Kenichi decides to accompany his uncle, Detective Shunsaku Ban, as the two are assigned to track down Dr. Laughton. The good doc is a international fugitive and was last reported being seen in the depths of Metropolis. In the meantime, Litegong has just completed construction of the Jiegulate, a device of unknown power. He requires the services of a supreme catalyst for his new weapon, a young woman named Tima. His plans go awry as his adopted son Luke foils Dr. Laughton’s plans to enhance Tima’s abilities by destroying his secret factory. Before the experiment burns to the ground, Kenichi rescues Tima… but can only do so much to protect her from the pursuing Luke.
summary by Kain
Highs: Spirited sendoff of yesteryear anime; incomparable attention to detail
Lows: Aged art style doesn’t fit story; too reliant on CGI; underneath it all lies a plot on crutches
Metropolis is an interesting movie. Allow me to clarify that statement; the details behind the making of Metropolis are interesting. The anime itself is regrettably forgettable. Then again, given the circumstances, I’m really not surprised at all.
Rintaro, the director formerly known as Hayashi Shigeyuki, has reunited with the late, great Tezuka Osamu of Astro Boy fame to collaborate on a film that hearkens back to anime’s origins. That’s great for nostalgic reasons, but the Astro Boy-ish character design just seems really out of place with the dark settings and the intense computer graphics. This brings me to my second rant; perhaps I’m overly biased to my old school anime inklings, but there exists a predominance of that computer-generated feel that made me quite uneasy. The total package just seems so sterile, so bleached. Rintaro is also too much in love with the bird’s eye and pan-out camera shots. This was done undoubtedly to showcase the intricately detailed backdrops, but the effect is overdone. Good thing he relied less on these techniques toward the end of the film.
Aesthetics aside, Otomo Katsuhiro’s script has many of the same defects that hindered the flow of Akira and Roujin Z. The question of “Who am I?” is oft asked but never really answered. This is ultimately Metropolis‘ downfall: there are too many loose threads left untied. Events are not explained adequately; the viewer is left to his own devices to fill in the holes by referring to the manga.
If anything, the production values were enormous but well utilized. Every scene, every object in every scene, had a life of its own. One walks away with the sense that the world is truly confined within the metropolis. This movie receives an “A” for effort, but barely a passing grade for results.
Metropolis can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.