Browsing category: Film Reviews

The Golden Compass – Book and Film

Posted by on February 15th,2007

The Golden Compass

Ms Vincent simply urged me to take a look at the official site for the upcoming Golden Compass film (based on the “His Dark Materials” series by Philip Pullman, and focusing on the first book, known as “Northern Lights” in the UK). The site is very pretty indeed, with a ‘working’ alethiometer to twist, turn and attempt to read. Certain combinations will reveal pictorial ‘answers’ – Ms Vincent sent me a few, but I’ll put them in the comments below if you want to find them for yourself. Ms Vincent is quite the fan, it must be said – and indeed has made her own alethiometers in the past! Alas, its been so long since I read the first one (my mother recommended it to me) that I’ve forgotten a lot of it – perhaps that will be to my benifit when I go to see the film! But beautiful vague recollections of wonderfilled Oxford University through the eyes of a child, coupled with perverse Steampunk technology, hot air balloons and the wonderful mystical alethiometer device itself, leave it glowing in my mind.


Ok, I’m sure you’ve all seen this – it’s the time travelling future train from Back to the Future III. Much like the post a while ago with a clip featuring the Time Machine in all its glory – to Steampunk fans, I’m sure Doc and his time train must have been the real stars of the film.

“Marty – it runs on steam!” Beautiful, beautiful, Steampunk train.  Thanks, Mr Greco, for reminding me.


Mr Epp, Mr Björn, Mr Ian, Mr Klaus, Mr Park, and posters over at the frequently interesting Clockworkers Guild LJ, have all brought The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello to my attention.  Oh – and it looks such an indulgent treat, it must be said.  Some of the recommendations say that it is unsettling, others that it is beautiful, and indeed – the two are not incompatible.

Set in a deeply Steampunk world of airships and high collars, this perfectly stylish production tells the tale of a young man with a tragic past, and an uncertain future in a land where a terrible disease ravages the populace.  Can he redeem himself in one last adventure?

For those of you fortunate enough to be perfectly half the world away from me, this short animation is being shown in selected Australian cinemas through February and March.  The DVD is available also, but is Australian and New Zealand region only – though, I hear tell that recently the British Channel 4 showed it, so perhaps there is hope for those who are not region free!

A reindeer from Once Apon a Christmas Village

Ms Atherton and Mr Andy W, have pointed out the pretty amazing concept designs for a short film called Once Upon a Christmas Village, by Dreamballoon. Done by Mr Stølen, also known as the Anachronaut, the film itself is apparently not Steampunk, but certain elements of the designs done by Mr Stølen, most certainly are. From Santa and his wing-elf clad in appropriate flying goggles, to the above mechanically enhanced reindeer (note the side-mounted engine) there’s a lot of fun, lightheartedness to this. They’re looking to get funding to do a full length film, and I hope they get it!

Jack of All Trades – TV Series

Posted by on January 25th,2007


Mr Hildebrandt took a trip down his memory lane recently, and recalled a programme that he caught on the cathode ray tube called Jack of All Trades.  It features Bruce Campbell as a lovable, patriotic rogue, with a sharp wit and a glint in his eye in a 19th Century world with strangely out of time inventions sprinkled in for good measure.  No – not Brisco County Jnr. but Jack of All Trades.

This time, he’s an American spy on a fictional and French controlled island, teamed with a pretty and inventive British spy and out to stop Napoleon’s dastardly plans.  Of course, there’s a lot of famous people dropped in for good measure, many inventions out of place, and a surfeit of witty one liners.  So – it sounds great to me!  Apparently only lasted two seasons though – you can see the opening credits above.  Quite a jolly and silly pirate/sea shanty flavour to it, and hopefully I can engineer a way to watch the two series’ myself. ( has the DVD, but it’s only Region 1.)  Thanks, Mr Hildebrandt – I hope you know I’ve got that stuck in my head now.  sings

Gentleman’s Duel – Trailer

Posted by on January 24th,2007

Gentleman's Duel

Baron Von Fogel and Mr Kraft (and also from someone at my work) forwarded a link to the new trailer for Gentleman’s Duel animated short that we looked at a while ago. Apparently the Baron Von Fogel has had the pleasure of actually seeing the whole thing, and speaks very highly of it indeed! When it was sent around the office, some wag commented that it was definitely something worth fighting for – if you watch the trailer, you’ll see what the rascal was on about. laughs I must say though with giant Steampunk mechanised suits – I’m not sure I could be happier!

Casshern – Live Action ‘Anime’

Posted by on January 19th,2007


Mr Moores wrote to remind me of the Japanese film, Casshern, for its inclusions of Steampunk elements.  While it’s not a dyed in the wool Steampunk film by any means, it does include some classic Japanese Steampunk elements – such as the flying airships (seen so often in the Final Fantasy series, Ghibli films and many many other anime) and huge and hulking, clunking machinery.  Mostly though, I’d say that Casshern is a science-fiction action adventure, with heavy cyberpunk leanings – there’s cloning/reanimation and giant robots, powerful motorcycles and a superpowered exo-suit.  Set in a world where the machines of war do not stop, and cities, people and wildernesses are poisoned with the effects – men with power will do anything for the ultimate power of all – over life and death.  Having watched it with subtitles, I often felt like I had to keep a grip on something or I’d fall off the quickly jumping plot – fun, but don’t try to follow it after a large meal.

So, briefly then – I enjoyed Casshern; the fights are pure anime, the backgrounds beautiful, the plot bouncy but fun, and the style delicious.  I’d say it would be about 15% Steampunk.

City of Lost Children – Film

Posted by on January 12th,2007


Mr Shelton (and surely others) reminded me of this most marvelous of films some time ago, and it’s long past time when I should dust it off for a watching again. If you have not had the pleasure of watching The City of Lost Children (or La Cité des Enfants Perdus, in the original French), you have been missing out on a dark, peculiar and very clever mix of Steampunk, fantasy, mad scientists, clones, gentle giants and wise children all struggling to survive in a nameless, watery dock city of iron and rust. It’s marvelous, and only Delicatessen (by the same Director) trumps it for my favour.

If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend it – it is a work of art.

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Ruby in the Smoke

[edit] Apparently this is not Steampunk – I apologise. A kind poster informed me that it’s Victorian, with a strong female character, but not actually Steampunk. I may watch it anyway though.

So, in other BBC related news (I really must pay more attention to these televisual goings on) on the 27th of December, BBC 1 are showing their television adaption of the novel “Ruby in the Smoke” by Philip Pullman – the author of the His Dark Materials series. Ruby in the Smoke features a Victorian heroine who’s education leans more to pistol shooting and military tactics, than French and embroidery – and there’s a terrible mystery with murders a plenty that threaten her and hers.

Sounds like fun to me – how Steampunk it will be is yet to be established, but the basics are certainly there, and as a character, the heroine certainly seems to be non-Victorian standard. I shall be tuning in most certainly.

The Time Machine – Just the Machines

Posted by on December 19th,2006


I was reminded once again of all things Time Machine related recently by a very pleasant email from reader Jean Guittet, and so the clip above is from the 2002 Time Machine film, which wasn’t really all that marvelous.  However – the clip does show the most interesting part for us – the machine itself.  Gleaming brass and glowing crystal, engraved dials and a big cranky lever topped with quartz.  Again though – barring the extreme end of the film, I coughs found it tolerable. And because it’s always nice to see what the Time Machine is up to lately – a clip also found on YouTube – ever so brief – of the Time Machine taking a trundle down the Traquir Fair.  Well done those intrepid travellers.