Sky Blue
dirs. Kim and Sunmin
Opens Fri Feb 25
Cinema 21

There's no denying that Sky Blue--the Korean anime that's known overseas as Wonderful Days--is visually stunning. With 2D cel animation placed over 3D backgrounds, the film's beauty comes less from its technical aptitude and more from its sense of style--made up of shadowy husks of post-apocalyptic decay, glimmering technology, futuristic motorcycles, and subtle lighting effects. At times the visuals of the film are jaw dropping, but usually it's something far trickier--a convincing, cohesive, and well-imagined world of images.

So it's too bad everything else about Sky Blue is so lousy. While nearly every image from Sky Blue could justify the price of a ticket, everything else about the film--from the melodramatic plot, to the poor English dub, to the laughable conclusion--justifies bringing your iPod into the theater so your eyes can see the film while your eyes and mind are spared the drudgery of experiencing it.

The story takes place on a future Earth--acid rain makes much of the world a barren wasteland, while one city, Ecoban, sits like a glimmering, high-tech oasis amongst the rocky ruin. Those living in the shadowed landscape are less than stoked about the lucky bastards living in Ecoban, and Sky Blue opens with a young ex-Ecoban resident, Suha, infiltrating the city in an attempt to bring it down. Suha's nearly caught by Jay, an Ecoban cop who was once Suha's girlfriend when the two were kids growing up.

This setup paves the way for a lot of flashbacks, and that's about as involving as it gets--characters from the periphery crowd the not-too-interesting leads, and the dichotomy of the have/have-nots is largely ignored in favor of boring soap operatics. By the time the plot reaches its conclusion--which is scored with a deafening, cluelessly un-ironic blast of operatic crescendo--the film has somehow become simultaneously ridiculous and boring. While your eyes might be grateful at the end of Sky Blue, the only way the rest of you will get through it is by remembering to bring your your iPod Shuffle.