Thanks to my growing interest in steampunk, I added this animated movie, Steamboy, to my Netflix queue and watched it a few days ago. I have to admit that I wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was with Howl’s Moving Castle.
The Steams are a family of inventors: James, his father Dr. Eddie, and his grandfather, Dr. Lloyd. They’ve been working on a brand new “sphere” that can withstand an unbelievable amount of pressure, powering larger and more fantastic engines. When not well received in Britain, the two older scientists move to American funding, and that’s where things start to fall apart for me.
The anti-American, anti-war themes were just a little too heavy handed. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Howl’s Moving Castle had an anti-war theme too. I loved it. In Steamboy, there were no layers or nuances. Everyone except James, the boy, was a money-hungry, war-loving fool, or so it seemed. Except maybe his grandfather, who was more crazy than anything else.
And oh, don’t get me started about the only major female character in this movie, young Scarlett O’Hara. What a total parody. She was a despicable character, hitting her dog, nasty from the very beginning, and certainly too rich and powerful to have any sort of “morals.” They tried to pull off a hint of a romance between her and James, and it failed miserably, because she was so unlikeable. She never changed, either. Although she did try to help James at the end, it was more like a spoiled tantrum than anything else.
A real disappointment for me. If you’re looking for a steampunk animation, I highly recommend Howl’s Moving Castle instead.