Sky Blue

Starring (voice): Marc Worden and Cathy Cavadini
Tartan Video
RRP: 22.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 November 2005

The year is 2142. Mankind has exploited the Earth's resources to the limits, leaving it damaged and barren. The sun never manages to penetrate the ominous black clouds that perpetually drift across the sky. Survivors now live in an organic city called Ecoban, controlled by a dictatorial elite who turn away all outsiders seeking refuge. But when Jay, one of the patrol officers, witnesses an accident orchestrated by her superiors to kill the refugees, her loyalties are divided. Such corrupt abuse of power has given rise to a group of resistance fighters, led by Shuda, Jay's former sweetheart. By joining together they hope to restore justice and equality, and find the promised mystical land known as Gibraltar. Here, it is claimed, the sun shines brightly every day showing blue skies again...

Sky Blue (also known as Wonderful Days) is a movie that uses a technique that the creators have dubbed "multi-mation". This involves the use of real 3D model sets combined with CGI and traditional cell animation, to produce a movie with a unique feel.

This process is partly why this movie stands out as a spectacular production. To be honest, the story is not exactly original, and there's not much to it. But, the visual elements make for some of the animation genre's most visually impressive eye-candy. That's not to say that the plot isn't enjoyable - it is. It's just that the visual feel of the film is what really grabs the viewers attention.

For eagle-eyed viewers there's a homage to the early Star Wars movies. Look closely at the costumes in the bicentennial celebrations and you'll spot an AT-AT pilot-like helmet in the crowd.

The soundtrack options include DTS (which is used very impressively), 5.1 and stereo. Sadly the original Korean soundtrack is not an option (with subtitles), but the English dub is pretty impressive.

Extras include seven Production Features (varying from 2 - 48 mins in length); three The Sounds of Sky Blue featurettes (between 1 - 10.5 minutes long) and a 5.5 minute featurette entitled Crew Anecdotes. The production featurettes look at everything from storyboarding, to the complex issues involved when working with three types of visuals (models, CGI and cells). The best extra, for me, in The Sounds of Sky Blue section was Creating the Ecobanian Motorcycle (5 mins). This examined how the producers recorded the sounds of numerous bikes to mix together a sound that was right for the film. There's also an amusing story involving the bike rider.

At the end of the day, this is one hell of an impressive film. If you have a DTS decoder then this is certainly worth cranking up the volume for.

Nick Smithson

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