Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Steamboy returns to the Ken April 1

Midnight Saturday and Sunday morning screenings

Ray turns on the steam in his homemade monowheel.
Ray turns on the steam in his homemade monowheel.

Released in 2004, Steamboy examines the subject of technology and the modern world through a paucity of plot and an overabundance of vision. It demands a big-screen visit, which is exactly what you’ll get this Sunday when the Ken hosts a pair of no-April-fools screenings.

Reminiscent in design of Disney and Richard Fleischer’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and several more of author Jules Verne’s big screen adaptations to come out of Hollywood in the early ’60s, Katsuhiro Otomo’s obsessive recreation of 19th-century London and the industrial revolution is a triumph in dramatic animation.

Otomo’s epic vision spared no expenses. At a cost of $22 million American, it became Japan’s most expensive animated film.

A gifted teenage inventor — Ray Steam comes from a long line of tinkerers — acts as our guide. With dad off in Alaska, Ray receives a parcel from his grandfather containing a metallic orb. According to the pre-credit sequence, the sphere is a supreme source of power known as the “steam ball,” a radical (and potentially profitmaking) step forward in technology.

No sooner is it unwrapped than two dark figures come a-calling for the boy and the hunt begins. By truck, locomotive, and Zeppelin the chase continues, pitting son against father against grandfather on an exploration of trust, authority, and imagination.

And steam. So much so that the press notes actually included a brief history of condensation.

The idea of a world operating on mechanical steam machines came to Otomo in 1994 during the filming of Memories. To give Steamboy the extra dimensionality it needed, Otomo hand-picked a “dream team” of animators and together they devised a new and then unrivaled digital animation system.

The film’s message is clearly, if not overly, stated: technology should be used for the betterment of mankind, not its obliteration. Otomo employs this truism as a springboard, helping to free up plot constraints and focus instead on the various levels of discovery for both director and character.

The camera’s traversal of the three-dimensional landscapes is spectacular. But gravitational bearing, particularly in long shots, remained wobbly, and the rotoscoping, as always, adds starch to the silk. At least characters don’t freeze in their tracks to deliver a line of dialogue. Bugs Bunny can walk and talk at the same time, why can’t the kids over at Studio Ghibli?

Steamboy screens April 1 at midnight and the next day at 11 a.m. The Ken will have a 35mm print of the American-dubbed stoner and kid-friendly version.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Mexico after the millenium

Smuggling, TJ nightlife, deported, TJ as hip destination, can't stop thinking about TJ, cross-border kidnapping
Next Article

Building paradise in San Diego

Mission Valley, Tijuana gardens, Otay Mesa, downtown skyscrapers, One Paseo, Rancho Santa Fe mansion
Ray turns on the steam in his homemade monowheel.
Ray turns on the steam in his homemade monowheel.

Released in 2004, Steamboy examines the subject of technology and the modern world through a paucity of plot and an overabundance of vision. It demands a big-screen visit, which is exactly what you’ll get this Sunday when the Ken hosts a pair of no-April-fools screenings.

Reminiscent in design of Disney and Richard Fleischer’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and several more of author Jules Verne’s big screen adaptations to come out of Hollywood in the early ’60s, Katsuhiro Otomo’s obsessive recreation of 19th-century London and the industrial revolution is a triumph in dramatic animation.

Otomo’s epic vision spared no expenses. At a cost of $22 million American, it became Japan’s most expensive animated film.

A gifted teenage inventor — Ray Steam comes from a long line of tinkerers — acts as our guide. With dad off in Alaska, Ray receives a parcel from his grandfather containing a metallic orb. According to the pre-credit sequence, the sphere is a supreme source of power known as the “steam ball,” a radical (and potentially profitmaking) step forward in technology.

No sooner is it unwrapped than two dark figures come a-calling for the boy and the hunt begins. By truck, locomotive, and Zeppelin the chase continues, pitting son against father against grandfather on an exploration of trust, authority, and imagination.

And steam. So much so that the press notes actually included a brief history of condensation.

The idea of a world operating on mechanical steam machines came to Otomo in 1994 during the filming of Memories. To give Steamboy the extra dimensionality it needed, Otomo hand-picked a “dream team” of animators and together they devised a new and then unrivaled digital animation system.

The film’s message is clearly, if not overly, stated: technology should be used for the betterment of mankind, not its obliteration. Otomo employs this truism as a springboard, helping to free up plot constraints and focus instead on the various levels of discovery for both director and character.

The camera’s traversal of the three-dimensional landscapes is spectacular. But gravitational bearing, particularly in long shots, remained wobbly, and the rotoscoping, as always, adds starch to the silk. At least characters don’t freeze in their tracks to deliver a line of dialogue. Bugs Bunny can walk and talk at the same time, why can’t the kids over at Studio Ghibli?

Steamboy screens April 1 at midnight and the next day at 11 a.m. The Ken will have a 35mm print of the American-dubbed stoner and kid-friendly version.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Luna Bay Booch's San Diego origin story

Woman owned hard kombucha brand brewed elsewhere, now sold locally
Next Article

Albert Brooks’ mockinfomercial introduction

The glad-handing human laugh track, assures his audience, “That was funny.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close