Metropolis (2001)

metropolis poster 2001 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking movie

Somewhat long and story loses some direction

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Metropolis

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  May 26, 2001

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

metropolis fish aquarium

It is really embarrassing when it takes a big dump during a meeting

Metropolis is the city of the future.  Now, the massive Ziggurat has been unveiled and only needs a controller.  Things however are not good in Metropolis.  Robots are treated as slaves and have put people out of work, creating resentment and unrest.  The “leader” of Metropolis Duke Red has decided to put a superhuman robot created in the image of his deceased daughter Tima on the throne of power, but the robot was created by a mad scientist named Dr. Laughton who is under investigation by Sunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi.  Duke Red’s adopted son Rock isn’t happy about his father’s plans.  When Rock’s attack leads Kenichi to the robot, Kenichi and robot begin an adventure of discovery to find the amnesiac robot’s origin.  Will the robot (now named Tima) save or destroy Metropolis and the world?

Directed by Rintaro, Metropolis (or メトロポリス or Metoroporisu) is a loose adaption of the 1949 manga by acclaimed manga writer Osamu Tezuka and adapted and animated by Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo.  The movie received positive reviews upon its release and has gained a following.  The U.S. release of the film was delayed due to 9/11 because filmmakers believed the collapse of the Ziggurat resembling the World Trade Center collapse.

metropolis 2001 tima robot fifi

Hey, Tima…other robots like to use the light too!!!

Metropolis has a bit of an odd history.  Tezuka based his whole book on the 1927 Fritz Lang German expressionism film Metropolis…but he never saw the movie.  The real basis was the famous poster of Metropolis with the female robot Maria, but the story does have some parallels to the actual plot of the movie (with rebellions and slave labor).  The director Rintaro has said that if Osamu Tezuka was still alive, he probably wouldn’t have been allowed to make the film.

The story of Metropolis does have some really slow points.  The movie feels a bit misdirected in the role of Sunsaku Ban and his search for Dr. Laughton.  A robot detective is introduced in this portion of the story and it feels like it is supposed to be a bigger and more meaningful role.  The real thrust of the story is Tima, her relationship with Kenichi, her “father” Duke Red, and Rock…Sunsaku Ban just seems out of place and slows the story down (along with the whole overthrow of Duke Red).

There is a strange moment in the movie where Kenichi’s uncle Sunsaku makes a couple of statement that Kenichi is unique.  I felt that there was more to this story and that the reason that Sunsaku was hunting Laughton because Kenichi was really a robot created by Laughton also…I kept waiting for this to pan out in a Blade Runner type twist, but it never happened.  I thought it would be an interesting twist and help build the reason behind his strange relationship with Tima.

metropolis tima ending robot kenichi i cant stop loving you

I think I CAN stop loving you…

The visuals for Metropolis however are pretty stunning.  Katsuhiro Otomo seems to have evolved from Akira but brings in the good aspects of Akira to this film.  The last sequence where the Ziggurat collapses is great, especially how it was combined with the song “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles…furthering the cyberpunk feel.

The first time I saw Metropolis, I wasn’t very impressed.  I felt that while the visuals were amazing, the story dragged.  Upon a second viewing, this has softened a bit.  Yes, the story is still long, but it seems to flow better than I remember it.  If you are a fan of Akira some of Katsuhiro Otomo’s other work, this is a must…Metropolis is a feast for the eyes.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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