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Sky Blue

Entry updated 19 September 2022. Tagged: Film.

South Korean animated film (2003; vt Wonderful Days). Tin House, Masquerade Films, Maxmedia. Directed by Kim Moon-saeng. Written by Kim Moon-saeng and Park Jun-Yong. Voice cast includes Kim Byung-kwan, Giri-Bong, Choi Ji Hoon, Yu In-chon, Eun Yeong Seon, Oh In Seong and Tak Won-Je. 86 minutes; director's cut 95 minutes. Colour.

In 2142, a century after civilization's Pollution-inspired collapse, the Ruined Earth is perpetually under dark clouds and toxic rain. When the Disaster began Ecoban was built, a City of advanced Technology that enabled its inhabitants to live safe and in luxury (see Keep). Survivors had flocked to it, but were turned away and left to die: those who lived became workers in the grim industrial areas outside the city. This is headed by Commander Locke (Won-Je in original; In-chon in director's cut) of Ecoban's ruling elite, who is more concerned with meeting quotas than worker safety. Indeed, when a foreman refuses an order that will lead to workers' deaths, stating "Over my dead body," Locke shoots him. This in the presence of Jay (Seon), an officer in the city's security organization, who is perturbed but does not raise a finger; she mentions it to the head of Security, Cade (Seong), who responds that Locke is too powerful to confront (Cade's concern for the workers is clearly negligible).

Meanwhile, Shua (Hoon), a childhood friend of Jay but now an exile, has infiltrated the city's Computer system to perform data theft. He is working for aged Dr Noah (Byung-kwan in original; Giri-Bong in director's cut), the Scientist who designed Ecoban's Power Source but now wants to destroy it, as its pollution is killing the workers. Ten years previously he had attempted "a final energy release" of Ecoban's stored power supply, to "blast open the sky" and allow society to be rebuilt using solar energy. He fail in this and was thought dead; but now, with Shua's help, he plans another attempt. Jay is loved by Shua and Cade, the latter – unbeknownst to Jay – having betrayed Shua years ago, causing his exile. In the end Shua can only perform the first of the three steps for the energy release, being stopped by Cade – but Shua, now aware of the betrayal, performs the second step, with Cade unable to shoot her ... but Locke can and does ... which impels Cade to activate the third step – and shoot Locke. All four end up shot, but only Locke fatally (though Cade likely dies later). The dark clouds now clear, to reveal blue sky, with the land bathed in sunlight.

The city is visually stunning and is depicted in different architectural and geometric styles; the desolate landscape and its derelict structures and technologies are similarly impressive. Unfortunately the film is hamstrung by a Clichéd plot, compounded by being badly told (in the English dub at least): it is almost impossible to care for the characters. Sky Blue is to be enjoyed for its art, not its story. [SP]

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