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Anime retelling of Fritz Lang's silent classic 'Metropolis' (1927). Ruled by the despotic Duke Red (voice of Taro Ishida), ultra-futuristic city Metropolis is a playground for its rich citizens, but is serviced and kept going by an underclass of robots toiling below ground. The Duke who lost his biological daughter is consumed by the desire to create a robot version of her, much to the chagrin of his adopted son, the belligerent loner Rock (Kouki Okada). Arriving in the poorer side of the city are Kenichi (Kei Kobayashi) and his uncle, who are in search of missing scientist Dr Laughton (Junpei Takeguchi). But Dr Laughton is the genius behind Duke Red's robot-building centre and also mastermind of the part-human, part-robot replacement daughter the Duke has requested, known as Tima (Yuka Imoto). Ever more jealous of his father's interest in the Tima project, Rock attempts to kill the Doctor and Tima just as Kenichi and his uncle arrive. However, Kenichi and his uncle rescue Tima and Rock pursues them through the robot underworld. Tima then starts to learn what it's like to be a girl and promptly falls in love with Kenichi. But it soon transpires that she has a special place in the Duke's plans and things go from bad to worse as the Duke plugs her into the robot grid, elevating her to serene leader of all Metropolis with disastrous results...
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The point of dual-format releases aside (just watch the highest definition version you can, duh), you're watching the high definition version of the movie with master audio, improved translation, the original US subtitles, a documentary on production, trailers and multi-angle comparisons. It's all good stuff, and a good production documentary is always welcome in my collection, but the main issue here is the transfer.
The transfer itself is moderately crisp, but still feels low quality (maybe it's because of how it was made?) - there is a lot of noise and repeating texture pattern in the picture, and the colour doesn't show out as much as the Blu-Ray specification allows it to (other Blu-ray releases can make the colour far richer, or at least enough to enhance the experience) - the colours are (although browns, yellows and shadowing is used extensively in this movie as a stylistic choice) a little dull, and overlaid text or effects have no crispness beyond what upscaling the DVD version would give.
It's a shame to be honest, a more careful reproduction would truly make this movie shine even more than it already does - I predict a very special edition coming in the future removing noise, and sharpening all the correct aspects where necessary, but this one isn't quite it.
Of course, it's still Metropolis, and it's always a wonderful film. Just don't expect it to be converted for Blu-ray with the care and love that Akira or Ghost in the Shell have been lucky enough to see.
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