Sky Blue


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Exactly what you take from this film depends on your expectations, so listen up. There is a story, but it's distinctly lacking in originality. There are characters, but they're not all that interesting, and the storytelling lacks pace.

What does Sky Blue have to offer? Visual mastery.

Sumptuous 2D animation and arresting 3D backgrounds, drawing on hundreds of influences, from classic post-apocalyptic sci-fi cinema, to dystopian landscape and Eastern history. Highly ambitious and impeccably crafted, this Korean animation scorches the eyeballs.

It's tone and form are descended from those seen in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Indeed, the plot feels like a warmed-over videogame, namely Final Fantasy 7.

The world has decayed from nuclear winter ("It's been raining forever"). The privileged city of Ecoban, genetically engineered to resist the radioactive muck, consumes carbon fuel, supplied by the workers on the outside. The story is reminiscent of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, with it's servant/master fascist relationship.

Ecoban was designed by Dr Noah, who has come to realise that it has served its purpose in keeping the human race alive and is no longer necessary; in fact, it is now polluting the atmosphere. Freedom fighters attempt to assault the city to restore the world to its natural order. And a love story between Shua, a city exile, and Jay, a security officer, churns things up a bit more.

In comparing Lang's masterpiece, the closest film I could think of to match Sky Blue's visual style is Kintaro's sorely underrated 2002 anime of Metropolis, with its sumptuous and startling mixture of 2D and 3D styles. Sky Blue is equally ambitious, but lacks the heart by which true cinematic kinship is formed.

However, the visual sorcery is on another level entirely. Its digital sets are rich, detailed to perfection. There are sublime tome poem sequences, where nothing much happens, but they exhibit stunning use of colour and superb camera use. It's like a mixture of the luscious detail of The Polar Express, with equally impossible and perfect camera shots, and the kind of high energy action movie impact and lyrical skill that Jerry Bruckheimer only wishes he could achieve.

A marvellous feast for the eyes. Nothing more, nothing less.

Reviewed on: 03 Aug 2005
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Post apocalyptic sci-fi anime from South Korea.
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Director: Moon-saeng Kim, Park Sunmin

Writer: Moon-saeng Kim, Jun-Young Park, Yong-jun Park

Starring: Marc Worden, Cathy Cavadini, Joon-ho Chung, David Naughton (English version), Hye-jin Yu, Ji-tae Yu

Year: 2003

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: South Korea/USA


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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within