From the proclaimed “god of manga” (Japanese comic books), Osamu Tezuka, comes this loose adaptation of the popular 1926 German sci-fi film Metropolis. Tezuka can be credited with initiating the anime craze way back in 1963 with the made-for-TV series Tetsuwan Atom (also called Astro Boy), a series based on his own comic strip featuring a robot boy.

The 1926 version of Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang and written by his wife, Thea von Harbou, was reportedly one of Hitler’s favorite films, and Lang was asked to become an official part of the Nazi filmmaking machine. Lang eventually fled the country for the U.S. The story focused on a shining metropolis of the future inhabited by beautiful, hedonistic types, the city being powered by masses of oppressed workers forced to live in the machinery levels underground. A young messianic woman from below begins to call for equality and freedom for her fellow workers, and the bosses above create a robot version of her to lead the revolt into chaos.

In the more recent version, the story is similar and delivered with some very attractive animation, though the levels of depicted violence should be noted. When robots are hunted down and terminated, it’s with extreme prejudice and lots of slow motion. This Metropolis probably deserves its PG-13 rating, though it’s nothing like some of the more hardcore anime like Ghost in the Shell, et al.

Darl Larsen

Film Info

Title: Metropolis (2001)
Country of Origin: Japan
Running Time: 108 min
Language: Japanese
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Sound Mix: DTS / Dolby Digital / SDDS
Color: Color
Certification: US: PG-13 / Argentina: Atp / Australia: PG / Brazil: 14 / Canada: 14A / Chile: 14 / France: U / Germany: 12 / Ireland: 12 / Japan: R / Netherlands: 12 / Spain: 7 / UK: PG
Releasing Company: Tristar Pictures
Producer: Yutaka Maseba
Director: Taro Rin
Writer: Osamu Tezuka (comic book), Katsuhiro Otomo (screenplay), Marc Handler (English version)
Designer: Shuichi Hirata
Composer: Toshiyuki Honda
Genre: Adventure / Animation / Sci-Fi