June 20, 2006


Steamboy was an amazing film. Everything about it was excellent. The visuals were extremely detailed to an extent I'd never seen before. The CG work was almost seamless, and artistically done. The audio was immersive and explosive and the score wonderful. The story itself has meaning without weighing down the pure action of the film. And the characters have depth, in a very focused but not really one-dimensional way. Throughout the entire movie I was totally engrossed in the film and fully enjoying it.

Sony got some amazing voice talent for the show, including Patrick Stewart who has become more popular for anime voice acting, and he is very good at it, and also Alfred Molina and Anna Paquin who did a great job. The distinctive voice of Kari Wahlgren is also there, who it turns out has been in many shows and video games that I am familiar with. Because this movie takes place in England, watching it with the English voice actors is actually a much better choice than watching it with the Japanese voice actors.

Steamboy has some incredible audio as well. There is a constant amount of background audio in the movie, as many scenes take place in areas containing heavy machinery. And the massive action sequences involving steam engines and other steam-powered war machines are filled with the noise that will accompany such action and machinery. This film also has a large number of low-frequency effects that require a bottom-feeding subwoofer, and accurate reproduction of machinery that will stress good high-frequency reproduction as well.

Watching the special features, the artists and animators talk about how this was the one anime where there was no deadline on the artwork. And so they could spend as much time as they wanted to draw the images Katsuhiro Otomo envisioned and put down on paper. And that is an incredible amount of detail. This is one anime that would really benefit from a high-definition video transfer. And the images are beautiful as well.

Underlying the story is a cautionary exploration of how technology is a cold, powerful, and raw tool that must be tempered with morality and the human heart. Ray's father and grandfather represent the extremes of this spectrum, and he is torn between them as he tries to find for himself an answer that he can live by. But of course this isn't an easy question, and it does't have a simple answer, and it is still one of those ideas which is something a person can only provide an answer for from their gut and their heart. Otomo will not give you an answer.

Posted by josuah at June 20, 2006 6:19 AM UTC+00:00

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