(aka "Sky Blue" )

 

directed by Kim Moon-saeng
South Korea 2003

 

The year is 2140. The world has been destroyed by an environmental disaster. The only way to survive is to live in the last outpost of human civilization – Ecoban. The only reason that one can live in Ecoban is because of human slaves who make it work; slaves, who await a hero, who will give them their freedom and save the planet.

“Sky Blue” is the most ambitious and most expensive animated production to date from Korea, being seven years in the making and costing over $10 million, combining cell animation with CGI, as also seen in the Japanese “Appleseed” or even years ago in Disney’s “The Beauty and the Beast”.

From an animation point of view, “Sky Blue” looks amazing. Granted, it is no match to a film like “Appleseed”, but it still looks incredible.

But “Sky Blue” has a flaw. Its story. It is, how shall I say it, simply bad. Take your average post-apocalypse slaves vs. overloads and prophesied coming-of-a-hero plot and then forgot all about it, because all your focus was on making the animation look good. That is the “Sky Blue” in a nutshell.

It openly copies from other science-fiction stories, the characters are flatter than their 2D artwork, the dialogue is at times embarrassing in the way it takes itself serious (or attempts at) and at times makes no sense, and everything is turned into a clichés, like two is company, three is a love-triangle. Worse, the story is so complicated, that you have to make sure you hear every single word said, and those who are able to connect the dots, have long since given up on the film, because of the bad story.

Why no one during the seven year production took just a moment to read the script, is beyond me. Either those involved in the making of “Sky Blue” were dyslexic, never read the script or were too involved in the design of the film to bother.

And that is a shame, because it looks incredible. A lot of scenes have such an impact, that you simply forget the story, like the rain sequence or the motorcycle ride, and it is tempting to watch the film as merely one set-piece after another.

In the end, “Sky Blue” is a film for Asian animation completetists only.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 26, 2003 (Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema)

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow and Pat Pilon for the Screen Caps!

(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL

Bitwin
Region 3 - NTSC
Bitwin
Region 3 - NTSC
Runtime 1:22:23 (4% PAL speedup) 1:26:14 1:34:34
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.60 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.52 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Tartan (Collector's Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Bitwin

 

Bitrate:

 

Bitwin (Limited Original Edition)

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital English (dub), 5.1 Dolby Digital English (dub), DTS English (dub)

Korean DTS (768 kbps), Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 kbps)

Korean DTS (768 kbps), Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)

Subtitles No subtitles English Korean English, Korean
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Disc 2:
• - Production featurettes
• cgi featurette (9:07 / 4:3)
• from page to screen (36:21 / 4:3)
• storyboard featurette (48:08 / 4:3)
• the look of ecoban (18:05 / 4:3)
• creating the dance sequence (2:38 / 4:3)
• a test version of sky blue (7:45 / 4:3)
• theatrical trailer (1:55 / 16x9)
• - The sounds of Sky Blue
• the music (10:35 / 4:3)
• creating the ecobanian motorcycle (4:40 / 4:3)
• ivan's music (1:26 / 4:3)
• - Crew anecdotes (5:38 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: November 14, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Bitwin

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Kim Moon-saeng, CGI supervisors Park Yeong-min and Heung Seong-ho, digital co
• disc 2:
• Making-of (11 parts, 48:44)
• Production Notes
• Gallery (four galleries)
• Internet Trailer (1:42)
• Promotional Materials (trailers (1:42, 3:02 (x2), music video (4:24), posters)
• Filmmaker Profiles
 

DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2003
2-disc Amaray keep case

Chapters 25

Release Information:
Studio: Bitwin

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Kim Moon-saeng, producer Lee Gyung-hak and composer Won Il
• Additonal View Points (14 branches, 38:46, can be viewed separately)
• disc 2:
• 13 featurettes /w Play All option (1:41:21)
• disc 3:
• Line Tests (36:19)
• Rough Continuity (48:05)
• Filmmaker Credits
• DVD-ROM articles

 

DVD Release Date: May 27th, 2004
3-disc special digipak

Chapters 5

 

 

Comments ADDITION BITWIN - NTSC (June 2006): The two R3 sets. The difference in picture is negligible, so I'll leave that out of my comments. Digital-to-digital transfer makes the video virtually perfect, and the three editions look essentially the same (the movie is hard to cap, so some captures aren't exactly the same, see the water drops).

The sound is amazing. Both DTS tracks are astounding, with plenty to show off your system with. The 2 Korean editions win out in this department because of the original language tracks.

As for the extras, between these 2 Korean additions, the LE wins hands down. The features and the 2-discer are great, but the sheer volume of the LE's extras easily beats it. The only downside is the way the movie was split in the longer cut. Five chapter stops compared to twenty-five in the shorter cut, but that's somewhat nitpicky. None of the featurettes, by the way, are repeated.

As for the differences in running time, I can't compare the UK DVD to the original Korean release, but I can compare the two R3 releases. There are many small moments added in here and there, nothing too big. The 'dance' sequence in the bar is longer and more psychedelic. The dream/race to get Shua is no longer intercut, one scene now being before the other. These two things are basically the biggest changes. Other than that, you get many small moments, like establishing shots, and shots of characters than aren't in the shorter version. The dialogue is also changed. It's a bit less direct and less expository. It's also much more in line with the ending of the movie.

The longer cut is better than the shorter one. It breathes a bit more and seems more natural.

 -Pat Pilon

***

The transfer looks impressive. Colors are strong, details decent, and despite minute compression artefacts, normal viewing shows is almost picture perfect.

Sound is the English-language makeover dub, which, according to some sources, should make more sense than the Korean. Personally, I would have been more happy with the Korean original sound and "more sense subtitles". But I understand, that due to how the English edition was edited in an attempt to make up for the bad Korean dialogue, the Korean dialogue track would not have been possible to add.

Be that as it may, the sound comes as usual in 2.0 Dolby Digital, 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS. The surround sound is superb as to be expected. Great separation, great use of all channels, very aggressive rears.

Disc 2 has about 2½ hours of additional material in form of featurettes, which ranges a lot in quality. But for animation fans, it may well be interesting. Tartan has ported most of the extras, except the audio commentary, and its nice of them to add them.

 -Henrik Sylow

 

 






DVD Menus

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Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

   

   

 


 

Screen Captures

(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample

 

 


(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Tartan (Collector's Edition) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP vs. Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Bitwin (Limited Original Edition) - Region 3 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Image:

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Sound:

Both R3s

Extras: LE
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Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL

Bitwin
Region 3 - NTSC
Bitwin
Region 3 - NTSC


 




 

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