Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Beautiful Washing Machine

Sometimes it pays to give the video stores here a complete look-around. You never know what you might find. Lately, there have been some surprising finds for me, especially when I thought all they ever carry are popular Hollywood titles and Asian tearjerkers and soppy love stories. Imagine my complete shock when I saw the DVD of Bubble Fiction: Boom Or Bust.

Mr Nutshell who was at the Hong Kong International Film Festival last year, reported that tickets for Bubble Fiction were sold out, and the positive reviews it got kind of had me fascinated. After all, one of my favourite time travel movies is Back To The Future, and Bubble Fiction is reportedly heavily inspired by Robert Zemeckis' film.

Known in its Japanese title as Bubble E Go!: Machine Wa Drum Shiki, the movie is very silly but very entertaining at the same time. It's one of the very few DVDs that I've had a barrel of fun watching. Very simply, it's about Mayumi, a debt-ridden young girl, who discovers that her mother is actually a brilliant inventor who has gone back to 90s Japan in a time-machine she created. Mayumi is then recruited by the Ministry Of Finance to travel to the 90s too, to rescue her mom and also the Japanese economy which will go bust because of an incident that happens in 1990.

Much has been said about how the movie is a real nostalgic trip for the Japanese, who fondly remember the time when Japan was at its economic height, and life was one big party. But even if you're not familiar with that background, Bubble Fiction can still be enjoyed for its various culture shock moments. Mayumi discovers her mobile phone is useless in the 90s, and that her bump-and-grind style of dancing and hipster jeans are a real shocker for the people there. Of course, it's even better if you're familiar with some of the pop icon cameos in the film, such as Ijima Naoko and former J-Leaguer Ramos Ruy.

Sure, it borrows heavily from BTTF, and it isn't really concerned with the scientific nitty-gritty of time-travel (what do you expect when the time-machine is a yellow Hitachi washing-machine!), but it has enough of an endearing story that it can hold its own.

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