East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Steamboy: They go up-tiddly-up-up, they go down-tiddly-down-down

The marquee attractions of Steamboy are the contrabulous fabtraptions: a unicycle where you ride inside the wheel, a "steam automotive", and all sorts of magnificent men in their flying machines. Many of these are weapons of war, and so to ease somebody-or-other's conscience, we get lots of speechifying about how science should be for the common good and not be an extension of the will to power. I wish director Otomo Katsuhiro had taken his own advice and spent less time destroying Victorian London, and more time exploring his version of this world. Here Otomo may be lifting from Chirs Ware's comic Jimmy Corrigan, which also featured a girl leading a boy to a view of a Great Exhibition. The abundance of immensity in Steamboy means its rooftop panorama doesn't have the jawdropping effect of Ware's - perhaps the same effect felt by those who attended such expos in the nineteeth century. Still, with the characters as mechanized as the rest of the movie (apart from the eye-rollingly-named Scarlett O'Hara, who is merely annoying,) this respite from techieness more or less saves the movie.


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