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The Movie 1

Copyright: © 1989 Headgear / Emotion / TFC, © 1995 Tohokushinsha Corporation / Manga Entertainment, Inc.
Length: 100 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Subtitled/Dubbed (VHS)

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

In the year 1999, Labors have become commonplace as man's tool to efficient large-scale construction. Such is the case with the new ambitious Babylon Project, a huge off-shore self-contained manufacturing center in the heart of Tokyo Bay. Inexplicably, the genius behind the new operating system software, the HOS (Hyper Operating System) which made all this possible leaps to his death. Shortly thereafter, several Labors inexplicably go on the rampage. The common thread: all the Labors involved had been upgraded with the new HOS software. Worst of all -- the Tokyo Special Vehicles Division 2 had been ordered to upgrade all their Labors some time ago, including Noah's beloved Ingram, Alphonse. Now it's up to Captain Goto's Special Vehicles 2nd Division to unravel the mystery and prevent widespread disaster.

[ capsule review ]

What do you get when you mix a good detective yarn, a moody science-fiction theme and above-average animation? Something akin to this movie, I would think. If you've followed the TV or OAV series at all, you might find this a bit on the dark side. The plot unfolds at a very deliberate pace, as if everything was done a la Captain Goto. There are lots of outside references throughout; if you play along with the screenwriters, it will help if you're up on your biblical references. Like the TV series, the character designs are by Takada Akemi (who also did KOR and half of the Maison Ikkoku), though these characters are not quite the "cutsie" designs that you might be accustomed. Most of the characters are well rounded, save the requesite "shoot first, ask questions later" ramblings of the gun-loving Ohta. If this is the first introduction to the Patlabor universe for you, you might get the impression that a lot of the characters have adversarial, rather than competetive relationships. Even the music is dark and subdued.

Much of the story revolves around Captain Goto's attempt to discover what is causing the sudden rash of rampaging Labors, and how to stop it. Goto's character is of some interest, since his behind-the-scenes puppeteering of his division makes up the bulk of the story, as well as much of the latent humour. (One of the early scenes involves Ohta in combat with an out-of-control construction labor. Just how did Goto know when the conflict was going to be over?)

Oshi Mamoru's distinctive directorial style is prevalent throughout the show, with long, slow pans and transition sequences. He also seems to have an on-going preoccupation with birds; this is something we see in the second Patlabor movie as well. The real key to this movie is the depth of the story. Patlabor the Movie carries with it some very timely messages about the potential dangers of technology. I especially thought that the concept that technology is developing and deploying so quickly that even so called "experts" in the field are unable to keep up to be very true-to-life, particularily in our net-crazed society. This is serious hard-core science fiction at its best.- AN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 5 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Music: N/A 3 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A 4 stars N/A

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