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Metropolis on dual Blu-ray and DVD

Monday, 16 January 2017 00:00 Written by 

Metropolis - out now as a Limited Edition DVD and Blu-ray and soon as a Standard release“Metropolis” is an anime film indirectly and loosely based on the 1927 Fritz Lang classic movie of the same name, by way of a 1949 manga reimagining. Written by “Akira” legend Katsuhiro Otomo and directed by Rintaro (“Galaxy Express 999”), the film portrays a humble boy’s relationship with a state of the art robotic girl as they make their way through the weird, wonderful and sometimes frightening city of Metropolis.

Metropolis is built on three levels, with janitor robots and the poorest of the poor at the bottom, and the rich elites living above ground in a towering skyscraper. A terrorist/vigilante organisation called the Marduk resent the encroachment of robots in every quarter of life and plan to fight back aggressively, whilst a powerful industrialist called Duke Red is constructing a weapon of mass destruction to enforce his rule over everyone.

“Metropolis” is a very stylish and exquisitely crafted piece of dystopian animation. The backdrops are so rich in detail, especially in the Blu-ray version, that one almost feels the need to keep pausing the action to fully appreciate the fine artwork on display. The characters are smoothly animated and distinctive, and with the two elements combined you get an excellent sense of scale when the viewpoint zooms right out to show us tiny specs crawling within a gigantic city landscape.

CGI is blended with hand-drawn animation to great effect, though occasionally it does look a little bit too shiny and neat in comparison with the lived-in feel of the non-computerised art.

Some of the most memorable characters are robots designed for jobs such as garbage collection, hoovering and fire-fighting, with heaps of personality emerging, like R2D2, from a shuffling, animated tin can that beeps. By contrast, some of the human characters are a little grey and uninteresting.

The plot is vaguely reminiscent of the 1927 original but it has morphed such that it even steers a new path from the later manga release, though at the heart of all three lie the city, the humanoid robot and class upheaval.

My main issue with the film is it does not feel long enough to adequately deal with a wealth of such thorny issues as what it means to be human, the loss of a child, racism and class warfare, alongside the more intimate plot of the human boy, the android girl and the characters around them. The original film was more complete but then it did have an extra forty minutes to expand the narrative.

I watched the movie with the 5.1 English soundtrack, which was excellent. The voice acting is generally very good and the music features some brilliant jazzy numbers that really set the scene and give the world atmosphere.

Special features include:

  • High-definition presentation
  • Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Blu-ray
  • Three optional English subtitle tracks (US theatrical, original Japanese translation and newly commissioned subtitles for the English language track)
  • “The Making of Osamu Tezukas Metropolis” - a documentary on the film's production
  • Interviews with the film's creators
  • Multi-angle animation comparisons
  • Original trailer
  • Promotional trailer
  • Reversible sleeve

I found it quite challenging to keep up with the making-of because it is in Japanese with English subtitles. Reading these as they fly by, whilst also trying to keep up with what you are being shown is not easy!

“Metropolis” (2001) is out now in a limited edition, dual-format steelbook featuring a Blu-ray and DVD (two discs), courtesy of Eureka, with a regular plastic dual-format release following on 13 March 2017. The main feature has a running time of 110 minutes approx, carries a 'PG' certificate and retails for £27.99 (steelbook) or £17.99 (standard edition), or less from www.culttvstore.com BY CLICKING HERE.

 

Last modified on Monday, 16 January 2017 05:22

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