Remember My Love
by Mason Proulx
Director for the later half of Urusei Yatsura's TV episodes, Kazuo Yamazaki claimed that he initially could not get the hang of directing movies until later in his career. I can understand a little of what he means by watching this movie that he directed. Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love is a very enjoyable film, but it lacks any cinematic ambition and plays more like an extended "very special episode" of the TV show. A great-looking episode, but one without much substance.
Not to say that I hold that against Yamazaki. While the other movies wanted to prove themselves artistically, not every movie has to move mountains. Some movies are just simple popcorn entertainment and in that respect UY3 succeeds very well. It set out to make fans happy and make more money from the franchise. That's what it achieved. Like the first two films, this movie was also well recieved at the box office.
Yes the first two were better, but I'll try not to make comparisons and say that as a companion to the TV show, this was a pretty good film. It has most of what a UY movie should have. The animation was nicely done, the story was pretty interesting, lots of the usual UY antics. The character designs are great, but that's just because they were taken from the TV show at the time. For most fans who haven't been lucky enough to see the later episodes, this is their only glimpse to how the designs look when UY was in it's prime (quality-wise).
It's an entertaining bit of celluloid, but I still had a problem with this movie that kept me from surrenduring to the experience. The movie, I find tries to hit specific emotional notes, and fails at it. The animators try really hard to pull on the audience's heartstrings. It starts off as a mildly comical romp, but soon it turns into a huge weepy and sentimental journey. But as I just said, it tries too hard. It's not dramatic or poignant, just syrupy and sappy. My mind usually rejects a film when I feel like it's trying to force me to cry. Watching such movies, my mind puts up a wall of cynicism that keeps me from fully enjoying what's on screen.
While there are always some sad or romantic moments in Urusei Yatsura, this movie tried to stretch it to the point where I didn't always find the portrayals believable. Urusei Yatsura is supposed to be a comedy. Even at its most serious it has plenty of laughs to relieve the tension. This movie had hardly any laughs at all. Even the humorous bits don't do much more than register a smile of recognition. None of the hilarity that the series became known for. Instead it hijacks the proceedings with so much contrived sentiment, that it's really hard to buy.
I'm talking this way, but the truth is that I really enjoyed it and have since watched the movie several times. But I accept it's flaws. I give it my reccomendation, but not wholeheartedly. If you're an Urusei Yatsura fan you'll definately enjoy it. Anyone who isn't already commited to to the franchise will probably think it's okay, and will forget about it in time.