Shou, a young teenage boy, shows little respect for his mother. His dad works long hours leaving him almost entirely in his mothers hands. After Shou's latest bit of disrespect, he leaves for school unaware that he's about to be seperated from his mother for a very long time. During school a strange tornado-like force appears, whisking the school and its students away to this barren desert. Alone and in strange and mystical place, Shou and his fellow classmates must work together to find a way home. Nobuhiko Obayashi's The Drifting Classroom is a child adventure film in the spirit of The Goonies, but being from the director who made Hausu, it's incredibly bizarre, silly and wildly inventive. A film that would likely be classified in the "So bad it's good" genre, The Drifting Classroom features incredibly cheesy special effects, poor writing, and child performances that are borderline laughable and yet I enjoyed this film. The one thing that cannot be denied about Nobuhiko Obayashi's films is that they are truly unique experiences, with inventive ideas and frantic visuals that certainly had to be created on a shoestring budget. Sure, much of the effects look dreadful by todays standards but Obayashi really does everything in his power from a direction and cinematography standpoint to make the film feel as real as possible, given the subpar special effects. The Drifting Classroom is a cinematic oddity, in that it's a film that possesses conflicting ideas. For example, the film relies heavily on children as its lead characters, yet it has a high body count and while the monsters are cheesy by conventional standards, it would most likely terrify most children. Another odd ancedote about the film is how the school, Kobe International, consists of mostly english speaking students and teachers. At first I thought this was a statement from the director about American Imperialism but as the film progressed I began to suspect the filmmakers simply were trying to reach a broader audience. While The Drifting Classroom is abundantly silly, it's ideas are certainly unique and interesting. We eventually learn that these children are caught in Time itself, living in another dimension from their own. With this discovery, Shou goes through a transformation, being to realize how much he loves and misses his mother. Nobuhiko Obayashi's The Drifting Classroom is certainly not high art, but It's hard to not at least be entertained by the unique experience it presents.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.