Metropolis Review : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread

"The opening 15 minutes of Metropolis is one of the most visually stunning stretches in animation history, and that's saying a lot...Two things make Metropolis a stunner. First are those visuals, which are as rich and layered as any I've seen in an animated film. The futuristic world, full of giant cogs and gears, vast underground machinery and dirigible blimps flying among the buildings, makes the Gotham of Batman seem like a smudgy sketch. Second, the film Feels like a dream-or nightmare-of the current world situation. No film, certainly not Colateral Damage, has been so altered by the events of Sept 11. Because Metropolis was made well before that attack, it is an astonishing piece of prophecy. Not that it follows the events of history literally, but it is like a dream, in which all the important elements of history float around and latch onto each other in random affinities...I don't want to dissect this thing...but the cross currents of the Middle East, the city of Metropolis-a New York stand-in if ever there were one-and a feeling of ecological apocalypse all mix in one ironic potencey. And at the end, the scenes of a post-apocalyptic city look eerily like Manhattan below Wall Street after the attack...purely for its visionary force, Metropolis must already be the film to beat in its category for the Oscars a year from now"-(Richard Nilsen-Az Republic).

-- Barb e. (, March 02, 2002


This movie was very different than what I expected, thank goodness for the input from you guys here because I was a little foggy on what was going on. An incredibly rich tapestry of visuals art with the most diverse and bizarre color schemes I've ever seen yet in these animes. The change of Tima's behavior was totally unexpected for me, I kept expecting her to respond to Tenichi's desperate pleas to come back. That the theme was transient love was an interesting twist in the story. What I didn't understand was what at the end when the crowd of robots called 'Tima' 'Tima' and made Tenichi smile. My friends believed it was because a part of her consciousness was absorbed by the robots and he felt comforted by it. I also wonder if Otomo's point, (of whom we already noted regarding his characters remaining sexless), is love is so transient that it is too much to risk feeling the strong attractions Tenichi did.

-- Barb e. (, March 03, 2002.

Does anyone know what medium the backgrounds were done in? Peter, I'm sure you do but I'm not sure you are here to give this answer. As for the first scene being 6 months in the works, was it all one cel per crowd scene movement? The scene in which Tenichi finds himself abandoned by Tima, even though it was not of her choosing, still is on my mind. I think it was very powerful. When Tima's face began to be destroyed as she dies I wonder if it was to help drive home the fact that Tenichi could 'see' her death and so the death of her identity. The movie puts the question to the audience, "who am I" as coming from a robot, but we also ask the same question. Tenchi was in love with a being who was of artificial intelligence. I wonder if it was a comment on the issues of abandonment and death, like a modern Romeo and Juliet, and how hard it is to come to terms with those issues. The scene where in which he found her heart made me think of a very old story, the Tin soldier, making it beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time.

-- Barb e. (, March 04, 2002.

Anyone notice Rintaro played the clarinet in the movie soundtrack? The music was ragtime. Made me think of Woody Allen. I find myself remembering parts of this movie at all times of the day, it was so different looking from the previous movie they made, Vampire Hunter D, which had its own style of gorgeous art style. I'm finding I like anime more than most recent films because the art is a special accomplishment all on its own. Although I have to say South Park could be a 'tad' less crude. Maybe move it up to a notch just under the Three Stooges or something. Without Aeon Flux around you can see what depths I've sunk to.

-- Barb e. (, March 11, 2002.

You thought I had short blonde hair? That's Lady Morgan you're thinking of and I'm crushed. To quote her, "heheh". Kristine with braids? Hmm...I wonder Scarecrow;) haha, (me)but oooh it would be fun to all go to a movie together, no kidding.

-- Barb e. (, March 14, 2002.

Paul you are no idiot. Anyone who loves Grave of the Fireflies can't be. Meanwhile far away somewhere in Afghanastan in the back of a dimly lit cave the tired and failed rebels gather round Osama Bin Laden, who sits smoking natural substances such as carrots and pondering aloud speaks: 'can it be really be true; Kristine has short brown braids'?

-- Barb e. (, March 15, 2002.

I'm game. How?

-- Barb e. (, March 15, 2002.

I have yet to buy this cd. Speaking of this incredible crowd scene in the begining of Metropolis that took so much work (3 second long/six months to animate) South Park featured a huge crowd of their own little guys as priests at a Vatican assembly all sitting down at once when protocol allowed (after the Pope) with the most fascinating 'sitting down' sound accompanying it. It immediately brought to mind the effort of Metropolis and probably their own desire to try something like it. I would love to know what animators were amazed at the efforts of that movie.

-- Barb e. (, July 10, 2002.

Interesting fact here. I remember reading somewhere that the crowd scene in the beginning, which only takes up about 3 seconds of screen time, took SIX MONTHS to animate because it is so detailed and has so many people being animated simultaneously.

-- Logo (, March 03, 2002.

Well, Kenichi was holding Tima's heart at the end. And look how happy he was. I think he intended to rebuild her in some form.

-- Inukko (, March 03, 2002.

Also, weren't the robots scavenging for Tima's parts? I interpreted their saying "Tima" as "Tima here, Tima there"... look, it's a shoulder! A leg! Internal casing! Just so they don't do an A.I. on her ;-)

-- Inukko (, March 03, 2002.

I think that love was anything but transient in this movie. Duke Red's love of his deceased daughter prompted him to make a robot in her image. Rock's love of his father (or his desire to be loved by his father) was the imetus for most of his actions. Kenichi's love for Tima prompted him to risk his own life on many occasians, even when all hope seemed to be lost. It's true that the people at whom this love is directed often disappear; Duke Red loses his daughter, Rock is disowned by Duke Red, and Tima turns on Kenichi, but they still keep loving them. You know that Kenichi will never stop loving Tima even when he is an old man despite the fact that she is gone. And in the end, it was human emotions that toppled the greatest scientific achievement the world had ever seen, the Ziggurat. Duke Red's judgement in constructing it was clouded by his emotions for his daughter, and Rock's emotions led to the self-sacrifice that toppled it. So I don't think love is transient in this movie at all. Everyone is haunted by love or the desire to be loved.

As for why the robots at the end made Kenichi smile, I thought it was just because they were his friends and they were trying to cheer him up. I kind of viewed his smiles as saying "I'm touched by your kindness" rather than "I've forgotten Tima," or "I'll rebuild Tima."

-- Logo (, March 04, 2002.

I think the way they did it was that all the characters were done using cel animation and all the backgrounds were done using CG. The reason the crowd scene in the beginning took so long was because there were hundreds of characters in that scene all moving independantly and they were all animated by hand.

-- Logo (, March 05, 2002.

South Park, huh? That reminds me of an odd dream I had. I was seeing Metropolis in a large rectangular theatre, in the middle of a park (/campus?). I remember greeting both you and Kristine (you had short blond hair, Kristine had long brown braids) at the lobby before settling in to watch the film. Unfortunately, it was a badly dubbed "new" version of Metropolis, that had been re-written to include references to how incompetent Bin Laden was. Worse, some of the computer graphics had been replaced with awkward looking live action (shades of Cool World) including a scene of little girls skipping rocks across a river, somewhere in the American wilderness! "hmm, this isn't right..." I remember thinking. Meanwhile, Kristine just stared at me, in a "THIS is the film you raved about?" kind of way. Heh... that's what I get for falling asleep to Comedy Central...

-- Inukko (, March 12, 2002.

I still have yet to see this movie, so I've refrained from reading the commentary... I'm waiting for the DVD release it seems.

-- Mat Rebholz (, March 12, 2002.

Yes, I'm an idiot. Maybe when the new Peter Chung film comes out I'll get to see what you all look like. I only know Charles Martin's ugly mug (just kidding Charlie).

"the rebel's coup failed like Osama Bin Laden, on a good day"

-- Inukko (, March 15, 2002.

I actually have short brown braids. But I'm planning to grow them out long so I can be Brunhilda.

-- Kristine Rooks (, March 15, 2002.

We should all post pictures of ourselves sometime.

-- Mat Rebholz (, March 15, 2002.

The Metropolis DVD is out now. It's a two disc set and I want to know if anyone has it and can comment on the extras.

-- Logo (, April 27, 2002.

I finaly saw Metropolis, as it just came out in this country yesterday. Our newspaper called it the best anime ever made.

-- Sam (, July 13, 2002.

Getting Metropolis on DVD is pretty much a no-brainer. This is the kind of film that you can watch twenty times and still see something new each time. And the DVD has some pretty nice extras too. The "making of" is kinda weak but the interviews are well done. And there is a decent amount of production art too for any budding character designers out there. And this disc is a polyglot's dream come true since there are bout 10 different subtitle tracks on it. Incidentally, the English dub is actually very well done. And it helps in a movie like this where you don't want to have to read subtitles since your eyes are constantly being drawn to the beautiful scenery.

On a slightly related note, this movie was produced by studio Madhouse, the same animation studio that is handling Peter Chung's segment of Animatrix. While I don't expect Animatrix to be as visually splendiferous as Metropolis (Metropolis did take almost six years to produce) I'm wondering if Mr. Chung will be utilizing computer graphics for the first time in one of his works; if only in the unobtrusive manner of Metropolis?

-- Logo (, July 15, 2002.

Peter commented in one of his last posts (I don't remember which thread) that he was working with integrating computer effects with his work in Animatrix, what kind I don't know. Perhaps something like they use in Futurama? (That effect where 2d designs are "molded" around a 3d model to create a seamless look). If I'm not mistaken, Peter has used some limited computer effects in some of his commercials (G-Police, I think? I might be horribly wrong on this one.)

-- Mat Rebholz (, July 15, 2002.

I think Futurama just uses cell shading to acheive that look. And that technique is actually pretty common in video games today. Just check out shots of the new Legend of Zelda game. Actually, a lot of the CG shots in Metropolis were also cell shaded. For artistic reasons though it had a different kind of look.

Personally I don't really care what techniques are used as long as a new and exciting visual experience is created. Peter Chung's style is already very dynamic and kinetic, but if CG can enhance that effect then I say bring it on.

-- Logo (, July 18, 2002.

Ack, Celda!?!?

-- Sam (, July 18, 2002.

I really liked the film, but I'm not altogether sure that Rock's actions were mainly because he wanted love or affection from his 'father'. He was/ seemed like a pretty emotionless person, ie shooting people, manipulating them, etc, etc, what do you think? I actually prefer the idea that he was a ruthless person rather than a desparate one, but that's just me...

-- Allie (, April 06, 2003.

Don't remember for certain, but I think, on the dvd, inside the making, Otomo offers some clear insights into his "favourite character", Rock.

You could say his coldness towards people was the byproduct of his fathers coldness towards him. Or, he may have been influenced to be ruthless simply because his father was. Or a bit of both.

-- Sam (, April 06, 2003.

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