Wednesday, September 1, 2010


So this film was based on a story by the legendary manga creator Osamu Tezuka. It also takes elements from the classic German silent film of the same title, an image from which inspired Tezuka's story in the first place. So it takes from both, but I'm not entirely clear what bits came from each because I haven't seen the movie or read the manga. But anyway, it's about a gigantic, futuristic city that purports to be an amazing place to live but of course is filled with tons of seedy elements eating away at its core. There's a lot of strife between the classes, robots are treated like inferior beings, and there's something going on with the powers that be. It's really not a very original set-up, but they execute on it well enough to get away with it for the most part.

I'll admit to having an issue with the art style for a lot of the film. It's simple and cartoony, and it just doesn't really fit the tone or subject matter of the film very well. It's well animated, sometimes gorgeously so, but I think the character designs could have stood to be a bit more natural. There's even a thing where people's legs thicken as they get closer to their ankles. What the hell is that? Who's ever looked like that? I was mostly used to it before the movie ended, but it's the rare case where an animation's look got in its own way. But I still enjoyed it. The main characters are an interesting group, the mysterious suddenly-appearing girl is well-handled, and the villain is a real son of a bitch. It also features a really great particular scene near the end, with an unexpected musical accompaniment. There's not a whole lot new here, but it's done well enough to keep it pretty watchable for a hundred minutes.

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