WonderCon is nearly here and as you finalize your schedule, I wanted to let you know about a special advanced screening happening Friday March 29th, at 2pm! Eleven Arts is giving attendees an early look at their new film Penguin Highway. Read on for my review.
There is something about the idyllic summer movie that creates a sense of nostalgia – a longing for a simpler time where you can just waste away the summer with your friends. A new anime, Penguin Highway, embodies that vibe. I thought it was funny, quirky, cute, and whimsical! It is family friendly, but for those of us that are not young children, go into the film with your inner child to enjoy this gem.
Penguin Highway focuses on a sleepy, small village around summer time in which penguins start to appear out of nowhere! The film’s protagonist, Aoyama, notices the phenomenon and with his best friend, Uchida, they investigate this mystery. Along the way they team up with Hamamoto who is researching another strange occurrence that just might be connected to the penguins.
There is a lot of mystery that does not get explained but you are not left unsatisfied because the lack of fully knowing is a metaphor for life – you do not always get all the answers. Also, it is on brand for anime to have strange occurrences within the story world, and the viewer goes along for the ride. The film is not exactly about coming of age but it does have that charming childlike wonder. It is also very funny!
Visually, it is stunning! You feel like you are in this world and wish you could actually go to this place. The penguins are adorable and add to the comedy with their antics.
There are moments when you wonder where Aoyama’s parents are while he is wandering all over the place largely unsupervised (he is in 4th grade). However, you do see some of his relationship with his father who encourages studying, experimenting and trying to understand the world around him. Another interesting story element is Aoyama has a unique relationship with a young woman, who he has a crush on, that works at his dentist’s office. She helps guide him to try and understand the penguins’ purpose.
The film promotes children and science. The character of Hamamoto stood out as a cool young researcher that is passionate about her findings and does not want the grownups to steal the children’s discoveries.
If you are looking for a youthful fun adventure, check out Penguin Highway!
Penguin Highway opens in theaters April 12th.
Be sure to check https://www.elevenarts.net/titles/penguin-highway to locate a theater near you!