Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Steamboy (2004)


After an accident splits his father and grandfather's view on the use of science in the world, young aspiring inventor James Steam (Anne Suzuki) is quickly thrust into an underworld of corporate and government schemes, with a world war as the price.

Often noted as being one of the most expensive anime films ever made, Steamboy is a shockingly safe action/adventure film... something one would not expect to say with the director of Metropolis and Akira behind the scenes.

Basically the movie has all the morality, coherence, and plot development of a Michael Bay action film. The morality gets lost to amazing effects, and intense action sequences, while the character development gets boiled down to a single line. It's huge, exciting, and riddled with explosions, but ultimately nobody is really sure why.

The characters are simple enough to keep you caring, but they are hardly depth driven. While at the same time, the movie suffers from idiotic explosion disorder. Where one can destroy an entire city, but if you show a couple of kids are safe, everything's good for more explosions. At the same time the movie really drags out its plot about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be, just to fill it with more action scenes. To most these are probably all that anyone may need, but it's just not enough.

An exciting visual spectacle that's forgotten as quickly as it starts. The use of steampunk adds a nice visual and creative spin, but it's all for not if the depth isn't there. This is most prevalent in the middle section of the film, as we lay in between the two big action sequences. The characters can't hold the attention, and nobody has the strength to push the film through. It lulls, sitting in waiting, as if it's only goal is that you just don't leave yet.

I didn't, and while I'll note I found the film highly excited, afterwards it just felt a bit empty. I wanted to care more, be attached more. To be fair my review is probably a bit too harsh. But alas, leaving a void always gets the shun from me.

While Steamboy will thrill you with its action sequences, everything in between is just a muddled effort of mediocrity. The captivating visuals fail to counter the impeccably safe characters, and over the top plot.

3 better thoughts:

Michele Emrath said...

Phew! Got out of seeing that one. :P


Alex said...

I haven't seen this one in a while, but mostly I remember being captivated by the visuals. I barely recall the story at all though which I guess is a testament to how forgettable it is! It's too bad, since the premise is interesting.

Anonymous said...

great cartoon .. love it

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