Review: Watching Steamboy on DVD

Just added some details about the DVD to my review of STEAMBOY, the Japanese animated film that came out last year.

This is about the only time I can remember enjoying a dubbed version of a movie better than a subtitled version. Since the story is set in England, it makes sense to have the characters speak English, and the cast does appropriate accents for charactes from Manchester (they end up sounding like the Beatles, kind of).

This dubbed version was released in American theatres around the same time as the subtitled version, last year; however, the English-language version was trimmed by about fifteen minutes. Now you can see the dubbed verison uncut -- probably the best way to see if if you're an English-speaking fan of anime.

Unfortunately, this is one of those DVDs that continues the annoying trend of automatically playing previews for upcoming movies when you put the disc in the machine. I like have the previews available on the disc, but I don't necessarily want to be coerced into watching commercials -- when they're part of a piece of property I might want to purchase!

Anyway, I did sit still for the trailer to FINAL FANTASY VII, and it kept making think: Is this a videogame or a movie? I can't stand those CGI renditions of human characters -- they all look like zombies to me. And the big action scenes fall flat because we know it's just computer fx. People who make this stuff are going to have to learn that they need to apply some kind of artistry that makes the images worth looking at -- just trying to make something look "real" is not enough. (Coincidentally, the might look to STEAMBOY for inspiration -- it uses computer graphics in a very satisfying way.)

I also watched the trailer for THE CAVE -- about some explorers in a deep cavern being stalked by a monster. Claustrophic setting, limited characters trapped with a monster and no way out -- can anyone say ALIEN? Actually, in terms of production values and no-name cast, the film looks more like an old low-budget horror movie from the 1950s (like something Roger Corman would have produced) but with better special effects. It almost seems amazing that there are posters in theatres advertising a theatrical release for this film; it sounds more like something that would go direct-to-video. Of course, I'll watch it anyway: you never know -- it might by a little sleeper gem.