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METOROPORISU, 2001
Movie Reviews!

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METOROPORISU MOVIE POSTERMETOROPORISU, 2004
Movie Reviews

Directed by Rintaro

Cast: Yuka Imoto, Kei Kobayashi, Kouki Okada, Tarô Ishida, Kousei Tomita
Review by Martyn Warren


SYNOPSIS:

A story of how important emotions are and how they separate humans from everything else. The movie follows a young boy and his uncle (a private investigator). The story is set in the far future where humans and robots live together, unfortunately not in harmony. Many robots are forced underground and are terminated for entering unauthorized areas. They are more or less servants to humankind. The plot starts to unfold when the boy meets a robot named Tima and they get in all kinds of trouble. Never a dull moment when you've got a robot by your side.

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REVIEW:

Based on the famed manga by the creator of Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka, Metropolis (dir. Rintaro) is an anime film whose team is made up of some of the greatest filmmakers of modern anime. For a film that isn’t made by Studio Ghibli, it’s done really well and pays respect to the original manga.

Much like the 1920s Metropolis (dir. Fritz Lang), the story focuses on the fast development of technology and how it affects the balance of power for the human beings living in a grand, futuristic city.

The film starts with hired private detective Hige-Oyaji (Kosei Tomita/Tony Pope) travelling from Japan to find and arrest Dr. Laughton (Junpei Takiguchi/Simon Prescott), accompanied by his nephew and assistant Kenichi (Kei Kobayashi/Brianne Siddall). While they look for Dr. Laughton, Duke Red (Taro Ishida/Jamieson K. Price) is using him to build a robot that is so advanced that it’s almost human-like and hopes to use it for his master plan. However, Red’s adopted gun expert son Rock (Koki Okada/Michael Reisz) believes that this unknown robot will get in his father’s way and destroys the lab where the robot lives. Just as Rock does this, Hige-Oyaji and Kenichi arrive at the scene as they both look for survivors when Kenichi finds the mysterious robot, which is revealed as Tima (Yuka Imoto/Rebecca Forstadt). With the two accidentally falling deep within the underground towns of Metropolis, they are soon chased by Rock and must do what they can to stay alive and find Kenichi’s uncle to solve the case on what Tima was built for.

With the original story being written by Osama Tezuka, the screenwriter has kept the very same feel of the old-fashioned western story telling from the 1930s and it can easily approach people who aren’t into anime and people who are.

Being lead by one of anime’s top directors and the screenplay written by the same person who wrote Memories (dir. Koji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura and Katsuhiro Otomo) and Akira (dir. Katsuhiro Otomo), the entire crew have managed to pull their own weight to make a fantastic animated film.

With the soundtrack mainly made up of jazz music from America, it adds a weird and great atmosphere that you wouldn’t think would match well with a Japanese film that was a bold choice from the music supervisor/s. The soundtrack includes “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles and “There’ll Never Be Good-Bye” by Minako “Mooki” Obata and it adds a lot of life and soul into the overall message in the film and matches with the bright and dull colours in the beautifully painted backgrounds.

With an animation team whose number is too big to be mentioned in this review individually, they are the part of the crew that should be mentioned the most since they have collaborated together to make a film with hand-drawn and CGI animation to make the stories and characters come to life. This was lead by art director Shuichi Hirata and even though the animators weren’t part of the big studios, they have managed to make a lovely-looking film that was teamed with numerous difficulties to do in animation and it’s great to see these difficulties overcome.

With this film being a grand tribute to Osamu Tezuka’s storytelling and art style, the filmmakers have used the famed elements that were used in his work.

Despite the animation team making the film without his guidance, they have managed to keep his 1930s western style with the large, expressive eyes and simple character design. This is what makes the film very appealing for audiences at different ages since the characters are easy for younger audiences to understand their emotions, while the details on the robots being shot are very graphic and quite emotional with the way they individually react.

The one key feature that the screenwriter has kept in the author’s work is the use of a character from one series being shown in another and the character that they use this technique for is Hige-Oyaji. He appears in the Astro Boy series as Mr. Mustachio, Astro’s teacher, and this very traditional technique used for theatre was a nice touch to add in, especially with the joke of giving the robot detective who assists him the name Pero that fans of Tezuka will understand and appreciate.

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