1. We suffered a brief outage this morning when our host noticed that HTF needed to be moved to a different server due to a hardware failure. That work is now complete. Please post in the feedback area if you have any issues.
    Dismiss Notice

STEAMBOY review/discussion thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ChristopherDAC, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  2. Matt C

    Matt C Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 1, 2000
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York
    Real Name:
    Matthew
    Thanks for your thoughts Christopher! I only first heard about this film a short while ago, and was quite excited to hear that the director of Akira was releasing a new animated feature.


    Did anyone else who has seen this in the theater feel this way? I find this very interesting, as it usually takes a fairly low quality projection to pull me out of a film as completely as it would seem happened to Chris. Any thoughts?
     
  3. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0
    The only anime movie ever which I am aware of being originally released in English was Armitage III: Poly-Matrix, several years ago. Recut from the English dub of a marginally successful Pioneer video animation series, it was shown in Japan with Japanese subtitles. This is a long way around to say that, yes, its original version is Japanese and does not feature the voices of Patrick Stewart and Anna Paquin. Reputedly the original version is also 20 minutes longer!
    I have a "thing" about seeing anime in the theatre, no matter how badly handled [the dreadful, fortunately free, Inu-Yasha movie screening I saw, which I swear was from a DVD...], so I went despite it all. Roger Ebert thinks there is a full-length subtitled print circulating; while I would definitely prefer to see that version I have been unable to find one in Texas. I would certainly say that the visuals reward viewing film projected on the big screen, but the projection I saw suffered from vertical jitter which I think may have been one of the problems with my viewing experience as well as causing a loss of visible detail.
     
  4. Jason Roer

    Jason Roer Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Christpher,

    The longer cut is playing here in Manhattan, though I doubt I'll have the time to check it out.

    Cheers,

    Jason
     
  5. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    0


    "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust" was also originally in English.

    Jason
     
  6. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    I LOVED Robot Carnival. Is that available on DVD? I don't care if it was a bad transfer or what have you, I'd buy it. I had this on tape and it got destroyed. It's funny that you mention the similarity to those sequences in Robot Carnival, because that's exactly what I thought when I saw Steamboy yesterday. I also would say The Rocketeer was in the back of my head too.

    My impression: It had a very similar feel to Metropolis which was also overly busy. It's almost TOO MUCH attention to detail. It does yeild a beautiful presentation, "eye candy" as the reviewers called it, but it sometimes has the effect of drawing you away from what is going on. I felt it had too little in the way of story and almost no character development. The motivations were too simplistic. There's lots of action, so I wasn't bored, but I didn't feel as though I became involved with the story. Other than Ray, I did not connect with any of the characters. It is entertaining, but not the epic I was hoping for. Hopefully the DVD will have that extra 20 min. in there.

    I'd give it 3 out of 5 for visual impact.
     
  8. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    0


    Nope. I have a R2 DVD, with a big book with interviews with the directors of the shorts. (Of course, I can't read it, since it is in Japanese.)

    What is available is Memories, which does have an Otomo short on there. (I think his was Cannon Fodder.)

    I'd love to see this, but for some reason, the DC area didn't get a screening. (You'd think with two of the largest conventions on the east coast, that we'd get at least one theater...)

    Jason
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John
    It's supposed to go into wider release after two weeks of limited release.

    I've seen Memories and I wasn't crazy about it overall. I liked the first short, and Cannon Fodder was interesting too. There's some Cannon Fodder feel in Steamboy too, though that is WWII while Steamboy is definitely WWI era. Cannon Fodder was almost comical with the caricature-like characters, despite its theme. Steamboy seems to be missing some depth to the story; there's not quite enough info to give you a good feel for the relationships of the people. The high energy level keeps it from being boring though.
     
  10. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I'll believe that. I went to the 9:40 show at Kendall Square last night and was surprised to not leave the theater until after midnight, especially since there were only 2-3 trailers. I just saw in Landmark Theaters's weekly mailing that the English version is 116min while the Japanese one is 136. And here I'd felt a little silly about waiting for the late show because it's the only time this story that takes place in Victorian England could be seen in its original Japanese!

    And I loved the movie. Maybe a little bloated, but visually astounding, with possibly the second best action sequences we'll see all year (there IS a Star Wars movie coming out in May, after all), and full of fun characters.
     
  11. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2002
    Messages:
    1,713
    Likes Received:
    226
    Real Name:
    Bryan Tuck
    I really do want to see this, as well, but I am astonished that American studios are still making cuts to these films. Maybe there is a special circumstance in this case. A dub is understandable, but in this day and age, what reason would they have to remove 20 minutes from the film? Don't they realize this most likely lessens the film's box office take among its target audience, simply because they are waiting until the uncut version is made available?

    Sorry; like I said, I don't know the situation here, and apparently, as others have said, the uncut version is floating around in some places. I just wonder why this is done. At any rate, I'll probably still see the film, but I imagine a lot of folks who would have gone to see it will wait until they know they can see the full version.
     
  12. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    As to why - 2:16 is right about where you're talking three shows a day rather than four, or at the very least you're looking at a latish start/end for the last one, especially if you stick previews/ads on it. The Kendall only had three previews on the print I saw, but that's less than usual.

    Also, I don't know if the anime enthusiasts are necessarily the "primary audience", as far as Sony is concerned. They're your core and your base, but I was at the theater where Steamboy was playing yesterday to see a different movie, and there were a fair number of kids there, which is highly unusual for the boutique place. I haven't seen the English-language version yet, but I have to admit, the film could use a little tightening, and kids could get squirmy in the beginning and middle of this one.
     

Share This Page