Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Metropolis: anime by Osamu Tezuka

Remember that feeling you get when you come across a book or a movie that you never heard about but turns out to be damn entertaining? Well that happened to me over the weekend. Every now and then I get a notice about new offering on the streaming service called Crackle. Well I started digging around in the anime section and I came across Metropolis - anime? Huh?
Here is what the Wikipedia has to say about it:
  • Metropolis is a 2001 anime film and loosely based on the 1949 Metropolis manga created by the late Osamu Tezuka, itself inspired by the 1927 German silent film of the same name
Directed by Rintaro and Written by Katsuhiro Otomo. Running time 113 minutes

The cover didn't resemble the posters I had seen of the Fritz Lang version, but I was intrigued. So I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised.

Metropolis is a futuristic city but much in the way it would be if you smashed Blade Runner with Metropolis of Lang's 20s art deco style. Humans and robots exist in this world but robots are discriminated against, not allow to the city's upper level.

The ruler of Metropolis is Duke Red. Red has put everything the city can muster into this super project call Ziggurat. Secretly he has a scientist Laughton to secretly build a humanoid robot to be the controller of the Ziggurat. The final major players (there are quite a few very important players, but I don't want to give too much away.) id Japanese investigator Shunsaku and his nephew Kenichi have come to Metropolis to arrest Laughton on trafficking in human parts and finally Tima the humanoid robot that Laughton builds for Duke who awakens not knowing she is a robot.

Kenichi and Tima spend most of the movie avoiding one group or another that would kill Tima to prevent her from carrying out the task that Duke Red had her constructed for.

In a weird kind of way it parallels the silent movie of the same name, in others it honest anime moral tale. The animation style is more the 20th century than what we have come to expect from animation anime at the end of the first decade of the 21st. But it does have its own charm and is about as far away as you can get from the inspiration as was say the anime version of Witchblade I reviewed last week.

I would check it out if for no other reason than to see a reasonably good anime feature.


Dave Tackett said...

Saw it years ago. I agree you about it though. Not a great film, but pretty good. I did find the last third or so of the movie much more poignant then the first 2/3 which dragged a bit.

There are some great AMVs (Anime music videos) featuring scenes from this one.

Beam Me Up said...

Yep, you nailed it. The last 1/3 makes watching the first 2/3 of the movie. Poignant was a word I was trying to stay away from but overall I think it is an apt description. No surprises but it does pin prick where ya live I guess.

Anime music videos? I have seen compilations of video extracts for shows like Bleach but nothing quite like what I would call music videos.. that is interesting.