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STEAMBOY (PG-13) (2004)

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Official Site

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo

Producers: Shinji Komori, Hideyuki Tomioka

Written by: Sadayuki Murai, Katsuhiro Otomo

Cast: Kiyoshi Kodama, Manami Konishi, David S. Lee, Katsuo Nakamura, Masatane Tsukayama, Anne Suzuki

Rating:


Review from 2004 Austin Film Festival:

Steamboy has been in development for more than a decade. The film is Katsuhiro Otomo’s first anime feature since he directed the legendary Akira, which was released in 1988. The film was shown at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX with the original Japanese language track and English subtitles. If and when you are lucky enough to watch Steamboy, you might be able to surmise why a mere cartoon takes a lot of time to complete. Otomo-sama’s latest work is a grand, epic adventure tale—not unlike a tentpole, overly expensive summer flick from Disney. However, Steamboy, with all its beautiful hand-drawn, two-dimensional, steam-punk glory, possesses something intangible that its Western counterparts lack.

The story is set in Victorian England, when STEAM (!) was the main source of machine power. Lloyd Steam (Katsuo Nakamura) and his son Eddy (Masatane Tsukayama) have, at great cost, created a new device called the steamball. The limits of machinery that the steamball can power equal only those of the human imagination (good and bad). So naturally, everyone—British military and the O’Hara Foundation, represented in the movie by the bratty young girl, Scarlett (Manami Konishi)— wants the machine. That’s a pretty blatant reference there by Otomo-sama. Lloyd Steam believes only in scientific progress and creation even though doing so causes more danger and inevitably leads to his son joining the enemies. In the middle of the conflict is Ray (Anne Suzuki), son and grandson to Eddy and Lloyd. Ray is unwittingly thrust into the confrontation of science vs. the military and his loyalty is torn between two relatives. That said, Steamboy suffers a bit from a horrendously long and drawn-out third act that features exciting sequences but appears overdone. Nevertheless, the Japanese anime industry continues to uphold the truth that 2-D animation is still worthwhile and more valid than CG shit like Shark Tale.

“The world will be saved by STEAM!”

—Professor Steamhead

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



none now
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