Bebop: The Movie
Cowboy Bebop? Is that some sort of dance?
Wrt: Marc Handler, Keiko Nobumoto, Hajime Yatate
Dir: Sinichiro Watanabe
Str: Beau Billimgslea, Wendee Lee, Melissa Charles, David
Opens April 4th
things first. How about that Spirited Away? Winning
Best Animated Feature, beating that whole pile of upchuck
churned out by the Disney and pseudo-Disney studios. And
on top of it, they re-released it in theaters last weekend.
Way to go Miyazaki! Nice work Mr. Academy, maybe there's
some hope for you after all.
There is very little animation that can rival the Japanese,
especially the good Japanese animation. Cowboy Bebop
stands firm as one of the best animated shows made in recent
history. The series is a terrific staple of anime, rejuvenating
many of the classic anime plots, character archetypes and
settings, which were all becoming over used and played out.
The show doesn't feel very inventive, but it is deeper and
better thought-out than much of the nouveau anime.
The series is a 26 episodes behemoth. Thankfully, unlike
with a lot of anime series-come-movies, the writers did
not try to condense the series into a two-hour montage,
instead opting for a continuation of the tentative plots
established in the series. But still, because it's a movie,
and because you have to try and capture as much of the characters
as you can and sum them up for the people who haven't seen
the show, the depth of character - which is a foundation
of the series-- feels quite lacking in the movie.
The plot runs exactly along the lines of the series - namely
there is some guy wanted by the law for doing something
intensely awful, and he somehow ties into the personal lives
of all three bounty hunters who set out to catch him. The
only real difference is in the quality of animation. Given
how much more of a budget a movie gets compared to its original,
it's quite common to see a feature outstrip it's originator
so much that it feels almost garish. They go way overboard
trying to cover up the grittiness of the original with flashy
new CGI tricks resulting in a highly fabricated product.
And while Cowboy Bebop: The Movie's animation is far superior
to the series, the visuals do step out of the style originally
set forth. With the exception of the closing credits (which
are brilliantly done), the entire movie looks like a slightly
sharper, slightly more expensive episode. It's as though
every aspect of the series' animation style was made better,
and so, visually, the entire concept of Cowboy Bebop
is raised up a notch or two.
Ultimately, however, the movie is overshadowed by its series.
The show was so popular, and it's fans are so fanatical,
that if they tried to elevate the story or the characters
at all, the public outcry would have been immense. Therefore
there was nothing they could do but make the movie into
an hour and a half long episode. And while its an excellent
episode, the movie never even tries to transcend it's roots;
that's the price of coming from excellence, the best move
you can hope for is a lateral one.
There's a lot of action, in fact it's really all about the
action. More so than the TV show, even. Especially impressive
is the final fight. Usually in action movies, the ultimate
show down is a little anti-climactic, but with Cowboy Bebop,
it's really everything you expected, and then some.
Two thin veils covering an emaciated plot
Like I said, it's really all about the action. The show
was never very plot heavy, opting for a deep history of
character, and an unprecedented detail to the universe its
planets and their societies. But not too much plot. Which
Two and a Half hipsters, all with blue hair for some
Cowboy Bebop is perfect for anyone who likes anime,
whether or no they have seen the show. For those that are
indifferent towards anime, this movie will feel -entertaining
and enjoyable. For those of you unlucky dimwits who have
no love for the neon hair and ridiculously large eyes you'll
probably just wonder what the hell is going on and how you
ended up paying ten bucks to watch a freaking cartoon. If
you're going to see an animated movie this month, see Spirited
Away, but if you've already seen it, see Cowboy Bebop.