TV Party Tonight! #59

TV Party Tonight! #59

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Friday, 02 November 2018
DVD/Blu-Ray

Metropolis
[Blu-ray steel book]

You might not know this, but the secret to a good sci-fi movie is world-building. The plot is almost secondary. What people really want to see is how the future is being represented (or the past, for that matter). Don’t believe me? Watch Blade Runner and think about what happens. A character is given a job, and it takes him 2 hours to do it. What makes Blade Runner truly great is the world in which that story takes place. Knowing this is key when watching sci-fi. And it’s key when you watch Metropolis.

I’m a fan of anime, and like I am with anything, I like to make sure I understand the context. For that, you have to consume the classics. But, I’ve evaded Metropolis for years. I simply never got around to it. But Mill Creek has recently reissued it on blu-ray and in a gorgeous steel case, nonetheless. So now’s as good a time as any.

Metropolis seems to be a prime example of what I was talking about because it’s all about the world where it’s taking place. It’s sci-fi for sure, but it takes place in an alternate past (?), mixing art-deco with steampunk and a healthy dose of robots. Within the first 5 minutes it becomes shockingly clear that Metropolis looks unlike any modern anime, which is a feat in and of itself considering it came out in the 2000s. The characters have exaggerated cartoonish looks, juxtaposed in a hyperrealistic, super detailed world. Metropolis is a product of its time but not really considering it’s based on Tezuka’s Metropolis from early 7 years ago. The setting is absolutely immersive with its art-deco style and jazz music. As far as look and setting are concerned, Metropolis is already a winner. But, it does more than just that. Metropolis tells a story that’s familiar yet as touching now as ever. It mixes class conflict, with the search for identity, religion, love and acceptance. The characters are complex in their emotions and their drive. Director Rintaro tells this story as you would a crime novel which all but saves his movie from running out of steam (no pun intended). This way, we truly get to enjoy the way these characters live.

Throughout Metropolis, we get more pieces of the puzzle and get to discover the glorious, detailed, and colorful world in which it’s taking place. This movie is both style and substance and continues to drop jaws as it did almost 20 years ago. Simply marvelous and a great package by Mill Creek to boot.

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