Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fantasia 2015 Film Review - Assassination Classroom

The story starts with a confrontation between the Japanese Army and an unseen  the films opening a monster that had already destroyed the moon leaving only a crescent then headed to earth. Among the monster's supernatural features are multiple razor sharp tentacles and the ability to move at Mock 20. The visitor's next target is planet Earth itself.  However liking a challenge the monster (Koro Sensei)  is willing to teach a middle school class. If they train their skills and are able to kill him he would be a gracious looser and the earth would be saved. The worlds nations agree to let Japan handle the situation and the reward for the students if they can kill Koro Sensei is 10 billion yen.

The 3-E class name the monster U.T. for unkillable teacher. U.T. is determined to teach the class all subjects as he made a secret promise. The student are trained by Kadomini Karsura (Kippei Shiina) from the Ministry of Defence. Since they are middle school students they are given weapons that are not harmful to humans but lethal to U.T.  The other professional assigned to the class is Irina Jelavic an seasoned assassin herself who's always looking for an opportunity to strike.  Each day of class begins with attendance. The students grab weapons, prepare strategy and have the opportunity to attempt to assassinate U.T.   The period normally ends with U.T. pleased that everyone is present then the alien announces the number of hits on his person for the day.  After roll call is complete its on to the days lessons.

Director Elichiro Hasumi presents a story based on a complex Japanese Magna. The premise is fantastical but writer Tatsuwa Kansawa balances action, comedy and the scenes of violence in the right mix. The characters include an autonomous robot and an ultra violent student with  U.T's tentacle mutation but the film absorbs these elements and outside of the regimented time for violence the story really is about a bond between a beloved teacher and group of middle school student that were the laughing stock of the school until they found a dedicated teacher to motivated them.

The ensemble cast turn in credible performances. The reluctant leader Nagisa Shiota (Ryosuke Yamada) is constantly taking notes on U.T. and uses a quiet timid approach to outwit a seasoned military opponent in a challenge. He has a crush on a girl in a gifted class whose rank means that she should have nothing to do with the flunkies in 3-E. His foil is Karuma Akabane (Masaki Suda) who was kicked out of a higher class for defending a bullied student. He is smart, resourceful aloof, arrogant and loyal.

Assassination Classroom is successful in the attempt to bring a challenging Manga to screen. The narrative is strong and the production has a solid message on the true reason for teaching. Director Hasumi does a credible job with difficult material avoiding the potential pitfalls and the possibility of the material drifting into the absurd.  The young actors turn in strong performances working in an arena of green screens and stand in props that undoubtably needed a lot of post production work. It's a film that I can recommend.

*** Out of 4

Assassination Classroom | Elichiro Hasumi | Japan | 2015 | 110 Minutes.

Tags: Alien Monster, Middle School, Assassins, Department of Defenese, Revenge, Loyalty, Education.

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