Summer Wars
(Sama uozu)

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda.
With Ryunosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba, Mitsuki Tanimura.
Japan, 2009, DCP, color, 114 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
DCP source: Gkids

Hosoda formats many films into one surprising, ever-transforming creation linking the ancient past, strong family bonds, math skills and the pain of adolescence to a high-tech present where a Google-like “OZ” runs the virtual mainframe of the globe. Just as the awkward computer whiz Kenji is coerced into joining the popular, pretty Natsuki at her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration out in the country, the AI-created intelligent virus “Love Machine” takes over the all-powerful OZ, and Kenji is a prime suspect. As the family watches sports, plays card games, eats, laughs, fights, and confronts old wounds together, drama escalates at every scale in both physical and virtual reality, which, like the theaters of the family and the world, Hosoda proves to be inextricably linked: all of them disconnecting and coming back together like a complex strand of DNA coursing through a tale in which the dynamic animation matches that of the emotion. Building suspense in the vein of WarGames, here it is not just a few, but the many and their individual, idiosyncratic strengths on which all of civilization comes to depend.
Age recommendation: 12+

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