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Metropolis Review

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Duke Red's attempt to use Tima (a robotic doppelgõnger of his dead daughter) to figurehead his bid for world domination.

★★★★★

Back in 1949, the godfather of manga, Osamu Tezuka, published a comic-book homage to Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece, Metropolis. Sadly, this anime reworking owes more to Blade Runner than the original concept, while the CGI pyrotechnics sit uncomfortably with the more traditionalist Gothic artwork and a jaunty jazz score.

What makes this all the more disappointing is the fact that it has been scripted by Katsuhiro Otomo (the force behind Akira) and directed by Rintaro, who made anime a staple of Japanese childhood when he adapted another Tezuka creation, Astro Boy, for television in the 1960s. Teeming with ideas, but lacking focus, the story of Duke Red's attempt to use Tima (a robotic doppelgõnger of his dead daughter) to figurehead his bid for world domination begins in confusion and ends in chaos.

Anime legend Rintaro's re-working of Fritz Langís 1926 classic is a hugely ambitious project. With a script by Akira creator Katzuhiro Otomo, it's suitably epic in its vision, but has some trouble holding the whole story together due to the large cast of characters. For the stunning visuals alone it's a must-see for anime fans.

Far from being a complete film it's nods to a host of films, from Dr. Zhivago to Blade Runner, make it simply one of the most beautiful animated films ever produced.

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