SUMMER TIME MACHINE BLUES
(Sama Taimu Mashin Burusu)
The film locates the time travel adventure within the environs of a high school/university, an area that Japanese cinema loves to set its youth films around. It is not that other filmmakers who pay homage to Back to the Future havent had similar ideas of locating a time travel film inside a high school/university setting see the substantially less interesting Disney tv movie Minutemen (2008). The basic idea of the time conundrum served up here draws more on the latter half of Back to the Future Part II (1989) than it does Back to the Future per se, which had the established characters running around the events of the first film trying to avoid themselves and set events aright. This does the same and in even cleverer ways. Unlike Back to the Future Part II, there is not a pre-established first work to play off so the film becomes an extremely clever playing out of the characters from one day in the future trying to avoid their past selves to set things straight and prevent the entire continuum from collapsing.
This Summer Time Machine Blues does with an attention to continuity and detail that has you bursting our clapping at its cleverness by the end. Indeed, the end of the film comes with so many little additional throwaway gags and twists that keep being added after the main day has been won that it is positively hilarious. The various conundrums how Eita becomes one day older than all the others, the explanation of the Kappa, Yoshiaki Yozas missing Vidal Sassoon shampoo, and especially the way the professor works out the convoluted timeline of the remote control and how it is essential to everything is positively side-splitting. Everything comes together with a good deal of effortless and extremely good-natured humour. This is the sort of enormously clever, wildly entertaining and above all plot-driven type of film that Hollywood has forgotten how to make.
Director Katsuyuki Motohiro was previously most associated with the hit crime film Bayside Shakedown (1998), which has spawned a number of sequels. Motohiro also made the comedy Udon (2006), as well as several other genre entries such as the telepathy film Satorare (2001), the martial arts comedy Shaolin Girl (2008) and Go Find a Psychic! (2009).
Trailer here (in Japanese, no subs):-