It has the screenplay penned by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, writer/director of Akira. The director is Tarô Rin, director of numerous anime including X. And it’s based upon a classic manga by the same name. If you understood any of this, especially if you successfully identified anyone, then you are a prime candidate for Metropolis.
Metropolis is a future wonderland of a city, with the coronation of Duke Red’s gigantic Ziggurat building, to which he plans to rule the world. He’s evil. Detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi have been hired from Japan to find an illegal organ trader who they believe has some connection to Duke Red. Sure enough, with his help the duke is building the most powerful robot named Tima who also happens to look pristine like his deceased daughter. His adopted son Rock takes offense, kills the organ trader, and chases Kenichi and Tima through the subterranean bowels of the city. Then there’s some chase scenes. And… um… the disaster montage ending. There’s your story folks.
Time for an anime checklist. Androgynous heroes? Check. Sprite looking females with super duper powers? Check. Bad guys with snozes like Toucan Sam? Check. Robots, robots, robots? Check. A story that bites off more than it can chew? Check. Gratuitous nudity and grotesque gore? Nope. Well this is a PG-13 movie.
Metropolis is without a doubt one of the most beautiful animated films I have ever seen. The dazzling vistas of the city are a wonder to behold. Metropolis is an amazing movie to watch. To say it is candy for the eyes is an understatement; it’s Girl Scout cookies for the eyes. The visuals are astonishing but the story lacks any character development. The script borrows heavily from Blade Runner, Brazil and the original Fritz Lang silent masterpiece Metropolis. There’s also a rather dumbfounding sequence where the montage of destruction, including the annihilation of the Ziggurat, set to Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”
For anime fans it all won’t matter. The film is a sight to behold. It’s gorgeous but flaccid in its thinking and plotting.
Nate’s Grade: B-