Went to see Steamboy yesterday. (And yes, this has become a movie mini-review site.) I won’t say it was terrible, but it was disappointing. It may be that old nemessis: overly high expectations. If I could just convince myself to go to movies with very low expectations, I’d probably enjoy more of them.

The reason for the high expectations was simple enough: the art (probably more than the story) in both Akira and Metropolis was stunning, and I have a prediliction for steampunk anyway (which ties into a lot of other interests, including mechanical computing and futurism), and so, I naturally had high hopes.

Unfortunately, this feels as if it is a tribute to those earlier films, without adding all that much to them. Among its largely positive reviews, many laud the art and the premise. There are scenes, particularly some of the dark interior scenes from the castle, that are breathtaking. However, the themes (related to the pursuit of science and war) are facile, the story feels as if it is thrown together, and the characters–I don’t think there really are any. Of course, it’s anime, and so charictures are sometimes a stand-in for characters, but at least there should be some there there.

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  1. Posted 3/19/2005 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey I saw it too. We must have seen it at different times yesterday given that only one theater was showing it. My take on it? It sucked. Frankly speaking, in this day and age, I would have been awed if this anime came out during the time AKIRA came out. I’ve just seen better animation elsewhere (e.g. GITS2: Innocence). The editing was horrid (irrelevant cutting) and the characters seriously looked replicated. Since the art isn’t that great to me, forget about the story. I’m sorry, seven years in the making doesn’t make up for a bad production. In fact, it reminds me that things are better done in short creative bursts than long draggy movements.

  2. Michael
    Posted 3/28/2005 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed Steamboy. I am a relatively new fan of anime, the series Last Exile drew me in. As a history I loved how Otomo recreated Victorian England and utilized real events and places, the Great Exhibition and the Crystal Palace as a back drop for this movie. I thought there was a wonderful attention to detail to recreate a by-gone world.

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