I am pretty behind with my #AniTwitWatches posts, so that’s what this week will be. A great catch up to a lot of the cool things I and a lot of other people talked about through Twitter Threads. This is Jon Spencer’s constantly running event. At this moment, they are going through Kanon (2006) and are still in the beginning stages. I quit, so… The event just started after all, so join in on the fun right here if you want to. For now, let’s talk about Princess and the Pilot. A movie that I watched and enjoyed a while ago, but didn’t return the same sorts of thoughts and feelings this time around. I haven’t had a lot of experiences like this yet, so it’s interesting to examine why.
The Princess and the Pilot takes place in an alternate universe with two nations at war. Again. The more European, Levamme Empire is fighting against the more technologically advanced and Japanese seeming Amatsukami Imperium. What is the adventure? After the Princess of Levamme is attacked at her royal castle, the best pilot in the area, a half Amatsukami mercenary, is tasked with bringing her across 12,000 km of ocean to her husband to be. It’s the meeting of two people usually forced and held into positions in society allowed a moment of freedom to finally expressive themselves in solitude. A very simple story, but one that can be interesting if done correctly.
Our protagonist is Charles Kristino, a half Amatsukami young adult who has lived most of his life on the streets due to racism. Going into aviation was the only choice in his life that led to his personal freedomin small moments. The sky doesn’t discriminate even if the powers that allow him to fly are. In the copilot seat is the Princess, Juana Del Moral. A person that even at the highest point of society, is being forced to marry someone else. That traveling across the ocean is an eye-opening experience for her because she actually experiences something even if she wasn’t meant to. While Charles disappears in the end, Juana still pushes for peace as a result. Juana’s growing strength is a highlight of the movie.
So, the story is built on a lot of strong themes and character interactions. There is a cheesiness to the story from the increasing level of danger that pushes the two together. Juana slowly takes the courage to not just sit there and actually fire the gun in the back while Charles recovers from his wounds and keeps the plane flying. It’s pretty classic and standard story stuff which The Princess and the Pilot does well. There is nothing wrong with a basic and cheesy storyline in that scenario, it’s just a little unambitious is all. What isn’t cheesy and handled in a realistic manner is how Charles is treated. After reading so many texts for my racism class this semester I can’t help but feel like how it was treated was completely accurate. Damn.
To take away points away from this movie, I think it’s too long. The Princess and the Pilot should have been 90 minutes instead of two hours long. It would have more impact if it was long enough justify its length. In and out with a very powerful message. Instead, this film seeks to embolden the relationship between Charles and Juana a little too much. Apparently, Charles used to stay at the castle and his mother took care of Juana as a kid. It is something that sounds good on paper, but doesn’t add anything meaningful to the story at all. I am a person that feels like two people from different sides of the tracks could just meet. Let’s be honest here, there is such a thing as too much and The Princess and the Pilot hit that mark.
I do like how great this film looks. A lot of the visuals tell the story for us. The story takes place in a very European setting, so I can’t help but find that boring though. So that’s the weakest point, great but bland visuals. The character designs at least give people a designated country of origin work which it needed to function. What really sells it are the flying machines. The Akamatsukami flying ships are a bit ridiculous, but I love seeing them. Same with their airplanes and pilots. Pilots that don’t say much through words, but through actions. The main selling point is the two-seater scout plane Charles and Jauna are on. We know everything about it from how the two live in it for three days. What its compartments hold, how it recharges using the ocean water and such. Very cool things.
So yeah, The Princess and the Pilot is an ok film. It’s not the most amazing thing and it’s weighed down by a lot of things. That being said, it is a very soft and enjoyable watch. A good central premise, some good dog fights, and it’s meaningful in a lot of ways as well. Other than that, it’s just kind of there and due to that fact, doesn’t stand out at all. It doesn’t mean that much in regards to its existence. If you do watch it, which I think people should still, then I think you are still in for a good time while it’s on. A short time afterwards, it might slip your mind. I think that’s why it didn’t stand out to me as much this time. It showed just how much it exists and nothing more to me.