I just watched the anime film, "The Sky Crawlers," and it was fairly intense. I don't mean this in terms of action though. I would not recommend this to anyone who is looking for action at all (although there are intense action sequences). This film takes a bit of commitment to watch because the pacing is slow and I just KNOW a lot of people will be bored with it. This film is also not for your average audience and should probably only be watched by mature minded viewers. With that said, for whoever's remaining, this movie will offer something really intelligent and deep, filled with philosophical ideas and drama.
The story deals with Kildren, people who are manufactured and never grow up physically. They're used as pawns in a game-like war run by business. When one of them dies, they're replaced by another just like them. Because of that, everyone seems to force a detached attitude towards things. "Why bother growing up when we're just going to die anyway?" As the story progresses, the sense of meaninglessness becomes very prominent. The mood and atmosphere become really heavy, probably to the point of depressing. The characters start to question their fate, and wonder if anything can be done. It gets really heartbreaking though, as the characters struggle to find meaning for themselves.
The film definitely has some social commentary behind it. There are a lot of themes to explore, such as the desire of "being a kid forever" and struggling against a society that fosters that type of growth. It definitely goes with the Buddhist mentality of rebirth. The film was based after a novel, and it makes me interested in reading it.
This film really hit me, because I share a lot of the same mentalities with the characters. "Why should we do anything when things are meaningless anyway?" It seems almost creepy.... because something along the same lines of what I said to my friend yesterday was repeated in the film. "Keep going... until we can change something."
The animation, story, and music are all top notch.. The music is especially haunting, since it's from Kenji Kawai. I first heard his music when I watched Vampire Princess Miyu as a kid, and I could instantly recognize his style.
The Sky Crawlers is really "heavy," and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.