The Japanese animated film Steamboy went into wide release in the U.S. yesterday, and I did not notice a thread about it, so I thought I would start one. This is the first feature produced by Ohtomo Katsuhiro since AKIRA, which recieved great critical acclaim and which many people think of when "anime" is mentioned [although it is far from typical of the genre]. CAPSULE REVIEW: Steamboy I have to say that if you are looking for something new and different, you won't find it in this movie. If you've seen the first four episodes of Nadia, the opening and closing sequences of Robot Carnival, a little Giant Robo, the last episode of Read or Die, and the American film The Rocketeer, you've seen most of what Steamboy has to offer. That said, it is quite well executed, and the story line is something like linear. The visuals have a nasty tendency to get more than a little busy and incoherent, which is more a result of the attempt to achieve perfection of style than anything else; they are certainly impressive. I did notice a very odd effect: I kept being reminded I was watching a movie. Now, that may not sound odd to you, but when I am watching a film or video I tend to develop "tunnel vision" and become immersed in the "world" it creates. In fact, as a child when the film would end my eyes would still be adjusted to seeing giant images as normal-size, with the result that I would reel unsteadily out of the theater, accompanied by mouse-sized parents, and hoping against hope that I would be able to squeeze through the matchbox-sized doors! Several times during Steamboy I became very aware that I was watching an image on a screen, much more so than I ever am when reading subtitles [which tend to become subconscious] I might add, and at a couple of points I was about convinced that I was watching a relatively small screen quite close to my face. I don't understand what the reason of this was, whether it was due to poor projection focus or to a flattening of the visual style, but it did not in any way improve my movie-going experience. The sound was quite good, and the dub was competently done. It had its share of quirks, however, such as people supposedly in 1866 referring to Giffard-style steam driven nonrigid dirigibles as "Zeppelins" when that name did not gain currency until after the Count's first flights in 1900, and anyway applies only to rigids [commonly] or products of the Zeppelin company [properly]. Again, one of the characters misquotes the old saw "Discretion is the better part of valour". While I did not feel, at the end, that [as one of the few other viewers said] it was the "cheesiest thing I had ever seen", and I suppose I got my $6.50 worth, it was certainly not a spectacular, or magical, or enthralling experience, and I doubt I would go out of my way to procure it in a video format.