Metropolis

Metropolis

4.5 11
Director: Rintaro

Cast: Rintaro, Yuka Imoto, Keiji Kobayashi, Kouki Okada

     
 

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Playing like a candy-colored hybrid of Fritz Lang's film of the same name and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis borrows its plot liberally from numerous legendary sci-fi sources (despite the fact that the original Manga was released in 1945, certain cinematic aspects can't help but appearing overly familiar), all the while dazzlingSee more details below

Overview

Playing like a candy-colored hybrid of Fritz Lang's film of the same name and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis borrows its plot liberally from numerous legendary sci-fi sources (despite the fact that the original Manga was released in 1945, certain cinematic aspects can't help but appearing overly familiar), all the while dazzling viewers on the same cutting-edge visual level as such animé classics as Akira and Ghost in the Shell. The common animé practice of combining amazingly rendered backdrops and more traditionally hand-drawn characters continues here, though with such nuances as beautifully flowing hair and soulfully expressive faces, it becomes obvious that painstaking detail was paid to making the characters both visually and emotionally involving. Though as expressive as some of the central characters may be, it's the elaborate tri-level industrial labyrinth that encompasses the world of Metropolis that forms the film's central character, and it is a kalidescopic animated marvel to behold. Director Rintaro's beautifully composed visual design is so awe-inspiringly colorful and complex, that from the opening frames, the viewer is fully absorbed in the environment, with plot and characterization almost coming as an afterthought. And that is precisely where the film's ultimately forgivable main weakness lies. In between scenes of wide-eyed, jaw-dropping visuals, the story of human and android tension set against the backdrop of a futuristic city borrows from so many sources that it borders on cliché. Thankfully, writer Tezuka's characters are given a depth and sense of purpose, that, while not altogether unconvincing or original, consistently connect with the viewer's sense of recognition and sympathy. Viewers will no doubt attest that Metropolis works almost flawlessly on a purely visual and asthetic level within the opening frames of the film. Thankfully, Tezuka's storytelling skills compliment that on a level that, while not entirely new or original, is at the very least genuinely sincere and thoughtful. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
An all-star anime team conjures an urban dystopia with world-class visual pyrotechnics in the anime feature Metropolis. Directed by Rintaro (X), based on the 1945 comic book by the legendary Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy), and written for the screen by anime legend Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Metropolis is a free-form riff on imagery and themes from Fritz Lang's silent classic of the same name. To the strains of bouncy Dixieland jazz, the complex plot involves a power struggle for control of the city Metropolis and a young boy's attempt to protect a robot girl who is the proverbial key to the city's Babel-esque tower. The tower is Metropolis's architectural pride and joy, and a doomsday weapon to boot. As in the vertically stratified mega-city of Lang's 1927 silent, the aboveground life of fantasy and privilege in this city of the future conceals subterranean levels of poverty and hard labor. This juxtaposition overlaps with the familiar anime theme of man vs. machine, which plays out with shades of the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. There are too many influences and homages fueling Metropolis to list; but suffice to say that the film's multilayered, multicultural, and multireferential texture forms a dazzling pastiche. It's all realized in a state-of-the-art blend of conventional and computer-generated animation, with a kinetically breathtaking and eye-ravishing attention to futuristic details. The juxtaposition of various styles and genres makes the film unique, a fact driven home in the apocalyptic climax, set with knockout-punch irony to the music of Ray Charles. The result transcends mere allegory to induce a psychedelic overload of metaphor that's guaranteed to both daze and dazzle.
All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
The gulf between backdrop and foreground never seems so large as in Metropolis. Imagine a comic strip that features the characters from Family Circus dropped into the bleak urbanscapes of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, and you have some idea of what this film looks like. Even the villains in Metropolis don't come off as particularly menacing-looking; Duke Red, the builder of the Tower of Babel-like Ziggurat, is just a little less cuddly than the good guy detective and his nephew. Boldly titling your work (as source comic artist Osamu Tezuka did) after an iconic film is asking for trouble. While the rendering of this metropolis is in many ways, thanks to 70 years of cinematic technology, even more jaw-dropping than that in Fritz Lang's original, the characters, especially that of the robot Tima, can't be taken as seriously as Maria (both the real one and the "false" one) and Professor Rottwang. The filmmakers try very hard to dramatize the aching love that Ken-Ichi, the nephew of the detective, feels for Tima, but ultimately, their relationship comes off as something out of a bad early John Hughes movie. Nevertheless, Metropolis has to be seen, because director Rintaro and his production team have crafted a visual masterpiece not without its moments of wit, though the use of Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You" seems more than a little jarring, if not totally obvious.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

If you have never seen a Japanese anime, start here. If you love them, Metropolis proves you are right.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/24/2002
UPC:
0043396082151
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Sony Pictures

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