Funky Forest (2005) by Katsuhito Ishii tells the interweaving story about a group of teenagers during a visit by strange aliens. Directed by one of the minds behind the animation in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, featuring actors Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim) Tadanobu Asano (Thor) and a cameo by Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Funky Forest is a movie that does funk like nothing you’ve seen before. Part sci-fi, part musical, Funk Forest is a Pulp Fiction-like tube of episodic commercial adventures with the technical specs of a self-flush toilet and the heart of a sweet potato. It is Uzumaki blended in a protein smoothie with Assassination Classroom while channeling surfing the galactic tv in Rick and Morty. A lab experiment of random curiosities of events will have you scratching your head in the best possible way.
While the alien imagery in the film is infamous for its sexual nature (if you haven’t seen one of its many clips on Youtube already) believe it or not there is real heart behind the madness. Funky Forest is a representation of the human condition at its most surreal. Most fantasy sci fi musicals can be too dark, but Funky Forest does it just right. The alien symbolism in the movie poke fun at the need to procreate because men cannot have children. Bittersweet is the need to find a partner and the various ways we cope with our biological needs that a good amount of organic terror and mindless humor are compared to our day to day sleep walk states. A good getaway for anyone who has ever been in a bad relationship or struggled in school to say the very least.
Like peas in a pod from a great funky tree, Funky Forest says we have a lot more in common than we’d think. We should celebrate our biology and chemistry for all its worth. It is the little things in life like dance and song that unite us all, whether friend or alien. In the meantime, we should be proud of being alive, and the best way to do that is with the language of body. The little dance numbers in between are the some of the most fun any viewer can have. You have a robot perform, a dance duet, and a symphony of forest DJs all set to some of the strangest soundtrack on this side of the planet. Electronic music, Chinese, jazz and others offer a mixed bag of musical treats in the best possible way.
The movie is perfect for watching at the end of the day and anyone is welcome.