Thursday, August 21, 2008

Metropolis review

In a future world, a detective from Japan and his nephew, Kimichi arrive in the advanced city of Metropolis filled with robots and advanced technology, looking for a criminal. Incidentally, Kimichi discovers Tima, an advanced robot who secretly was funded to be the key to Metropolis. Being pursued by gun toting enemies and lost in a huge city, the two of them must discover the mystery behind their newfound friend.

The film’s stunning animation is a double-edged sword. The seamless blend of 2D foreground and 3D environments is one of the best displays of computer animation in recent film. Countless intricate details are added from panning overviews of the city to the tiny particles of wireworks. It doesn’t simply feel like they’ve crafted the locations for the backgrounds of the scenes, but they have created an actual, living, breathing world. The problem is the story never feels quite up to par with the animation.

While the plot is not wholly satisfying, there are plenty of specific scenes that shine. Character moments between Tima and Kimichi and Rocket’s involvement as the main antagonist were a blast. They just didn’t come together as a whole.

The soundtrack of Toshiyuki Honda’s jazz and the use of a Ray Charles song at a key moment were both fantastic. They added to the light atmosphere ranking up there with Yoko Kanno’s Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. The action scenes with the catchy upbeat jazz really were almost the highlights of the film had it not been for the ending scene that was impossible not to love. The music and animation make this film.

Metropolis hits you hard with emotion at the end and feels a bit uneven, but it still works decently. With characters breaking away from usual anime standards and astounding technical achievement, Metropolis is a suitable introduction for newcomers to the genre and a refreshing take for seasoned anime fans.


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