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Cowboy Bebop
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: JoBlo
Cowboy Bebop order
Director:
Shinichir Watanabe

Actors:
Steven Blum
Wendee Lee
Jennifer Hale

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The year is 2071 and a group of bounty hunters have fallen upon a really bad man who is out to infect the world with a highly contagious virus that he is preparing to unleash into the big city. As governmental authorities, a local pharmaceutical company as well as their own team of defense also get involved, the team led by Spike and his cohorts seem to be the only ones finding the greatest clues to solve the mystery of this enigmatic man. Is the planet doomed or will our gang of hiply dressed gun-carrying mofos save the day?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I'm not a big fan of "anime" per se, but this movie was pretty damn good. It didn't play so much like your typical Japanimation flicks and felt more like a real sci-fi movie that just happened to be animated. I liked a lot of things about it, but most of all, I would have to say that I dug its "look". Set in an unknown futuristic big city (a little bit of NY, a little bit of Paris, etc...), it looked exactly as a city of that type would, with plenty of international flavor brooding all around, and our lead bounty hunter heroes, kickin' ass all around. What attracted me even more to the film were its leading players, specifically Spike, the hipster who can shoot, kick and punch with the better of them, while all the while smoking cigarettes like they were going out of style, as well as Faye, his bodacious assistant babe with who doesn't only click into the story really well, but also looks about as hot as any girl could in the cartoon world, with full-blown balloons as breasts and sexy outfits to help her...well, catch the bad guys, I suppose?

My favorite is the scene in which the "bad guy" ties her up as she struggles in high heels, thigh-high stockings and he cuts open her shirt (which somehow manages to still cover her breasts...wink-wink). The film is obviously not for the kiddies. It's rated R, but despite a couple of bloody killings, didn't particularly show me much reason to be rated as such. There was no swearing, no nudity and the violence was minimal, at best/worst. In fact, that was one of my main disappointments with the film-- there wasn't as much action as I would have liked. It also dragged a little around the one hour mark, with a little too much exposition and "moments of sitting around and talking" amongst characters, incorporated a strange soundtrack which worked at times but stood out at others, and featured one annoying brat of a character, who just seemed to talk gibberish and get on my nerves (the computer expert teen chick).

Having said all that, the story was interesting, the characters were somewhat developed and believable, and the film's final half hour went "all out" with plane chases, gorgeous scenery and one all-out ass-kicking fight mano-a-mano. More of those would have been cool though. I prefer these types of animated flicks to SPIRITED AWAY and the lot because those fantasy/wonder flicks seem to incorporate too much spiritual mumbo-jumbo, of which I am not a fan. Like I said earlier, this type of movie works even without the animation, and frequently reminded me of others like BLADE RUNNER and TWELVE MONKEYS. Basically, if you enjoy your science-fiction mixed in with great-looking babes, a cool-ass lead, some decent action and an engaging story-line, give COWBOY BEBOP a shot and enjoy the sumptuous images, as well as the wicked directing choices (including angles of all kind, slow-motion, etc...), which are most pronounced in the film's slick opening robbery sequence and the awesome railway confrontation. Color me impressed
THE EXTRAS
A decent array of extras, the most impressive of which was a series of 6 featurettes (5-7 minutes each) entitled "The Making of Cowboy Bebop" which covers the film's transition from TV to the big screen, its international appeal, as well as specific shorts on each of the lead characters. Most of them were pretty interesting to sit through with both Japanese and English participants speaking about the film's many facets, but if there were two things that I learned from watching these things, it was that the director likes to wear sunglasses during interviews (lame) and that the Asian girl who voiced the babe in the film (Faye) is also a cutie-pie in real life.

We also get 4 storyboard comparisons, which in a film like this, can be really cool and as suspected...were! They all looked almost exactly like the final scenes! We also get in-depth character profiles, which normally would be sort of boring, but being as I knew nothing of these folks before seeing the film (it's based on a popular TV series, after all), were quite informative and helpful. Slap in a cool menu, some conceptual art galleries (I don't care about stuff like that, but you might), a couple of music videos ("Ask DNA" and "Gotta Knock a Little Harder") and theatrical trailers for this film, METROPOLIS and a bunch of other Sony/Columbia non-anime titles (I SPY??) and you've got yourself a good time, even after the film is done.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I had a good time with this disc and look forward to seeing other films of its kind in the future. A slick, sci-fi, futuristic action anime with babes, moody music and of course, great animation. The extras were also fun to ride through and I even appreciated the fact that the disc wasn't overstuffed with them, like many of these animated flicks seem to be nowadays (as one menu leads to about 12 other sub-menus, etc...) Anyway, a definite buy for anime fans and a definite rent for anyone interested in checking out the genre. A great place to start.
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