Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Along with everything else, we collect portrays and appearances of south-east London in films here. This may not exactly count but I think it’s worthy of note. Steamboy is the new anime by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, the gent who borough Akira to the screen. It’s a fantastic steam-punk adventure set in an alternative Victorian England during the Industrial Revolution. It’s a tale of imperial might versus newly fledged capitalism and the battle to between greed and idealism, identified as father and son, over the future use of technology.
A large part of the action, including the climax that does drag a bit, takes place on ‘Steam Tower’ a vast, steam powered building, all giant pistons, cogs and boilers, that has been built next door to the site of the Great Exhibition by a mysterious, almost certainly American, corporation. The for the purposes of the anime (cartoon, I mean) the site of the Great Exhibition has been moved from Hyde Park, among other Hyde Park landmarks, (before being moved to Sydenham) to an area of London that great resembles Greenwich Peninsular.
That’s the site of the Millennium Dome”, whispered Carthy, as we watched steam-ships sail past the Crystal Palace and the twin-towers of what is now the Maritime Museum are panned over.
There’s a scene where bobbies pour off of boats to storm the Steam Tower, arriving straight at the doors of Steam Tower. The peninsular holds other wonders too, the Albert Hall is there, Nelson’s Column is there and that huge arch, which is at the Victoria corner of Hyde Park (can’t remember the name of it) is there too. It’s large pats of London’s street furniture place in Greenwich to set a scene of wealth and culture.
Steam Boy
All of which then gets destroyed by steam-driven soldiers and tanks whilst Robert Stephenson, the steam-railwayman and colleague of Brunel, coordinates the British forces from the north side of the Thames (more inventors should be action-heroes!).

See Steamboy, if you get the chance, and be warmed by south-east London making a fine, first appearance into the wonderful world of Japanese animation.


zefrog said...

You write: "the site of the Great Exhibition has been moved from Crystal Palace to an area of London that great resembles Greenwich Peninsular"

Can I respectfully suggest that the Great Exhibition of 1851 did not take place in what is now known as Crystal Palace (but was then called Sydenham Hill) but in Hyde Park, opposite the Royal Albert Hall? The Palace was only moved to the place it gave its name to in 1854 and burned down in 1936.

Scott Wood said...

Good point, glad you're paying attention *cough*.

Richard said...

I'm not usually into this sort of thing, but those pictures look great!.
Very "Difference Engine"...

Scott Wood said...

Tis well worth seeing, though the plotting is a bit off. A true spectacle.