Steampunk Movie Top Ten – No.10 & No.9

Recently I polled active members of the Pandora Society’s Facebook group to nominate and vote upon their favorite “Steampunk” movie. Many films were nominated, but this week we shall present those that were voted into the top ten by looking at two films per day as we count down to the Pandora Society’s favorite “Steampunk” film ever!

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No. 10 – Steamboy

Steamboy Poster“In 1860s Britain, a boy inventor finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly conflict over a revolutionary advance in steam power,” (imdv.com). Steamboy is very much a popular Steampunk classic, utilizing just about every trope of the genre in a well paced plot with beautiful animation and a stellar cast of voices. The film, written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame, was released in 2004. For the English language dub Anna Paquin (The Piano, X-Men) plays James Ray Steam, the steam boy of the title, while Alfred Molina (Spiderman 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark) voices James’s father Dr. Eddie Steam, and Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek TNG, X-Men) plays James’s grandfather Dr. Lloyd Steam. All three generations of the Steam family are engineering geniuses, but visionary science is soon corrupted by those seeking power; a son, a father, and a grandfather must battle each other and those who would seek to twist their inventions into machines of war.

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No. 9 – City of Lost Children

City of Lost Children Poster“Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who cannot dream, kidnaps young children to steal their dreams. One (Ron Perlman), a former whale hunter who is as strong as a horse, sets forth to search for Denree, his little brother who was kidnapped by Krank’s men. Helped by young Miette (Judith Vittet), he soon arrives in La Cite des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children),” (imdv.com). Most would probably argue that City of Lost Children is more “Dieselpunk” rather than “Steampunk,” given that the general level of technology and wardrobe of the film is more reminiscent of the 1930’s or 40’s, but we’re going to shelve that debate for now and just appreciate a great film.

City of Lost Children was released in 1995 and is directed by self taught French film maker Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The dark style and dark humor of this film is very much in keeping with his 1991 cult classic Delicatessen, but Jeunet is better known these days for his brightly optimistic film Amelie that launched Audrey Tautou into international fame.

The cast includes some of Jeunet’s favored actors (Dominique Pinon and Jean-Claude Drefus), but the notable performance has to go to American actor Ron Perlman (Hellboy) who recites his line in French along with the rest of the cast; in A Very Long Engagement (2004), Jeunet also has Jodie Foster acting in perfect French.

Amongst the great visual imagery that Jeunet presents in City of Lost Childrenit is Krank’s offshore laboratory and the underground cult of “Cyclops” who strongly resemble Star Trek’s Borg with brass fittings rather than black. Conspiracies abound and plots are made as Miette and One make their way through the thick web of secrets that leads to the “City of Lost Children.”

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See films eight and seven in the Top Ten Countdown 🙂

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