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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.76%
Worth A Look: 33.33%
Pretty Bad: 4.76%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Sky Blue
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Brian McKay

"MADE IN KOREA isn't always synonymous with CHEAPLY MADE CRAP"
4 stars

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the theater screening of SKY BLUE, so I had to settle for a press screening tape instead. But even on a poor-quality VHS tape and a 28” T.V. screen, the animation of SKY BLUE (Originally released in Korea under the title WONDERFUL DAYS) looks astounding. Using a mesh of cell-drawn characters against computer-animated settings (ala’ TITAN A.E.), SKY BLUE is an amazing piece of visual work, hampered only by a somewhat generic and derivative story.

Taking place far in the future, after a century of darkened skies and toxic rain have nearly wiped out humanity, Sky Blue is the story of Ecoban, humanity’s last great city. Everyone who lives in Ecoban is a genetically engineered human, bred to thrive in the harsh climate and toxic atmosphere. One of Ecoban’s citizens is Jae, a soldier who finds her loyalties conflicted when she comes across childhood flame Shuya, who she thought had been dead for many years. Although Shuya was born in Ecoban, he has chosen to live in exile among the diggers, who are the slaves of the Ecobanians (Ecobanese? Ecobanites?). They exist to mine the resources that provide Ecoban with its primary energy source. They are treated poorly and forced to live outside of the city in the shantytowns and ruins of the wastelands.

But the workers are getting sick of the way they are treated, and a massive strike seems imminent. This causes the heads of Ecoban’s security (one of which is Jae’s current boyfriend) to crack down even harder. But when Jae sees first-hand the way in which the diggers are treated, and is moved by Shuya’s devotion to their cause, she decides to switch sides and help him sabotage Ecoban’s primary power grid. The goal of this sabotage is not only to bring Ecoban to its knees, but also to release a massive discharge into the atmosphere that will theoretically clear the skies of the toxic canopy overhead.

Granted, it’s not the most original story. Sky Blue is Sci-Fi Lite, remaining vague on the details and scientific explanations, and borrowing more than a little from films like The Matrix, Akira, and Total Recall. And naturally, the obligatory love triangle is tossed into the mix. But the characters, while underdeveloped, still spark interest and sympathy. The English voice acting ranges from over-the-top to subdued, with the real standout being the voice of Jae. The actress playing her in the English dub gives the character, and the narration, just the right tone of world-weary resignation mixed with hope, but without overdoing it. A few of the characters are dead weight, while others, like the cute little blind girl, seem to have been tossed into the mix simply for the “awwwww” factor.

But its flaws aside, Sky Blue delivers an engaging story and an ocular orgy of amazing anime’ that’s as good as anything to have come out of Japan recently (if not better). At times the settings look completely realistic. One brief scene in particular, a close-up of raindrops splattering on the ground, looks indistinguishable from a live-action film. Sky Blue was supposedly seven years in the making, and with attention to visual detail like that, it’s easy to see why.

SKY BLUE is more of a feast for the eyes than anything else, but the other elements that come into play give it enough substance to keep it from becoming merely visual cotton candy. See it on the biggest screen you can find it on.

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originally posted: 04/28/04 09:46:56
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/05/05 Tracy J Connor A visually stunning film that was done in true anime story type 5 stars
4/26/04 stenobabe better than almost all anime I've seen, good plot, moves, see it in a big theater 4 stars
2/04/04 hongson viet 2 stars
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  18-Feb-2005 (NR)



Directed by
  Moon-Sang Kim
  Sunmin Park

Written by
  Moon-Sang Kim
  Jun-Young Park
  Sunmin Park
  Jeffrey Winter


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