The Violinist of Hamelin: The Movie
In a world of chaos dominated by ogres and undead, one group of heroes has emerged to save the day. Hamelin, the violinist, and his companions must save a young princess from the villainous Medusa with their wits, their bravery, the magic of music, and the power of motherly love. Or something like that.
Take everything you know about the TV series. Find a plastic bag. Put in garbage. Turn on compactor. This is not your angsty Violinist, but something completely different.
The very concept of Violinist of Hamelin just seems silly to begin with. I mean, people lugging huge orchestral instruments to use to fight the bad guys. Suuure. Yeah. Uh-huh. This movie takes the silly potential of that concept and multiplies it exponentially.
So, in this movie, Hamelin uses his cello, err, violin, to turn Flute into a giant robot (!) to bash the enemies, only the collapse the entire level of the dungeon they're in. In another scene, he turns two of the characters into lost puppies to appeal to the monsters' sense of pity. ("Aww...this poor lost puppy in the rain...I've gotta take him in," says the undead minion of Medusa.) Consistently the cast is shown to be incompetent and possibly totally insane, especially considering Hamelin's heavy streaks of gluttony and lechery that we didn't quite see in the TV series. Flute is a violent maniac (Akane, anyone?) who is as much instigator as victim. And Sizer (I'm sure he's supposed to be "Scyther", actually)...well, he looks really cool, but he rarely gets to show off his talents before inevitably falling to one of Hamelin's stunts. (Literally.)
The music, the Dragon Half-like pacing, the screechy dialogue...it's classic slapstick at its best, and it's a parody that is refreshing after the increasingly depressing tone of the TV series. This is what Hamelin looks like it should be, and it works wonders.
Of course, anyone who sees this and thinks it's the "real" Violinist of Hamelin will be in for a shock when they see the TV series, which is pointedly NOT comedy. Many people have been confused by the dichotomy between the lighthearted, silly movie and the almost painfully tragic TV series, and in fact, a lot of fans don't know that they're the SAME SERIES! But then again, they're the same series in the same sense that Pretty Sammy is in the same series as Tenchi Muyo in Love, or SD Gundam and Gundam Wing are in the same series as Gundam 0080 War in the Pocket and Char's Counterattack. Americans, in particular, aren't used to seeing creators lampoon their own creations (SD Law and Order, anyone?), but the Violinist of Hamelin movie is but one of many occurrences of this happening. And it's one of the better ones, too.
So whether you found the Violinist of Hamelin TV series to be inspiring or depressing, the movie will lift your spirits and give you a good laugh, at the expense of the same characters you've just seen suffer through existential angst. Ain't it great?
Humor that'll keep even fans totally ignorant of the TV series glued to the screen. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Well, there's undead beasties, kidnappings, threats of death, and petrifications. But with the sense of disbelief that pervades this movie, those are really nothing to worry about for those above the age of six. Maybe a bit of rough language on Hamelin's part (he's a real lout in this movie), but nothing too objectionable on the whole. About equivalent to Slayers, so older children and above would enjoy it.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (1/1)
The Violinist of Hamelin: The Movie © 1996 Watanabe Michiaki / Enix / Pony Canyon / Adex
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