Monday, March 30, 2009

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2002)

On Mars in the late twenty-first century, a terrorist destroys a tanker truck, killing quite a few people, and releasing a biological weapon that the authorities cannot identify, which infects hundreds of people. A group of Cowboys, or bounty hunters, try to track down the terrorist, a huge reward as incentive, but things get quite complicated. As bounty hunting terrorists normally does.

Cowboy Bebop is an anime, or Japanese animation, and the animation style is quite good. Everything, from characters to backgrounds to vehicles is done with a lot of care and attention to detail. I wish as much care was done with American animation, but that’s irrelevant to this review. More important than animation detail and style is that much of the silliness present in anime is not here. In this story type, it’s great, considering the seriousness of the plot itself.

The world that Cowboy Bebop depicts is quite interesting. It’s a melting pot of a variety of cultures. There are some things that are unquestionably Arabic, then Asian, then English or American, but is also combined with unquestionably futuristic technologies. That the story takes place on Mars in less than a century is somewhat questionable, particularly given the backgrounds and scenery of the movie, but it’s a minor point, and may well be explained in the television series that this was based upon.

The plot, on the main part, is quite full of action, as you might expect with a group of bounty hunters, but isn’t too unintelligent, either, which is appreciated. Although some of the ideas aren’t overly original, it’s done differently enough to make the movie interesting in that regard. Although there are some plot aspects in the movie which don’t quite make sense when examined too closely, for the most part, they aren’t too large or too numerous, and I will be getting to the exceptions later.

What really annoyed me about this movie, though, was the presence of the young girl and her super-intelligent dog. The girl switches between being extremely silly and frivolous in a way that only anime will attempt, and suddenly act quite serious, intelligent, and grown-up. I know that children can act quite silly at times, and extremely silly children are a staple of anime, but she is far too much to put up with in a movie with such a serious theme. But my complaints about the girl are nothing in comparison to the dog. The dog can apparently analyse complex strategy games better than it’s human players, recognise individuals on a computer screen from poorly-drawn pictures, pick up and track a single scent in an entire city, and other such sillinesses that makes him the most unrealistically-portrayed dog I have ever encountered in any story. I include Tintin’s dog, Snowy, in this statement. And the fact that only the girl understands the dog… No, the movie would have been far better off without the two.

So, “Cowboy Bebop” is a movie with a decent plot and decent ideas, and is animated quite well, but plot coincidences and some extremely poor characters and let it down badly. 3.5/5.

3 comments:

pussreboots said...

Awww. But it wouldn't be Cowboy Bebop without Edward and Ein. :)

Rojse said...

I'm not acquainted with Cowboy Bebop the television series, though. Is it worth watching or not? And what did you think of the movie?

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, Ein is no ordinary dog: he's the product of experimental technology.

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Cowboy_Bebop_characters#Ein
and the things you mentioned about Ed and Ein will make more sense.