The Door into Summer

[4 stars] [IMDB Link] [The Door into Summer]

When I reported on J. Storrs Hall's recent book Where Is My Flying Car? last month, I found it interesting to compare the IMDB writing credits for Robert A. Heinlein versus Philip K. Dick. And noticed a relatively new Heinlein adaptation: a Japanese version of The Door into Summer! One of my favorite Heinlein books! And it was available on Netflix!

Yes, I might have preferred a slightly more faithful adaptation. But this is 80% of the way there. And it's way better than the dreck Hollywood churned out under the Starship Troopers brand.

Brilliant young inventor Soichiro (tragic backstory) toils away on his groundbreaking work in robotics. It's going fine; he has a beautiful fiancée, a partner handling the business end of things, a devoted 17-year-old stepsister, Riko, and a great cat, "Pete". Who hates Japan's winters, and demands Soichiro open every door to the outside, as he searches for one that will get him back to warmer weather.

I'm confessing right here: that last bit misted me up a tad. Even in subtitles.

Anyway: Fiancée and Partner turn out to be conspiring to go for the quick buck, forcing Soichiro out of the business and swiping his ideas. When he gets obstreperous, they drug him, and send him into a 30-year "cold sleep". When he awakes, he acquires an android buddy named … Pete?! What a coincidence!

No it's not.

Soichiro tries to track down Riko, with disappointing results. His efforts to find out what happened only get him more confused, but he eventually concocts on an audacious scheme… well, no further spoilers.

Consumer note: I'm not sure how much sense this movie will make to someone who hasn't practically memorized Heinlein's book.

Fun fact: Heinlein's 1956 novel was originally set in 1970, with his protagonist sleeping-forward to the far future of … 2000! The movie goes from 1995 to 2025, and assumes we'll have lifelike AI androids by that date. Yeah, well, maybe in Japan.