If you’re a big fan of the steampunk genre, then you might want to consider taking a look at an anime movie called Steamboy. Taking place in Victorian-era England, Steamboy follows a young boy by the name of Ray Steam as he is thrust into a war over a new power source, the Steam Ball.
The Steam Ball contains a highly pressurized liquid that was discovered deep underground in Iceland and was co-invented by Ray’s father, Edward, and grandfather, Lloyd. Unfortunately, relations between Edward and Lloyd turned sour and Ray is torn between the ideologies of his father and grandfather as they both fight over control of the Steam Ball. Add to that an American arms manufacturer, the O’Hara Foundation, and the British Armed Forces, who both want the Steam Ball, and you’ve got an epic adventure with plenty of action.
Steamboy does not fail to impress when it comes to action. From a chase involving a speeding train and tractor to a giant flying fortress battling it out with warships from the Royal Navy, Steamboy has it all. There is not a dull moment as Ray is almost constantly on the run.
The machines in the movie were both cool and amusing. Some of the better ones were war machines that looked like giant spiders and airships with claws to grab anything underneath them. One of the more humorous ones was a submersible metal suit that was so clunky that anyone wearing one couldn’t even climb out of the water.
While the characters were not especially deep, there was quite a bit of mystery surrounding each one. From Ray’s perspective, it is difficult to determine who to trust and who to oppose. His grandfather gives him the Steam Ball, then tells him his father is dead and to run away. Ray then discovers that his father is alive. After several events, Ray then finds that his father has deceived him about the purpose of his greatest invention, the Steam Tower. Ray is further disappointed when he discovers that the British forces that were supposed to be helping him have their own agenda. Most of the characters manage to mask their true intentions well, and help make Steamboy an exciting movie to watch.
The only complaint I have about the characters is Scarlett, the (not really) damsel-in-distress. Almost all of her lines involve giving out orders, and honestly, it gets rather annoying. If she would have piped down for a moment or two during the movie, then she might have been more bearable.
With the great action scenes and mysterious characters, Steamboy could have been a masterpiece, but a dull plot brought it down to being a good movie. Ray has no sense of purpose for most of the movie except for keeping or retrieving the Steam Ball. It is not until the latter half of the movie that the sides of good and evil are revealed, leaving the viewer wondering what exactly is going on for most of the movie. There was also a lack of any thought-provoking scenes found in many well-written movies.
Only having a few downsides, Steamboy is an enjoyable movie and I recommend it to anyone with a fondness of the steampunk genre, action-adventure, and/or Victorian-era settings.