One from the re watch pile…
Cutey Honey (2004)
Film: I was too old to like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when it first hit Australian televisions, and yet somehow I did. When it first appeared on television I was working in a job where I was home early enough to watch it, and I guess I loved it as it tapped into my love of ‘uniformed hero teams’ like Fantastic Four and the Thunderbirds, and started a love of Sentai that remains to this day.
With the new Power Rangers film out, I’ve been hit again by Sentai fever and have been watching the original MMPR on Netflix, and due to a bad influence who love anime and manga at work, have started getting back into Japanese movies, comics and cartoons again.
One thing I decided I needed to revisit was this film, Cutey Honey, a live action film based on the manga (and subsequent anime) of artist Go Nagai directed by another anime director, Hideaki Anno, best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion, and who created a new type of special effects for this film, ‘Honeymation’ which combined single photos of the cast which is then turned into ‘live’ anime sequences for effect, giving birth to another term created for this film, Digital Comic Cinema.
This movie tells the tale of Cutey Honey (Eriko Sato), an android copy of a human who has special powers which she uses in her fight against the forces of Sister Jill (Eisuke Sakai) and his (her?) villainous gang of thugs Panther Claw. Cutey Honey gets some help, though, from a cute young police officer, desperate to prove herself, Nat-chan (Mikako Ichihawa) and a reporter, Seiji Hayami (Jun Murakami), but will their combined skill be enough to thwart the baddies?
It’s a bizarre film, even by Japanese standards, with completely over the top villains and crazy events that only make sense within the confines of the film. If you tried to describe the events, I imagine people who watch ‘normal’ films either wouldn’t believe you or would suggest you accidentally ingested horse tranquillisers.
Japanese model Erika Sato is no doubt an exquisite beauty, but in this her acting range extends all the way from sad faced covergirl to squealing excitable sexpot. Actually, the squealing in this film is so frequent, sometimes I felt like I was at a 14 year old girl’s birthday party at a bowling alley, but she is something special, and the camera loves her! Unfortunately, unlike the anime, there are no flashes of nudity with Cutey Honey activates her powers, though she is frequently seen in her underwear, miniskirts or a garbage bag… yep: a garbage bag.
I should point out that Sato is not the ONLY beauty in this film, Mikako Ichihawa is lovely too, though I wish she smiled more, even though it’s not in her characters range.
The film is a load of fun, and it’s funny too. In an age when most superhero films are dark and depressing, this one has a distinct joy in its story, and the bad guys seem to only exist to be evil, though typically, there seems to be an element of Honey’s origin that’s tied into them. Their costumes are bonkers too, looking like rejects from that old MMPR show.
It is overacted, dumb and fun and you’ll perhaps doubt your sanity for watching it, but it is definitely a spectacle worth trying.
Format: This film was reviewed with the Australian Madman DVD release which is present in an OK 1.78:1 image with a good Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track presented in Japanese with English subtitles. The film runs for approximately 89 minutes.
Extras: There is a decent amount of extras on this disc.
The Making of Cutey Honey is a 20 minute subtitled extra highlighting the cast and production of the film. It’s actually quite funny as it’s like a 60s styled, school aged aimed doco, with a whole pile of dialogue like ‘now Cutey Honey is a police officer… I wouldn’t mind being arrested by her’… I’m actually reading the subtitles in a Troy MacClure styled voice! The subtitles on this are occasionally annoying though as the feature itself has a fair bit of Japanese text on it so finding WHERE to see the subtitles seems to be a chore!
There is a bunch of trailers, from the sneak peak, to the actual trailer and a bunch of TV spots.
My most hated of extras, a stills gallery!
There’s also trailers for other Madman releases: Godzilla, Mothra, Mecha-Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, Please Teacher! and Seven Samurai.
WISIA: It’s cute and dumb fun: yeah I’ll watch it again.