Steamboy The relatively novel practice of re-voicing Japanese animated features in English may strike some as impure, but in the case of Steamboy , the eagerly… Steamboy The relatively novel practice of re-voicing Japanese animated features in English may strike some as impure, but in the case of Steamboy , the eagerly… 2005-03-18 PG-13 PT107M Animation Alfred Molina Anna Paquin Patrick Stewart Sony Pictures Entertainment
Movie Review

Steamboy (2005)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Steamboy | SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT Parts of this retro fable rumble along — others just don’t fit
SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT Parts of this retro fable rumble along — others just don’t fit
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Limited Release: Mar 18, 2005; Rated: PG-13; Length: 107 Minutes; Genre: Animation; With: Alfred Molina, Anna Paquin and Patrick Stewart; Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment

The relatively novel practice of re-voicing Japanese animated features in English may strike some as impure, but in the case of Steamboy, the eagerly awaited second feature from Katsuhiro Otomo, whose 1988 Akira is one of the touchstones of anime, it's nothing if not appropriate. The film takes place in a Jules Verne fantasy of Victorian London, a formal gray kingdom of bowler hats, muttonchop sideburns, and magic industrial inventions.

I can't imagine what it would sound like in Japanese. Porn, cyberpunk, down-the-rabbit-hole reverie: It's hard to think of a corridor of outlandish imagination through which anime hasn't passed. Steamboy, by contrast, is a work of stodgy retro classicism. The hero, voiced by Anna Paquin (well, why not?), discovers that his father, a scarred megalomaniac, has built the Steam Castle — a gigantic fortress of pipes, levers, and pressure gauges that rises over London like a wrought-iron factory version of the mothership in Close Encounters. It's nifty to behold, but about the only drama in Steamboy lies in waiting for this colossal hovering machine-monster to blow a gasket.

Originally posted Mar 22, 2005 Published in issue #813 Apr 01, 2005 Order article reprints
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