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Late to the Movies - Steamboy [Sep. 6th, 2005|01:08 pm]
[Current Mood |bouncybouncy]
[Current Music |Contact-RENT (Original Broadway Cast)]


FUCKING AMAZING. Wow. This masterpiece treasure of animation should be viewed by anyone and everyone who has any sort of interest or appreciation of the art (or just likes a good asskicking action movie). Katsuhiro Ôtomo, director of the brutal yet awesome 1988 "Akira" returns with a more family-friendly adventure of an English boy living in a fantastical, hyperactive, might-have-been 1866 England. Animation is a combo of hand drawn characters interacting with CG props and backgrounds. All of which is flowing, grand, and gorgeous to look at.

At the core, Steamboy is an action adventure spy movie. I was on the edge of my seat through the action sequences, and left wondering what would happen next as I tried to figure out who the bad guy was all through the film. The thing that truly took my breath away was the fantasy setting: the Steam Era, but not like the one in our history books. In this alternate universe, steam power was a heightened technology, everything ran on it. And man had perfected a concentrated ball with nearly unlimited steam pressure, enough to power say, a flying fortress and all it's armaments if one so desired. But that's not the half of it! Oh god I could just go on & on.

Steamboy is James Ray Steam ("Ray"), a pre-teen, the 3rd generation of a family of engineering geniuses. His father and grandfather worked top-secret jobs in America, developing new technologies and such. During testing of a new powerful steam-based power system, father is supposedly killed and grandfather disappears. The boy, meanwhile, is left in Manchester with his mother who minds their home and watches other peoples' kids. The boy with no male role models (since both of them are/were back in America working), of course grows up tough, and fortunately has just as much engineering genius as his paternals, putting it to use in his own inventions. One day, a package comes in the mail, addressed to Ray. It contains a secret device he must deliver to one man who is associated with his grandfather, while keeping it away from others, who were associated with Ray's father. It's a real twist right from the start.

Chase scenes ensue, the plot thickens and twists with every scene, characters develop, and you have no idea who's good or bad. I can't believe how much action I witnessed in one sitting. Violence is cut off or covered sometimes at the last possible moment in order to maintain the family rating, but I was shocked at more than a few of these clever cuts because regardless of whether a thing is shown on screen, the filmmaker has created a picture you can see clearly in your own mind anyway. So there is a slight warning of violence. But it's not mindless, it's essential. You must know what certain characters are at their very core, and these carefully choreographed scenes give you that insight.

Ray Steam aka-Steamboy turns out to be an action hero fighting a tough battle inside himself while also trying to choose what's best for the crazy world around him. Because I came to see him as a superhero by the end, I wouldn't be surprised to see a sequel. And a beautiful thing that would be! Be sure to watch the epilogue that plays through the end credits. It could totally be made into a sequel.

5 Royal Crowns. Fucking amazing! I must see it again.