Memories, a film by Katsuhiro Otomo, was unavailable in the US for a long time due the high cost of the film rights. I’m a big fan of Otomo’s work so when Memories was finally released in the US I had to watch it. Unfortunately, it’s something that could have waited.
As with any anthology the stories in Memories are variable in quality. The first segment, Magnetic Rose from director Kouji Morimoto, is a somewhat lackluster piece. While the scenes of the decaying ship, its vast hallways of decaying machinery, dresses falling to pieces when they are touched, holographic gardens and vineyards etc. are visually stunning that’s all that stunned me. Although Otomo has an extraordinary vision with visuals he is not that strong when it comes to the story and Magnetic Rose suffers because of it. There were times were I was wondering what was happening, did the diva kill her husband or not? And who built this vast entombed monument? Suffice to say I was disappointed.
After the stunningly arty visuals of Magnetic Rose there was Stink Bomb, from director Tensai Okamura. Stink Bomb is a complete change of tone, pretty much making it into a comedy. The piece is about a biotech worker that mistakingly takes the wrong pill, only to make him into a walking biohazard killing everyone that comes near him. The scenes with squadrons of helicopters, Navy vessels and tanks all lining up to blow to pieces a nerdish executive riding along on a motor scooter is rather funny. This has the most Otomo look to its characters and I found this to be the best out of the three.
The Katsuhiro Otomo directed segment, Cannon Fodder, is surprisingly the weakest of the film. The piece is of a world centered around the construction and firing of giant cannons. It’ has no real plot, the concept is all there really is to it, with the segment not even really having a punchline. This was the most disappointing piece of all for me.