Steamboy (Director's Cut) [DVD]
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Director's cut of the retro science-fiction epic set in Victorian England. 'Steamboy' features an inventor prodigy named Ray Steam (Anna Paquin) who receives a mysterious metal ball containing a new form of energy capable of powering an entire nation. This energy must be used to fight evil and save London from destruction.
The first feature Katsuhiro Otomo has written and directed since his watershed Akira (1988), Steamboy offers a fantastic, sepia-toned vision of the past-as-future. In place of the dystopic Neo-Tokyo of Akira, Steamboy is set in England in 1866. Young Ray Steam receives a Steam Ball, a mysterious, powerful device, from his inventor grandfather. Governments and businesses covet the Steam Ball, and Ray finds himself in a murderous conflict over its possession. He's also caught between his father, a 19th century Darth Vader who builds terrible weapons for an American arms merchant, and his grandfather, who believes science should improve people's lives. Otomo uses computer graphics to create dazzling visuals that few recent films--animated or live action--can match: monumental systems of gears and pistons; machines that dwarf the Tower of London; antique weapons of mass destruction. But the dazzling imagery can't disguise the lack of a coherent plot and the flimsiness of the characters. Steamboy is being released in a dubbed version that's been shortened by 20 minutes, and a more satisfying subtitled version that preserves Otomo's original pacing. Both versions suggest that Steamboy is the work of an important film-maker who can't quite shape his awesome visions into a effective narrative. (Rated PG-13 for action violence.) --Charles Solomon
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You've got a young, inventive boy who finds himself in the middle of a conflict over the nature of science. It's an argument that will erupt in loud, frightening chaos over the city of London. The boy's name is Ray Steam, and steam is definitely the key word in all of this. Ray receives a parcel from his grandfather containing an ultra-powerful "steamball," and almost at once he's forced to honor his grandfather's request to keep it out of the hands of "the Foundation." His father, however, or at least a somewhat mechanized version of him, happens to be in cahoots with the Foundation, and he begins to win his son over to his own version of science. He has used the vast power of steam to take his own father's vision of a Steam Castle and turn it into a well-armed weapon, complete with steam-powered flyers, subs, and mechanized fighters. The grandfather, looking much the worse for wear, shows up to try and sabotage his evil son's efforts, and he confronts Ray with his own peaceful vision of science.Read more ›
On the one hand "Steamboy" is as visually stunning as you would expect, albeit in a decidedly different way from "Akira" and "Metroporisu." This time around Ôtomo is not telling a futuristic story, but one set in 1866 in the London of Victorian England, which mandates sepia toned colors rather than working with a palate of bright neon colors. That alone justifies a different look to "Steamboy," and the chief attraction for this anime are the hand-drawn animation, enhanced by computers, of the massive machines of gears and pistons. But there is another interesting consequences to the setting of "Steamboy," which is that for the first time with a Japanese anime I am recommending that you listen to the English audio track rather than the Japanese. Since the characters are actually English, then for once it makes sense to go this route. Besides, we are talking Patrick Stewart as grandfather Dr. Lloyd Steam, Alfred Molina as his son Dr. Eddie Steam, and Anna Panquin as James Ray Steam, who is the film's title figure.Read more ›
Steamboy is a cracking adventure set in Victorian England with a great voice-over cast including Patrick Stewart, Anna Paquin and Alfred Molina all delivering spot-on Northern accents (the characters come from Manchester).
The plot rattles along like a steam train as a boy tries to discover the truth behind the disappearance of his inventor father, fending of the sinister attentions of rival factions using massive machines (steam powered, of course) that would have done credit to the imagination of H.G. Wells.
Yes, it's a cartoon, yes kids will like it, but this is so much more than a children's movie. It's well made, imaginative and good fun. This 45-year old loved it and will love it for many years to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent Voice Artists and Apparently Huge Budget does not a good film make,for One thing it could have been slashed by about 20 minutes and also the Story is Nothing special. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mrs. D. Moncrieff
GREAT FILM IT MOVES ALONG FAST LOTS TO SEE IT'S GO'S FROM THE START.Published 11 months ago by James P Hamer