Korea has been pumping out animation for years, when people think about Asian animation, they think of anime, and of Japan. Sky Blue is Korea's opening salvo in a bid to declare themselves as contenders to be dealt with seriously. They should not have made that claim. Sky Blue looks decent, but has horrible structural problems with its derivative story. On its merits alone, it makes for sub par viewing, but using it as a benchmark of Korean animation against the Japanese juggernaut shows that Korea has a long way to go. It doesn't help that Sky Blue is very similar to the recently released Appleseed (which had its own, different problems), a better film.
It's clear that the animation in Sky Blue looks great. Like many other recent films, director Kim Moon-Saeng used a mix of computer and traditional animation. The traditional animation was applied towards the characters, while the computer animation went towards backgrounds, vehicles, and most other static things. The combination of the two looks a tad awkward, although no different from other films. And while it does look great, it is nothing revolutionary or new. And instead of using a distinctive style, everything looks like a typical anime. Because of the story, there seem to be many more shots of a cloud-filled sky, and this does look nice.
The story, by Moon, Sunmin Park (Too Pure), Park Jun-Young is where the movie falls apart. First, it sets up this futuristic world, then refuses to play by its own rules. In the world of Sky Blue, poisonous rain caused mankind to build a great city, Ecoban, where people could live in safety. The people left outside adapted to survive, and now the residents of Ecoban rely on them to mine the carbon necessary for the city's survival. The story never mentions why the outsiders need Ecoban, but imply that they do. There is a large amount of tension, and Ecoban is preparing for a full-scale rebellion. So what's the problem? Ecoban residents seem to do quite well on the outside, walking around with no protection. A few lived out there for at least a decade. And for an environment where the sky is never blue, there seems to be plenty of clear, or relatively clear skies in the background. The plot feels like something a fourteen-year-old thought was really cool. There is no thought behind the foundations, and the script is fully of weakly scripted characters and bad dialogue (STOP DUBBING MOVIES). Worse, it's extremely boring to sit through.
The central plot revolves around Jay, an Ecoban soldier, and Shua, an Ecoban resident left for dead. He now lives on the outside, and is plotting to destroy Ecoban in order to SAVE THE WORLD! As children, the two were close, so when they meet again, it throws Jay's belief system of right and wrong into disarray. There's a clumsy subplot involving Jay's commanding officer/love interest/childhood rival of Shua, Cade. The film looks at the rebellion movement through the eyes of Jay. Initially, Ecoban looks to be in the right. They saved a large amount of people, and are providing peace and security to these survivors. However, the more Jay learns about the rebellion, and what they want, she sees cracks in the Ecoban logic. It culminates in an attack on this giant fortress of a city by a glider and what seems to be one truck. It sounds okay, but comes off very superficially. And once Kim plays up the love triangle, it becomes awful. It may be worth it to somehow turn the sound off and makeup dialogue for Sky Blue. Heck, it may be better this way.
|Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.|
|1 hour, 30 minutes, Not Rated but contains some language and violence, most likely an R.|
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