Cast: Kiyoshi Kodama, Manami Konishi, David
S. Lee, Katsuo Nakamura, Masatane Tsukayama, Anne Suzuki
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!”
—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris
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...