Okay, deep dark secret time here. I know almost nothing about Anime.
Okay, I know, I know -- I'll leave my movie geek credentials at the door.
I've never seen Ghost in the Shell. I've never seen Kiki's
Delivery Service. I've never even seen Pokemon.
In fact, the
closest thing I'd ever seen to Sky Blue is the old Heavy Metal
movie, and that was over twenty years ago. Before that, you have to go
all the way back to Speed Racer.
I'm a little naive when it comes to the rules and conventions of the art
form. I'm not looking at this as an animation junkie, just an
interested moviegoer. On that level, I was pretty impressed by what I
saw. Sky Blue may not have been a spectacular film, however it
was a spectacular looking film that had the added benefit of being rather
entertaining as well.
movie (which was known as Wonderful Days in its original Korean
incarnation) is a post-apocalyptic fantasy of the Earth in the 22nd Century.
Due to increased environmental pollution (are you listening George W. Bush?)
the world has become a wasteland. Only one city is still able to
sustain life, a futuristic metropolis called Ecoban. Ecoban is very
much a class society, the clean and well-bred upper class lives a life of
quiet opulence. Their lifestyle is made possible upon the hard work of
the lower class, "the diggers," who live in squalor as they create energy
from the pollution.
story focuses on three people in this world. Jay is a beautiful
(female) agent who has to deal with both sides and feels for all humans.
Her boss is the more cold-hearted Cade, who will do anything in his power to
keep the status quo. They are both surprised when the computer is
breached by Shua, a former Ecoban resident they thought was dead, who is now leading the rebellion
of the Diggers. The three of them were friends as children, but Cade betrayed Shua and let him fall to his death ten years earlier (or so he
thought). Now Jay is torn as both men are in love with her, but are
trying to pull her in different directions as civil war breaks out.
like I said, I don't have much knowledge of anime, but I assume this isn't
an astoundingly original storyline for the form. However, it is done
in such a stylish, eye-popping manner that it you overlook some slightly
conventional plot twists.
world of Ecoban is incredibly impressive, as created by a mixture of CGI, cell animation, live action
and miniatures. Much of the background
animation is worthy of framing, and even simple shots like falling rain
hitting the ground are spectacularly beautiful.
have one small qualm with the animation, it is in the character design.
While the backgrounds are exploding with movement and color, the actual
people we are watching seem strangely static -- often only their lips and
eyes are moving during entire conversations. Even The Simpsons
work harder than that.
Sky Blue has been making the festival circuit (it was screened at the
2004 Sundance Festival, San Francisco Film Festival and Leeds Film Festival)
as well as making its way into some cities like Los Angeles and New York.
If it makes it near you, it is worth tracking down for the opportunity to
view it on the big screen. Sky Blue is visually stunning and
well worth seeing for that reason alone. It's a nice surprise that it
is not the only reason.
Copyright ©2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: December 28, 2004.