Cowboy Bebop Theatrical Reviews

by Jonathan Mays, Apr 4th 2003
Anime News Network has compiled a selection of movie reviews from newspapers across the United States and Canada. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie premieres in theaters nationwide on Friday, April 4th.

Los Angeles Times
Charles Solomon: "[It] preserves the look and tone that have made the Cowboy Bebop series so popular on both sides of the Pacific....Director Shinichiro Watanabe handles the action sequences with his accustomed panache, and composer Yoko Kanno's moody jazz score evokes Spike's alienated personality. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie demonstrates how exciting and vital contemporary animated filmmaking is in Japan. The characters may not move with the fluidity of their American counterparts, but the story unfolds with a sinister grace that any live-action director might envy."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Joe Williams: "Cowboy Bebop adapted from a Japanese TV series, is such a dazzling technical feat that its fuzzy storytelling is easy to overlook. Although ostensibly set on Mars in 2071, its world is recognizably our own, a polyglot pastiche of New York and Tokyo...as much visual and sociological imagination on display here as in Minority Report. For a hint of what tomorrow might look like, both in the streets and on the movie screens, surrender to the fever dream of Cowboy Bebop." (***½ of 4)

New York Times
Lawrence van Gelder: "Take away the wit of its setting and the liveliness of its music, and Cowboy Bebop: The Movie...[is] unexceptional...among a long line of B-movies...familiar scenario...pales beside the tense reality of current events."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Sean Axmaker: "It's more complex and ambiguous than the usual Hollywood live-action blockbuster, and just as splashy...surprisingly entertaining, animated with a sensitivity to light, shadow and color...filled with unexpected moments of delicacy...amid the epic scenes of urban combat and explosive sci-fi action."

The Dallas Morning News
Tom Maurstad: "Here comes an anime feature in English custom-made to bring new fans to an ever-broadening audience...The animation is spellbinding, the characters are ultra-cool, and the action is nonstop...But at the center of it all is a good story, well told."

Chicago Tribune
Patrick Z. McGavin: "From the opening scene...Watanabe reveals a dazzling imagination and creates a dynamic visual style based on movement and the characters' expressions. This movie blends the exotic...and a joyous arrangement of color and physical objects...this is magnetic, beautiful stuff."

Chicago Sun-Times
Jae-Ha Kim: "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie has nowhere near the level of sophistication exhibited in Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away...but...certainly has its appeal...If you suspend your belief in reality...you can put up with the implausible plot." (** of 4)

Orange County Register
Craig Outhier: "It is a near-constant delight to behold...The movie's main strength is the lush, subtly offbeat alien world created by director Koichi Yamadera...The trick here is that Yamadera punctuates fantastic images with mundane ones. The effect is pleasantly disorienting, like stepping off an airplane in a once-familiar city, now long past."

Newark Star-Ledger
Bob Campbell: "World War II pursuit planes tangle with Star Wars rocket fighters...the feature may not multiply the Cowboy Bebop following, but it steadily improves en route to a melancholy, rain-swept shoot-out lifted straight from Blade Runner. If you're stealing, steal from the best."

Toronto Star
Peter Howell: "From its Dirty Harry beginning to its Blade Runner-meets-12 Monkeys plot, this is refried beens...of interest only to the fanboys who thrill to the stylish nihilism of bounty hunter Spike...and spank monkeys to the slutty vision of his sidekick Faye...doesn't have one-tenth of the vision or visual appeal of Spirited Away, the recent Oscar winner for animated features." (** of 4)

Salon
Stephanie Zacharek: "It's juicily violent...deeply romantic and indisputably lively...and the plot, as convoluted as it sometimes is, makes a whole lot more sense [than Spirited Away's]"

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