Making the Grades
OSAMU TEZUKA'S METROPOLIS UNVEILS a well-crafted and meticulously detailed futuristic skyscraper capital based on his successful 1940s Japanese comic. Working with animators, Screenwriter Katsuhiro Otomo and Director Rintaro adapt the comic book adventures and bring it to life on the big screen.
In the ultramodern city-state, robots live among the humans, taking on various menial tasks. Deep in the belly of the thriving center, they dispose of sewage and help produce power. Above ground, they act as buskers, vendors, and policing assistants in an urban society that is nearing the apex of civilization. But while the city's president and his agents prepare to celebrate the pinnacle of their achievements, unrest grows among disgruntled anti-robot groups consigned to the social order's lower levels.
While tensions rise, detective Shunsaku Ban and his assistant, Kenichi, arrive from Japan in search of Dr. Laughton, an eccentric scientist wanted by police. Helped by a robot, Ban discovers the inventor holed up in an underground laboratory. But mayhem breaks out before he can handcuff the sought after villain and get hold of his newest creation, Tima, a young female superhuman.
When Ban's aide goes missing, the visiting investigator begins an all out search of the downtown's zones and uncovers a plot to topple the government and insert an omnipotent leader over the citizens of Metropolis.
Although Tezuka, the famed illustrator, is known for his children's television series Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion, the themes in Metropolis are decidedly adult. As a select few rise in power, they shovel the unwanted humans out of their way until rebellion threatens universal destruction. Echoing movies like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, this society's ills are sharply questioned, but the use of gratuitous shootings by unchecked militants and other violence will make its lessons too unsavory for most families.
Released with English subtitles and also in a dubbed version, Metropolis will most likely find a niche with ardent fans of Japanese anime and digital technology, while the rest of us will just have to marvel at mankind's inability to learn from the past.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis.
The robot Pero questions why humans always use violence to resolve issues. What are some non-violent methods that can be used to solve problems? Can you find examples of non-violent actions being used in our society today?
Duke Red, an up-and-coming government official, believes that the best type of leader is one who rules without emotion. What would be the advantages and /or dangers of this type of leader? Would you want a ruler who governed by reason only, without considering the emotional needs of his people? Can you think of any leaders like that in our world?
Metropolis is a city of zones: the mighty and powerful live in the highest buildings while robots, the poor, and others are relegated to the lower levels. How does this figuratively reflect our society today?