Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The cover for Metropia is sadly not what I would have wanted. I know that it is shocking, and it does show the CGI of the movie, but it feels like a missed opportunity. The style of this movie is so different than anything I have seen before, that I would have liked to see a full body shot of Roger, which I think is where the movie really departs in terms of visuals. The stark dilapidated shots of Europe in 2024 use a limited color palette, and the real striking visual effect here is the large heads on the seemingly small, scrawny bodies. (For an example of what I mean, contrast the cover above to some of the screen shots below, and tell me which is more visually striking?) It is a surreal visual, and one that challenges your perception as the details of the characters are so realistic. I think the cover here is a bit tame, and with the exception of the divided skull (which is not really represented in the film itself) the surreal vision and style of the film is not on full display here.
The menu ties in with the feel of the movie pretty well though.
- My Tribeca Story – For such a different looking movie, the extras also come up rather short. My Tribeca Story is a decent little look at Director Talik Saleh, as he describes his eventual foray into this type of visual movie making ordeal. It was almost a given that he would end up working with this type of visual, given that he was raised among animation.
- On The Red Carpet With Metropia – This feature is merely just a bit about the red carpet opening for the movie, featuring interviews with the voice actors and such.
The Movie: 7/10
Metropia is by far the strangest and most unique movie that I have seen in quite some time. This animated, but hyper realistic view of Europe in 2024 is an insane backdrop for any adventure. Europe is literally falling apart, and a single railway company has taken over all transport, supposedly saving Europe from despair. The result is a barren wasteland of tan and gray, with overturned cars and seemingly a refusal for anyone to travel above ground.
We are introduced to Roger, a Stockholm resident who is stuck in a dead-end job answering phones. Roger is a bit of an odd duck, as he shuns the norm and attempts to ride a bicycle to and from work. His existence is as meek as Europe’s outward appeal. Roger lives with his girlfriend or sorts, as the two agree to merely coexist together, without much respect or passion, as they share a small, blank apartment. A beautiful girl in a shampoo commercial is about the only thing in Roger’s world that does not seem bland and boring, and it is obvious that he longs for something, or someone else.
Metropia then embarks on a very strange, very convoluted storyline involving mind control and manipulation, as Roger is thrust into a dangerous game when he sees his dream-girl on the train, and follows her. The relationship and actions are not fully understood by Roger as his willingness to help Nina lures him deeper and deeper into a world of big business and danger.
To summarize Metropia is a bit of an exercise in futility in these short paragraphs. The movie itself seems to twist and turn like a classic Sci-Fi movie, with the viewer being dragged along at his or her mercy. The movie at times is frightfully slow, and while it adds to the bleak feel of the film, it also hurts it in a way. Voice acting is very well done for this type of film, with great performances by Vincent Gallo (Roger), Juliette Lewis (Nina), and Alexander Skarsgard as Stefan. I love the fact that this is something new and so very different. It could have been executed better in my opinion, and the story meanders a bit, but Director Talik Saleh’s vision is amazing to see. I hope that this is just the beginning for Saleh, as his style is so amazing and different that I can’t wait to see where he goes next. Metropia is a decent enough movie, but is shows massive potential, and if he can get all the peices to fall in place, the result could be even more awe-inspiring that this movie.
Audio & Video: 7/10
I really wish I would have seen this on Blu-ray. The standard DVD looks great, and the crispness of the animation is evident even here. I can’t imagine the result in high definition. The hyper-realistic animation style is bizarre, and with this unique color palette, the result is just amazing. The audio was not as impressive, with lots wrong with the mix in my opinion. The dialogue was all over the place, with some sounds drowning out the somewhat hushed voice acting. There was nice use of the rear speakers, but again, I really had issues in spots trying to understand what the characters were saying.
Metropia is a new and different type of movie. It is one of those movies that I like to show people to see their reaction. As for the overall value of this standard DVD release, it is hard to gauge. I think people who like movie will enjoy at least seeing Metropia for what it offers and what new it brings to the table, but this is not an easy watch, and I can’t imagine forcing myself to sit through the droning movie over and over. It is neat for the shock value, but the story and pace and landscape of this movie make it hard to recommend or what to own, especially with the stark extras and the fact that this is a standard DVD.
Overall Score 6/10