Anime Reporter takes a look at Sky Blue, (also known as Wonderful Days), the South Korean animated film seven years in the making. Originally released in 2003, this film was both written and directed by Kim Moon-saeng.
‘How long has it been raining? Forever. No, not forever. For a hundred years.’
The year is 2142 and humanity is in a hell of a lot of trouble. I hate to say I told you so, but all of that nasty polluting we’ve all been carrying on with has finally caught up with us and it’s paying back with interest. Toxic rain falls from the sky on a near constant basis and the days when someone could see a sky beyond the clouds are now just hopeful tales. One human settlement stands intact, the living city of Ecoban, genetically engineered to withstand and adapt to the horrific climate. Generations later, the descendants of those who created Ecoban live in great comfort and wealth while the descendants of other survivors are given a class of their own and tasked with the dirty work of mining and processing the fuel needed to sustain Ecoban. Not everyone is thrilled with this system however, nor with having to live their entire, often short, lives as ‘Diggers’.
That’s okay though, because there are a few plans afoot to take care of the whole situation. Most of these plans involve sabotage, murder, theft and massive destruction, though this film doesn’t seem to mind too much, clearly trying to put viewers on the sides of the rebellion. While equality is certainly a worthy goal, it seems that these rebels plan to take down the entire city of Ecoban, effectively endangering countless lives, as well as making themselves the first people in history to literally murder a city.
Thrown into the mix is a fairly run-of-the-mill batch of security personal a high-and-mighty council ruling over the peasantry and a gang of rough and ready thieves and scallywags. These characters aren’t the most engaging to grace animation and there’s not a lot to win over viewer sympathy or interest for very long. The animation, which was wildly innovative and widely praised at the time of the film’s release, has aged a little poorly. CGI backdrops are gorgeous, without a doubt, but characters feel somewhat lifeless, like particularly well-drawn puppets and the use of CGI vehicles and action scenes is very inconsistent. When it does shine, and there are definite moments, the animation is nothing short of beautiful.
The plot is pretty straightforward with a lot of very nice sci-fi elements thrown into the mix. The differences between the inner workings of Ecoban and its slums are well established and the film’s themes of environmental preservation are nicely conveyed. While this is far from a bad film, it just falls short of originality and, while it is well made, there isn’t a lot here that won’t have already been seen by viewers.
Wonderful Days/ Sky Blue is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK and Ireland from Tartan Films.
66% – “Solid” – Sky Blue is a nice piece of Sci-Fi adventure which makes use of some very impressive animation, but ultimately fails to keeps things looking consistently above average and lacks the plot depth or enjoyable characters to compensate for it. This film is worth seeing, but it’s not a must-see.