Korean director Moon Sang Kim's derivative science-fiction feature puts a gorgeous mix of CGI and traditional animation at the service of a cliched race-to-save-the-future tale wrapped around a sappy love triangle. The year is 2142 and ecological disaster has permanently blackened the sky. The world is pelted by toxic rain and mankind is divided into Haves and Have Nots. The Haves live in Ecoban, a self-contained city whose energy needs are catered to by the Have Nots "Diggers," they're called disdainfully who live in the blighted Wasteland and mine the carbonite that keeps Ecoban bright and beautiful and the sky hidden behind a pall of pollution. "Everybody wins," sneers brutal Ecoban overseer Commander Locke (David Naughton) cynically, "but some win more than others." Ecoban security agent Cade (English-language voice of Kirk Thornton) has loved fellow agent Jay (Catherine Cavadini) since they were children, though he loves Ecoban almost as fervently. But Jay always loved Shua (Marc Worden), with whom she dreamed of escaping to the fabulous land of Gibralter and who once encouraged her to sneak outside the city walls to glimpse a rare sunny day and was banished to the wasteland for a crime Cade committed. Shua found refuge with Dr. Noah (also Naughton) and a band of misfits, including street urchin Woody (Rebecca Wink) and Noah's vulnerable blind granddaughter, Cheyenne (also Cavadini). Now, as adults, their shared past comes back to haunt Jay, Cade and Shua as the oppressed Diggers prepare to rebel and Shua gets ready to undertake a desperate gamble to uncover the sky, destroying Ecoban in the process. BLADE RUNNER (1982), METROPOLIS (1927), MAD MAX (1979), APPLESEED (2004, based on Masamune Shirow's 1988 manga) and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine loom large among the influences that shape this film's dystopian look and attitudes, and the American voice actors deliver the lines in the flat, affectless tones that mar much dubbed anime. But as wallows in the miserable future go, it's a pretty terrific one: The animation is truly breathtaking, the action sequences are spectacular (and sometimes very violent) and everything floats along on the strains of Il Won's spare, hypnotic score.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Korean director Moon Sang Kim's derivative science-fiction feature puts a gorgeous mix of CGI and traditional animation at the service of a cliched race-to-save-the-future tale wrapped around a sappy love triangle. The year is 2142 and ecological disaster… (more)