Home  •  About  •  Contact  •  Twitter  •  Google+  •  Facebook  •  Tumblr  •  Youtube  •  RSS Feed
Metropolis

Metropolis

By Arpad Lukacs • April 21st, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
METROPOLIS (MOVIE)
Toho

Original release: May 26th, 2001
Running time: 113 minutes

Country of origin: Japan
Original language: Japanese

Director: Rintaro
Writer: Katsuhiro Otomo

Cast: Brianne Siddall, Rebecca Forstadt, Tony Pope, Michael Reisz, Jamieson Price

Metropolis

Given the rate with which technology has been integrated into various aspects of life, it’s hard to imagine the society of the future without a strong robotic presence. This surely needs to be taken into account when re-imagining the epic story of Fritz Lang’s science fiction classic Metropolis (1927). It’s not just going to be one robot; there will be many. Hundreds of thousands of artificially created servants performing various jobs, many are highly sophisticated – and before we know it, they form a distinct layer of society that’s subject to prejudice, discrimination and hostility.

In this Metropolis, directed by Rintaro with a script written by the creator of Akira (1988) Katsuhiro Otomo, robots have become a third class in addition to the bourgeois at the top and the proletariat in the middle. With that, the upper class is more at liberty to operate freely as the robots are being blamed for the growing unemployment – taking the heat off of the class that is the true cause of depravity and the increasingly fascistic hold on the population. The city is segregated similarly to its older counterpart, with its top being the utopia of wishful thinking while the lower zones are destitute ghettos living in the shadow of decadence.

Private detective Shunsaku (Tony Pope) and his nephew Kenichi (Brianne Siddall) travel to the city to be our fish-out-of-the-water characters, helping us learn how things work in this tightly controlled world. They’re trying to track down and arrest the mad scientist Dr. Laughton (Simon Prescott) for illegal organ trafficking. Little do they know that the doctor is now working for Duke Red (Jamieson Price), a highly influential and wealthy character who seems to have become more powerful than President Boone (Steve McGowan) the official ruler of Metropolis.

Metropolis

While Duke Red’s adopted son Rock (Michael Reisz) is the leader of Marduk Party, a violent anti-robot vigilante group, the Duke is secretly working with Dr. Laughton to create a uniquely advanced robot modelled after his long lost daughter to help him rule the world. When Rock finds out that his father wants to give so much power to a robot, he goes rouge filled with jealous rage and burns down the lab before Tima (Rebecca Forstadt) could be completed. With that, the young robot is born out of a violent inferno and subsequently has to come to terms with her own identity.

While the story of Metropolis doesn’t hold many surprises, it probably wouldn’t be fair to expect so from a film that’s essentially a reboot of a classic cinematic gem. It’s a renewed experience of Fritz Lang’s original and as such, it’s a memorable update that takes the audience on an entertaining and yet thoughtful ride.

The animated characters struck me as deliberately nostalgic with just a slight hint Betty Boop at times, which looked really interesting when combined with Japanese anime. The somewhat surprising choice of New Orleans-style jazz music that accompanies almost every scene has a hugely significant role in shaping the character of the film; adding a strangely intriguing feel that stayed with me long after viewing. It’s kind of difficult to find a place for Metropolis within Japanese anime as it’s so heavily influenced by a German classic from the Weimar era, but I have no doubt that both fans of the original and that of anime in general should have this on their to-watch list.

Arpad Lukacs

Arpad Lukacs

Arpad is a Film Studies graduate and passionate photographer (he picked up the camera and started taking stills just as he began his studies of moving pictures). He admires directors that can tell a story first of all in images. More or less inevitably, Brian De Palma has become Aprad’s favourite filmmaker.

Then there’s Arpad’s interest in anime. He was just a boy when he saw Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind on an old VHS and was hypnotised by the story of friendship, devotion and sacrifice. He still marvels at the uncompromising and courageous storytelling in Japanese anime, and wonders about the western audience with its ever growing appetite for “Japanemation”.

Have a look at Arpad's photography site, and you can follow him on Twitter @arpadlukacs.

© 2018 STATIC MASS EMPORIUM . All Rights Reserved. Powered by METATEMPUS | creative.timeless.personal.   |   DISCLAIMER, TERMS & CONDITIONS

HOME | ABOUT | CONTACT | TWITTER | GOOGLE+ | FACEBOOK | TUMBLR | YOUTUBE | RSS FEED

CINEMA REVIEWS | BLU-RAY & DVD | THE EMPORIUM | DOCUMENTARIES | WORLD CINEMA | CULT MOVIES | INDIAN CINEMA | EARLY CINEMA

MOVIE CLASSICS | DECONSTRUCTING CINEMA | SOUNDTRACKS | INTERVIEWS | THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR | JAPANESE CINEMA