What You Need To Know:
SUMMER WARS is a Japanese animated comedy adventure, but it’s not for children, especially pre-teenagers. A girl tricks a teenage math whiz into coming to her grandmother’s 90th birthday, to act as her alleged fiancé. The family discovers the truth when the math whiz unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting a global computer world used to control everything, including bank accounts, cell phones, traffic lights, and nuclear launch codes. Now, the math whiz and the family must work together to stop the evil artificial intelligence behind the security breach, which is putting millions of lives at risk.
SUMMER WARS is a colorful comedy adventure that stresses family values. There’s also an excellent line, borrowed from the classic Japanese movie SEVEN SAMURAI, which says, “To protect oneself, you must protect others.” Regrettably, the movie begins a little slowly. The bigger problem, however, is that the dialogue contains some foul language and a couple jokes about pre-marital sex. There’s also some strong cartoon violence, politically correct content blaming the U.S. military and gambling. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends strong caution. Family viewers probably would prefer TOY STORY 3 or THE BOOK OF KELLS instead.
(B, Pa, PCPC, APAP, LL, VV, S, N, A, D, MM) Light moral worldview stressing family and fighting evil, but with some negative content, including a light implied reference to a Buddhist funeral in a reference to a “temple” that’s implicitly Buddhist but no doctrine, and politically correct elements overtly criticizing the U.S. military; 20 obscenities (mostly “d” words, a few “h” words and two “s” words) and two light profanities saying “Oh, God”; strong but not very intense, mostly action violence with some blood includes two computer characters fight kick and punch one another in a virtual world, explosion, large building structure in computer world blown apart, boy gets running nosebleed and faints after girl kisses him on cheek, and elderly character has a heart attack off screen and family fails to revive character; two jokes about pre-marital sex; upper male nudity in bath scene and comical rear male nudity when little boy walks down hall after taking a bath; brief alcohol use; brief smoking; and, gambling in Japanese card game helps solve plot problem, lying, girl tricks boy, kids take bath in Japanese family bathhouse, black sheep of family is somewhat mercenary, artificial intelligence computer program acts maliciously, family members argue.
SUMMER WARS, a Japanese anime dubbed into English, is a visually colorful, funny, imaginative comedy adventure with some problematic areas. Though it’s animated, there are a couple quick sexual jokes that don’t make it child friendly. It also gets off to a slow start. And, the resolution of the good versus evil plot involves a gambling bet and a politically correct attack against the U.S. Armed Forces.
The story begins with Natsuki hiring teenage math prodigy Kenji, who has a crush on her, to come with her to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday. Kenji is surprised to learn her family has a large country estate. The biggest surprise, however, is that Natsuki wants to pass Kenji off as her fiancé so her elderly grandmother will have a reason to find the strength to go on living despite a recent illness.
Through his cell phone, someone sends Kenji a 2056 digit math riddle for him to solve. By solving the riddle, Kenji unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a global virtual world used to control everything, from bank accounts to cell phones to nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious artificial intelligence program calling itself Love Machine is hijacking control of everything on Oz. This puts hundreds of millions of lives in jeopardy. (By the way, the word “Ai” in Japanese means “love.”)
Of course, it’s up to Kenji and Natsuki’s large extended family to band together to stop the mayhem.
SUMMER WARS is a colorful comedy adventure that stresses family values. There’s also an excellent line, borrowed from the classic Japanese movie SEVEN SAMURAI, which stresses the idea that, by helping others, a person also helps himself. The line is, “To protect oneself, you must protect others.”
Regrettably, however, SUMMER WARS gets off to a slow, albeit somewhat funny, start. The bigger problem, however, is that the dialogue contains some foul language and a couple jokes about pre-marital sex by one of the large family’s crude uncles. Furthermore, the movie traces the escape of the malicious AI program to the U.S. military, which bought the program from [spoiler alert] Natsuki’s adoptive uncle, the black sheep of her family. SUMMER WARS also has some strong cartoon violence, with some cartoon blood. For instance, the “avatars” in the virtual computer world can fight each other. One of Natsuki’s cousins runs a computer avatar, a two-legged white rabbit dressed in a red Coast Guard jacket, which has a martial arts fight with the evil AI program, which has grown in size to look like a muscle-bound kickboxer. At one point, Kenji gets a very bloody nose and faints. Finally, the plot problem at the end is solved partly by gambling with the villain over a card game.