Saturday, May 28, 2005

Steamboy (2004)

Ooo, he's holding a nice steamer!

Genre: Action Adventure Sci-Fi Thriller Animé (Japan)

Starring: Robin Atkin Downes, Patrick Stewart (X-Men; Dune)

Directed By: Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Akira; Memories)

Overview: In 1866 England, we follow a family of inventors ready to unveil (unleash?) their new trinkets upon an unsuspecting London

Acting: The voices weren't subtitled, so we got a much better sense of the voice acting, but with such people as Patrick Stewart leading the fray, it's pretty spectacular regardless. Just enough of the dramatic without going overboard and the bad guys had great subtle, withdrawn, calculating "bad guy" voices.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: This was directed by the same person who did Akira, my favorite animé. I thought Akira's special computer effects were great because they were still heavily focused on the cell style but with a touch of the neat effects that can only come from computer animation. Well 14 years later, the technology is even better and the animation is astounding. Over and over I was blown away by the familiar style that I love in perfect union with computer generated zoom outs, pans and backgrounds. This is absolutely gorgeous to watch, especially if you like big industrial steam-powered machines with complex revolving parts, which is totally my thing.
Rating: 9

Script: The writing was good overall with the three members of the family each having their perspective on science, each explaining it very well, but it was a little preachy from time to time. That little girl, however, was a terrific caricature of American Snobbery, and did a great job adding her unrealistic approach to the fray, whereas the villains were pretty intimidating in their dialogue. Nice touch.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story's a good one. We have this mysterious invention that can worlk miracles, and the son of the inventors slowly uncovers it's secrets while having to contend with differing opinions of what this should all be used for by his father and grand-father. Yes, the ending ran a little long, but animé can do that from time to time, since it doesn't cost any more to blow something up (or several somethings on an epic scale) than it does to have someone talking. It would have been nice having the end shortened a little (really we get the point), but good story.
Rating: 7

Mood: The sci-fi futuristic 1866 world of flying machines and steam-powered weaponry is gorgeous to me and everything hisses and belches smoke, whirrs mechanically and it's all so industrial and intricate. I really got a big kick out of this; really original, I mean all those crazy inventions! Wow!
Rating: 9

"Oopsie, my bad!"

Overall Rating: 80% (Steamin' Hot!)

Aftertaste: I feel bad that I fell asleep there for 10 minutes, I was out shopping all day and I want to see this again with someone who's into this sort of thing, and soon. It was great, and I was certainly not disappointed (still no Akira though :P)