26 April 2006

Disappearing Ink #10 - Metropolis

I wouldn't consider myself an anime nut. I am not really into mechas or pocket monsters, I just like good films, especially when those films offer something new. Metropolis was written by Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira (possibly the best known anime, though not one of my favorites). Metropolis masterfully marries old and new. Influenced by the 1927 film of the same name and a 1949 comic book, The 2002 film Metropolis feels fresh by combining modern elements and science. Set in a futuristic city of multiple zones stacked upon each other, and supporting moving sidewalks, towering ziggurats, and robots aplenty, the film is scored with classic jazz, ragtime, and Ray Charles. It's an odd combination that works marvelously well. Traditional hand drawn character animation is combined with beautiful CG cityscapes, machinery, and helicopters. Not only are the characters hand drawn, but they have a very classic feel with childlike faces, large eyes, and simplistic features. All of these contrasts are a metaphor contributing to a mood of tension in a world were some embrace the "progress" of the civilization (robots, towers, computers), and other reject it and desire for a return to more traditional values.

But what is it about you ask? Well, its about that conflict between the tradition and progress -- between groups of citizens, the government, and within Tima, an ambitionless humanoid robot designed to rule. While Tima is discovering who she is and exploring the city, Rock the robot hunter is in hot pursuit, and not wasting any time shooting down any robots that he sees along the way. Oh and did I mention, there is a robot named Pero (named after a dog of course, now that I think about it, there is a robot named Fifi as well). The bittersweet ending has a lot going on, and is a bit confusing, but harmonious.

With a 91% fresh rating, and a huge thumbs up from James Cameron, I am going to go with the crowd and give this film a B+.

Check out my past reviews:
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Princess Mononoke
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy


j said...

Ziggurats, eh? As long as Johnny Cash isn't singing Primary songs I might check it out.

Chip Chief said...

Didn't realize you were such a fan of the "zigs"