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Directed By: Tarô Rin.
Starring: Jamieson Price, Toshio Furukawa, Dave Mallow, Scott Weinger.
Synopsis: Set in the future, Metropolis is a grand city-state populated by humans and robots, the cohabitants of a strictly segmented society. Amidst the chaos created by anti-robot factions, detective Shunsaku Ban and his sidekick Ken-ichi are searching for rebel scientist Dr. Laughton, to arrest him and seize his latest creation, a beautiful young girl named Tima. When they locate them, Shunsaku quickly comes to realize that the eccentric scientist is protected by a powerful man and his fierce desire to reclaim a tragic figure from his past and therefore is beyond their reach.
"Metropolis is the new milestone in anime. It has beauty, power, mystery and above all…heart. Images from this film will stay with you forever." - James Cameron
If you are a big fan of Manga, Japanimation, whatever slick label you want to give this genre...you MUST:
A) See Metropolis (and love it).
B) See it again.
C) Buy the DVD.
This film is nothing short of breathtaking with stunning visuals and a old style (though seemingly dementedly new) soundtrack. One could argue that yes, a lot of themes and visuals here are familiar, are almost direct lifts from films like Fritz Lang's 1926 Metropolis, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Pinnochio and perhaps a brighter more cheerful looking Akira.
Metropolis has a very heavy storyline driving throughout that may not all be evident at first since one is struck for the first hour of just how gorgeous the movie itself is. Then the full implications of revolution, unrequited love, man vs. machine and class wars seep into your head and you realize you are watching what Spielberg should have attempted with A.I. To go five steps beyond the basic outlines of Pinnochio (which Spielberg adhered to) and take the ending so much further that it is surprisingly hard to watch or turn your head from.
Like A.I. robots are hunted and killed for violations and like A.I. questions of Robot vs. human arise with direct comparisons to the Pinocchio myth...unlike A.I. with its unsettling utopia of researcher robots at the end this one leaves a lot of unanswered questions and has an amazing destruction sequence as the result of the God syndrome one character suffers from. The fact that all sound seems to fade as they then blare the old classic "I Can't Stop Loving You" is not only an inspired choice it's a truly disquiting one that works on levels that strike you as you leave the theatre. Powerful stuff in that one moment.
This is a film that can be watched time and time again if only for the visuals but it will also give you a chance to dig deeper into the story. However, a simple warning...don't get attached to too many characters here...they seem to just have horrible things happen to them once you get to know them.
Final Sidenote: The kids in Hollywood have been trying to figure out what to do with the property of The Watchmen by Alan Moore. Here's a thought...give it to Katsuhiro Otomo (best known for the masterworks, Akira and Roujin Z) and Rintaro (X: The Movie, Galaxy Express 999 and Harmagedon). They are the men responsible for this film and I am sure they could turn Watchmen into a stunning mini-series of Manga that would still stun us after all we have seen from Metropolis.
A definite 4 out of 5 and after a re-screening on the DVD I might be coaxed into a 4.5 (it won't have a commentary to give it that necessary .5).
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
Animax Special: The Making Of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis
Exclusive Filmmaker Interviews
Multi-Angle Animation Comparisons
History of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis Comic Book
Biography of Osamu Tezuka and Rintaro
Conceptual Art Gallery
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
JAPANESE: Dolby Digital 5.1
JAPANESE: DTS 5.1
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