Cinema Review: Patema Inverted | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 27th, 2020  

Patema Inverted

Studio: GKIDS
Directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura

Sep 02, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Patema Inverted, the latest work from Time of Eve director Yasuhiro Yoshiura, is built on an intriguing premise – two populations attracted to opposite gravity coming together to discover their shared world – and with enough patience, the audience takes a mind-twisting journey with its two young protagonists. But even when the action takes off, the film is weighed down with cliché dialogue and a villainous-for-villainy-sake antagonist, making the film a drag to watch.

The two civilizations in Patema Inverted are connected top-to-bottom, operating on polar opposite gravities. Neither world is aware of one another, until Patema, the young princess of the underground city, accidentally “falls” into the opposing world, Aiga, and meets Age, an outcast teen who dreams of seeing his world from above. Age saves Patema from tumbling into his sky by hiding her in a shed, yet Izamura, the tyrannical ruler of Aiga, discovers Patema’s existence. Believing that Patema’s kind are descendants of the sinners that had tampered with gravity and fell into the sky, Izamura sets out to capture Patema and hunt down the rest of the “Inverted.”

Yasuhiro Yoshiura gives the fear of falling a whole new dimension as characters plummet into the chasm of blue sky or float up into the underground. The two worlds are so beautifully designed, one cannot wait to find out more – except Patema and Age are such goal-less, archetypical anime teens they hold the story back. Instead, a great amount of time is spent in the shed, name calling (“bat person”, “upside-down”) and arguing over ceiling location, neither asking critical questions, such as: what should we do now? Or, how come your gears also operate on inverse gravity? Izamura finally moves the plot along, but is even more insufferable with his over-the-top egomania, complete with wide, insane eyes. Only when Patema and Age grab hold of one another do they lift the film off, their adventure both wondrous and terrifying – they’re capable of going anywhere, but always with the danger of falling.  If only Patema Inverted’s ambitious concept and dizzying plot twists could be accompanied by characters and dialogue of the same standard, the film could have risen to another level.

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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