An alien invasion of Earth takes a strange and curious turn as the observers sent end up falling in love with those they get close to.
What They Say
This is another version of the story of Renton and Eureka. For almost half a century, mankind has battled a mysterious organism from space called “EIZO.” In 2054, there is a young soldier on board the fighter aircraft commanded by Holland, GEKKO, of the renegade group GEKKOSTATE, who is battling EIZO. The young soldier’s name is Renton. He boards Nirvash and heads for the battlefield. He has only one dream: to rescue his childhood friend, Eureka, who was kidnapped eight years ago and return to his hometown. Fate, however, brings tribulations to test the young love between Renton and Eureka --mission and emotion, truth and lie, past and future, life and death, reality and dream and even Holland – the entire world stand in the way of the two as the final battle with EIZO approaches…
Having seen a few NCM Fathom events like this before, I can't say I was too surprised by the result. Overall, the feature is about as I expected in that the visual presentation was decent, but felt muted and not as sharp and vibrant as it should be. Where the feature really fell short is in the audio department as that felt completely flat throughout, even in the big action scenes. Even worse is that the audio doesn't feel like it was mixed for a real theatrical environment but rather for the home video release. There were so many scenes where dialogue was essentially inaudible because of the levels used and other areas were simply hard to hear because of the normal air conditioning going on. And this isn't a theater issue, as I go to this theater pretty much once a week for all kinds of presentations. The audio issues here really made good chunks of the film difficult, including the beginning sequence which set the tone.
With the fifty episode anime series wrapping up in April of 2006, I have to admit that I had some surprise come 2008 when BONES announced they were doing a theatrical version of Eureka Seven. Everything felt like it had played out during that initial blitz, as we had a brief run of manga accompanying the series, a couple of light novels and even a few games to go along with it. Beyond trying to keep the franchise alive somehow, which felt kind of odd considering the ending to the series, I'm not quite sure what they were thinking when they decided to make the new movie. And with movies based off of a series, you can never be quite sure what you're going to get. Will it be a retelling in shorter form? A side story? Or something completely new?
Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers, originally known and literally translted as Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows, takes the third approach of something completely new though with quite a lot of things familiar. Outside of a brief moment that I'm aware of that references the original, this feature stands alone in telling its story, though I can't imagine it would make all that much sense to the uninitiated. In the year 2009, an alien race known as the Eizo. Little is really known about them but they've transformed large chunks of the Earth and when they do attack, they feel like some sort of antibody given large scale form that swarms over the land, causing widespread destruction and death for humanity.
In the 2040's, an event was triggered at a research facility looking into ways to defeat the Eizos that caused the death of fifty thousand people, which included a professor named Dominic who was close to a pair of children, Renton and Eureka. With his death, the facility he used to work in where the kids lived became the subject of inspection and young Eureka was whisked away and labeled a top secret of the military. Renton vowed to find her when he was old enough and eventually joined the military when he was in his teenage years. Because of his exceptional skill and close connection to a larva creature that are bred to make living mecha, he progressed quickly and found himself as part of the liberation forces when he was fourteen.
Unfortunately for Renton, he didn't realize that the crew he was placed with wasn't the real crew but rather a group of kids who are experiencing rapid aging because of military experiments done on them. Led by a man named Holland, the group is trying to find the Top Secret person as well, though they don't know Renton's connection to her, or that the top secret is a her. By using this secret when they find it, they hope to create a path to a land called Nevermore where time stands still and they won't age like they are. There are a lot of ties to myths of the past and stories adapted from other elements and along the way there is a bookend story of sorts about who writes the myths and their importance in the scheme of things. Renton's rescue of Eureka from the military sets everything in motion and it becomes a series of events where everyone is struggling to figure out exactly where they fit into what's going on.
Visually, the feature is very reminiscent of the TV series with the character designs and general mecha designs. The Eureka Seven TV series was one that I felt was consistently very well done which makes a theatrical feature like this feel like they're not stepping up to the plate as much as they should. In a lot of ways it feels like they're making a TV movie instead because there aren't all that many really stellar moments here, and in fact you feel like there were so many more in the series itself. There's nothing wrong with the animation here, and many movies from a series do mirror what the series look like for consistencies sake, but this feature has the opportunity to do something better because it's an all new reality in a sense.
I did have one very strange and amusing moment with the film that stood out to me. Admittedly, the scene is likely found in many shows over the last twenty five years, but towards the end there is a moment where Renton and Eureka are standing next to each other and looking off into the distance. Right down to the angle of the shot, the placement of the characters and the expressions on their faces – and almost their hair! - it was like the scene out of Macross with Hikaru and Misa together after the destruction of the Macross. A beautiful little homage I thought, and quite appropriate as well.
Eureka Seven is essentially an all right kind of movie. There are some nice moments to be had throughout and I loved seeing these characters on the big screen. But these aren't the characters that I was invested in for fifty episodes. There are similarities when it comes to Renton and Eureuka, but everyone else is someone else but using the same body. And that provides for too much of an unenjoyable disconnect, especially after all that the series threw at the viewers with these characters. I'm glad that this isn't a condensed retelling of the series, but I wish they had not warped the characters as far as they had and simply skewed the entire premise in a different direction. It's decent, but it's not going to be what a lot of Eureka Seven fans will be looking for.