.
I won’t go into all the bad points, but I’ll name a handful. First, the visuals were not nearly as polished as I expected for an anime movie of this type released in 2014. There was a strange blur effect used a few times that nearly gave me a headache, and little noticeable use of good quality CG. While some of the scenes were beautiful, they didn’t compare to Makoto Shinkai-level quality (Voices of a Distant Star, etc). One of the songs played several times in the film was a super cheesy tune which is hard to describe, except that it sounds like lounge music from the 80s. I felt the character’s visual design was overly generic and the voice acting also seemed B-quality. The ending, while interesting, also felt underdone.
If you have an opportunity to watch this film for free and have the time, go ahead and watch it – you might even enjoy it. But if you want to see a great viewing experience, see something like Summer Wars (reviewed by me here).