Metropolis - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • MSRP: 27.98
  • Running time: 106
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Metropolis

Metropolis

By Kristopher Zoleta     November 23, 2002
Release Date: April 23, 2002



The Review!
History of Osamu Tekuza
Not many people have had as much impact in the anime world as Osamu Tekuza. In 1947 shortly after World War 2, Tekuza created the first 3 Manga's (Japanese Comics) in Japan. The big eyes would eventually become a trademark in Japanese Animation. Not content with creating the first serialized Manga in Japan, he creates the first ever Anime (Japanese Animation) cartoon. The cartoon was called Astroboy, it pioneered many techniques that are still in use in both Japan and America.

History of Metropolis
In the late 1850's a man named Gillette was so inspired at the sight of Niagara Falls that he believed that it would be an unlimited amount of electricity forever. On a piece of paper he envisioned Metropolis, a perfect city state in the United States. It would have 5,000 foot buildings, would be multileveled (think Midgar in Final Fantasy), and would house over 50 million people. Go almost 100 years into the future, Osamu Tezuka saw a drawing of metropolis in a documentary he saw. That gave him the inspiration for one of the first 3 manga's, it was entitled Metropolis. Metropolis was very special because the 2 lead characters had big eyes, which would eventually become a standard in Japanese Animation.

Shortly after Tezuka's death, his apprentice Rintaro set out to recreate metropolis. He enlisted the help of Katsuhiro Otomo (of Akira fame) to do the screenwriting. The movie would turn out to be the most expensive Anime movie of all time with a budget of $23 million dollars, at the height of the production over 400 people worked on the movie.

Animation

The animation is in a word, gorgeous. It exemplifies the pinnacle of Japanese animation. It combines computer generated sequences with hand drawn animation. Expertly done, the computer generated animation and hand drawn sequences are seamlessly integrated. Unlike most cartoons with a big difference between the CG and the animation itself, this one is special because they use CG like a catalyst in that the CG and animation sucks you into a vibrant world. What is even scarier is the attention to detail, every movement is gorgeously animated and has a scary attention to detail. For example, in one sequence there are over 100 characters on screen in a dinner. All one hundred characters are animated and they move exactly how people would really move.

Music
The music in the movie is very western, it has a Louisiana Jazz feel to it. The opening sequence has a very familiar sound to you guys in the deep south. Toshiyuki Honda did an great soundtrack and fit's the anime almost perfectly. One could imagine that the music would be 100x better if it were fully orchestrated in the vein of Akira or the Oh My Goddess movie.

Voice Acting

The Japanese voice actors do an awesome job with the voice acting, they convey the lead roles to perfection that is all that can be said. The English voice acting is good, but not great. This is Columbia Tri-Star's first anime production (their second will be the Cowboy Bebop movie). They have hired professional Hollywood voice actors, but unlike Princess Mononoke (Some of the best voice acting ever) the writer of the English script didn't want to stray that far from the Japanese Script or even enhance it. So the English voice acting is nothing special, but it is not so annoying that people will turn it off.

Content Review (spoiler free)
The story starts off with the celebration for the Ziggurat, a sign of the prosperity and of a new era in Metropolis. Then we introduce an inspector and his Nephew, Kenichi. They are foreigners from Japan searching for a mad scientist named Dr. Laughton. It seems that Dr. Laughton is working on a perfect robot girl named Tima, under the control of the malevolent Duke Red. Duke Red is the founder and creator of the Marduk and the creator of the Ziggurat. I'll leave the rest to those who want to watch the movie.

This story is surprisingly very dark for a family film, it touches on some very deep subjects. At first the person would watch the film and enjoy it because it is a very good suspense flick, and the animation is so stunning that you would watch if for that. But when you watch it again it has so many themes, such as the corruption of a perfect government, the rights of robots (if any), social classes and the role of the lower classes, the rights of workers, Technology and abuse of the power, I can go on forever. The movie is one of those rare cases, with multiple viewings it gets better every time.

Compared to other anime out there, this movie is much slower and more methodical. But it is a breath of fresh air compared to the frenzied sequences of Akira and Ninja Scroll. This movie is the type of movie that would basically appeal to anyone with good taste. Metropolis is also very good at aiming at the female market, along with the male market. For anyone that loves anime and wants to get someone else to anime, I would recommend this because it has a very western feel. This film is as Roger Ebert says "one of the best animated films ever made, for people who don't like anime, this can convert you, for people who love anime, this proves that you are right"

Highly Recommended

Final Score

Animation - A+
Voice Acting - B
Music - A-
Content - A+

Total Score - A



Review Equipment
XBOX, Panasonic 19"

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