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Tzung-I Lin <email@example.com>
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Wings of Honneamise is what you'd call a work of "higher" science fiction; just like the fantasy genre is divided into swords-and-sorcery books (such as the Dragonlance series or the crap David Eddings writes - sorry, couldn't help myself) and more mature writings, such as A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le-Guin and the works of Lord Dunsany and J.R.R. Tolkien, so the SF genre can be divided into "higher" and "lower" SF. Lower SF consists of large ships, big lasers, mechas, and is epitomized in the works of Edward "Doc" Smith, George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy and most animes out there. Higher science fiction, in my eyes, ,means Philip K. Dick, Stanislaw Ulam, and Wings of Honneamise, or WOH for short.
WOH focuses on man's first attempt to launch a manned satellite into orbit around the earth; only it's not our earth, but rather a similar parallel world. The space program is ridiculed by almost everybody, including the main hero, until he meets a religious young woman who changes his mind. We follow the hero's training for the program and watch as he slowly matures from the apathetic dropout he begins out as.
This movie is about a lot of things: war, religion, politics, courage, friendship and more. It's much more than a "man goes to space" sort of film, like "Apollo 13" (starring Tom Hanks) is.
The depth and realism of this movie is astounding. During one scene where there's an explosion and water flies everyway, you can notice a rainbow in the background, which fades as the water scatters. The world is highly detailed and even the physics is correct (I always suspend belief when watching SF movies, but this one does a good job of getting the science right, as opposed to almost every other movie).
The weakest part of this movie is the music. It's well written but poorly executed in parts - it's always embarrassing to hear 1987 synthesizers attempt to mimic orchestral instruments. Ugh.
Regarding the rape scene, which seems to upset so many people: this can be understood based on her faith. Blaming Shirotsugh would on the part of Requinni (I hope the name is spelled that way) be admitting that even as he goes to the stars man is imperfect, an admission she is not willing to make. So instead she decides to take the blame on herself. The scene is unrealistic perhaps in today's PC America, but Requinni is anything but today's PC America. Whether or not it suits the tastes of the viewer - that's another question.
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