Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Josh Smith & r & Steam Boy & r & When you wait nearly 14 years for the next film from an animator-director, your expectations are bound to be high. If it's taken this long to complete, it must good -- right? For casual anime fans, Steamboy stands as the follow-up picture to Katsuhrio Otomo's 1998 American debut, Akira.


Steamboy, however, much like the technology at its heart, takes some time to build up, er, steam. James Ray Steam is the son and grandson of eminent inventors Dr. Edward Steam and Dr. Lloyd Steam, who have been working in America since their ideas are too radical to be accepted in England. Once the Steamball, a device providing seemingly limitless steam power, is mysteriously delivered to the Steam household, Ray is drawn into a tale of Victorian corporate espionage. And much like an old steam-powered tractor, the movie begins to rattle and clank its way forward. Some of the storytelling is choppy; various characters at various times inexplicably change the way they act. Ray quickly begins helping his father with his work, never really questioning why his grandfather had told him why he was dead. (Me, I'd have a few questions, in particular about the new mask covering half his face.) The American voice dub tends to accentuate this impression of uneven performances, Anna Paquin's Ray comes off as overly melodramatic and just doesn't stand up next to the performances of Alfred Molina and Patrick Stewart (as Eddie and Lloyd Steam). Watching the film subtitled with the original Japanese voice cast is definitely recommended.


Despite its rattling faults, the film is a solid steam-punk story, and Otomo's animation blends traditional cell and CG animation beautifully. The film has a detail-rich look that maintains interest even when it takes odd detours into ornate steamships and a menagerie of steam-powered contraptions, from infantry suits to tanks. In its conclusion, the movie wants to preach about the misuse of science, but instead just devolves into melodrama. Yet even though Steamboy fails as a piece of social criticism, it certainly succeeds as an action-adventure film.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Odds And Ends
  • Odds And Ends

    Idaho lawmakers are pulled in lots of directions; plus, SPD weighs a "culture audit"
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Four Days A Week
  • Four Days A Week

    Idaho schools that dropped one day a week from their schedule are saving a little money — but at what cost?
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • A County Ombudsman?
  • A County Ombudsman?

    Weighing the costs and benefits of oversight at the Spokane County Sheriff's Office
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Opening Day for Trails

Opening Day for Trails @ Spokane

Sat., March 28

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


Comment


marijuana


Publisher's Note


long reads


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation