'Cowboy Bebop: The Movie' - Movie Review

This movie showed up on Netflix, and it made me realize I hadn't seen it - despite having watched the preceding TV series (named, oddly enough, "Cowboy Bebop"). The show has a reputation as being "cool" - both pretty to look at (mostly true, despite cheap animation), and containing the handsome and super-cool Spike Spiegel. I didn't mind the TV series, but didn't get as entranced by it as many of the fans do.

It starts with a (re-)introduction to the characters: it's 2071, and they're bounty hunters on the ship Bebop. The crew consists of Jet Black: a former cop who owns the Bebop, Spike, Faye Valentine: gambling addict and walking fan service but otherwise a decent enough character, Edward: their young female (yes, female) hacker, and Ein - a regular-looking dog who's far from regular (although that doesn't really play a part in this movie). It's just as well they did the intro: it's been a long time since I watched the show.

This time, they're pursuing a person or group of people who have released a deadly virus/pathogen on Mars. As usual, each of the crew members goes off on their own to pursue leads in their own eccentric ways. The animation has had a bit of an upgrade since the TV series (there's more money in movies), but unfortunately the story-telling is much the same. I thought it kind of went off the rails when Spike was apparently shot to death but is patched back together by a couple of what appeared to be Native Americans (spouting an attempt at Native American religion/philosophy) on a garbage dump. The later philosophical discussion questioning the nature and truth of reality didn't really fit with the otherwise very action-oriented tone of the film (although that tone-deaf insertion is classically Anime).

This will work fine for fans of the series, but not recommended for others. Try the series if you're interested - it was goofy fun, and didn't aspire to be much more. This aspires ... and fails to rise above its origins.

One minor unintentional amusement: to prove how multi-national the future is, there are many signs and computer screens in English. The problem is ... the budget didn't extend to getting an actual English speaker to vet the content. My personal favourite was a large sign in the middle of the city near the end of the movie that said "No Hanking."