Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ANI-MOVIES, *Steamboy

Katsuhiro Otomo decided to go from cyberpunk with Akira to steampunk in this adventurous epic. The movie had the mild cost of over 25 million dollars, and was in production for well over a decade. Even though it didn't really make the kind of impact that Otomo's previous works did, it is still a compelling film.

Set in the 1860s, Ray Steam(yes, his last name is Steam!)is the prodigal son of the steamologist, Edward. Edward and his genius father Lloyd have spent the last few years developing a highly compressed form of energy in a containment called a Steamball. Lloyd sends it to Ray for safe keeping from the conniving O'Hara Foundation, of which Edward has alligned himself with. Ray eventually gets kidnapped by the O'Hara thugs, and confront his father, along with the very bratty Scarlett O'Hara. He makes of with the Steamball, and tries to seek help from Edward's rival, Robert Stephenson(based on the actual scientist). However, Stephenson wants to use it to fight Edward and the O'Hara Foundation who have created a giant steam-powered flying fortress called the Steam Castle. The castle begins to assualt London during the Great Exhibition, which leads to some great battle sequences between the O'Hara and Stephenson forces, with steam-powered tanks, battlesuits, airplanes, and submarines. Ray uses the Steamball to create a portable rocket, and flies into the castle to stop his father, and rescue Lloyd and Scarlett. Ray gets Scarlett away before the castle eventually falls, although both Lloyd and Edward apparently surivived according to the montage during the closing credits.

Steamboy is one of the shining examples of steampunk's influence on anime, more so than some Miyazaki movies like Howl's Moving Castle. It incorporates some of the best from the genre including the outlandish 19th Century technology and the bounding spirit found in the works of Mark Twain and Jules Verne. Now, the major faults with that though are it spends too much time debating on the morals of science and what it should be used for. The time they waste showing Lloyd and Edward arguing over philosophy alone would've taken at least thirty minutes off the movie. The other problem is that it's a little longer than necessary, and seems like it seriously lost alot of its direction during the last act. It does however leave a bold mark in the annuals of animation, and worth checking out at least for some exhilirating visuals. Very recommended for fans of children's literature

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