1 March 2009

Cowboy Bebop – The Movie (2001) : A Review

The crew of the spaceship Bebop, cowboys (bounty hunters) Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine, and their companions computer hacker Edward and enhanced dog Ein, who previously appeared in a TV series that ran from 1998 to 1999, return for another adventure in this animated film. This time, an ex-soldier, Vincent Volajo, threatens to unleash a biological weapon to wipe out the people of Alpha, a Martian city. As the police and Spike hunt down Vincent, Spike meets Electra, an army investigator and Vincent's ex-lover.

The film takes place somewhere mid-series but the back story doesn't matter much, though newcomers might wonder why the future looks like a mashup of high-tech metropolises and the wild west. Director Shinichirô Watanabe has a bigger budget for this film than in the TV series, and the higher art, animation and production values are obvious. The fight sequences between Spike and Vincent are quite amazing without the motion capture technology available for later anime films. The series is well known for its strong jazz soundtrack, and in this film, the jazz-pop music by Yôko Kanno doesn't disappoint.

Too bad that the screenplay by Keiko Nobumoto, based on a story by Hajime Yatate, doesn't actually make sense. The film also suffers, just a little though, from the dreaded anime mid-film sag when characters ruminate on life in the most boring way possible for minutes.

For fans of the series, it's fun to watch the characters in action again.

3 out of 5 stars.
28 February 2009
Kam-Hung Soh

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