Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
This long-awaited anime extravaganza from the forces behind the epochal Akira takes place in a breathtaking vision of the future, as it might have been dreamt up in the Victorian heyday of steam power.
“This retro sci-fi adventure basks in the velvety browns of an intricately designed Victorian England, merging hand-drawn animation with 3D CGI for maximum eye-popping delight. The hero’s journey begins when a young, third-generation inventor named Ray Steam obtains a mysteriously powerful, little black ‘steam ball’ from his wily grandfather. Told to protect it under any cost, Ray soon finds himself chased by the henchmen of a power-hungry capitalist, who happens to be his own father. Seduced by the dark side of power, the ol’ bad dad is prone to giving grandiose speeches of how ‘the Age of Science is just beginning!’ and other such ambiguously villainous monologues… Ray escapes his first round of baddies on a chug-chugging sort of human hamster-wheel, the first of the film’s one-upping contraptions that almost begs to be asked, what will they steam power next? … The breathtaking splendor never lets up, crescendoing to an epic battle between Steam Sr.’s army of ‘steam troopers’ (think Star Wars) and Britain‘s bobbies at the site of the Great Exhibition, with little Ray flying through the family feud on yet another pressurized invention… This razzle-dazzle ride won’t disappoint if you just need to blow off a little you-know-what.” — Aaron Hillis, Premiere