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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.

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Steampunk, Howl’s Moving Castle

I suppose it was inevitable that eventually I’d stumble into an interest in steampunk, especially with my recent sci-fi Regency spoof idea.  I’ve never gone out searching for steampunk before, but the more I learn, the more intrigued I am.  Part of my research involved picking up Howl’s Moving Castle — although I admit I got it for the kids, and at the time, I didn’t really know what it was about, just that it was highly recommended.

Oh.  I *loved* this movie!  We watched it today in bits and pieces (Princess Monster has been home sick all week and I snuck in some lunch time with her).  I guess it’s not strictly “Victorian” but perhaps closer to Edwardian or even WWI in feel, but I loved it just the same.  It’s definitely one of our Netflix tries that I’m going to add to our family collection.  I could watch it over and over.  Next in my queue is Steamboy, which I specifically added because of the steampunk themes.

I’ve also added Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti to my wishlist, and my current non-fiction read is Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders.

Do you have any other Victorian or Steampunk recommendations to share?

[Don’t forget to keep checking for the free reads at Drollerie Press in honor of E-Book Week — two new books are up each day for free download!]