Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2001) Poster

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an extended jam on an established theme, with improvisations
angelynx-23 July 2002
I'll try to avoid echoing other comments here and cut straight to the chase: This is not perfect, but MAN it's so close. I had some trouble with the pacing, which seemed a bit slow to me--as if they weren't quite sure how to work with a feature-length timeframe; I'm still a bit hazy on just how the villain's threat was resolved, which I'm usually not after a CB episode; and gosh, *why* isn't "Tank!" on the soundtrack? Songs with words just don't cut it in a CB score. --But honestly, those seem like such small problems next to everything that's wonderful about this movie. It has all the stuff you love about Bebop the series: the brilliant, flashing action and fight sequences, the character interaction, Spike's nicotine jones =), the gorgeous cinematic visuals, and the dreamlike melancholy that underlies even the funniest moments. The villain, his grip on the fantasy/reality divide completely erased after a genetic experiment on Titan, makes a neat counterpoint to Spike, forever haunted by his dreams of the perfect future he once believed in. Jet's protective concern for his reckless teammates was never better painted than in a scene where he blusters about how much happier he was without any of them and couldn't care less where they are, only to pounce on the phone's first ring like a worried mom on date night. There's just a *little* more of Faye's skin for the fanboys (but only a very little bit more, honest! we're not talking topless here! x my heart!), Ed has a trick-or-treat encounter that would never make it to American TV, and even the Big Shot duo put in an appearance (despite having absolutely nothing to say).

It's not intended as a wrap-up or finale to CB the series; it occurs in between episodes and should be thought of that way, as an experimental episode both different from and similar to the original sessions. Kind of like an extended jam on an established theme, with improvisations, in the true bebop style.
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More than worthy of being associated with the series
Alan_Gabriel17 August 2004
This movie is just as good, if not better, than most of the episodes in the series. If Bebop fans learn to accept the story for what it is--an extended version of a typical(albeit superior) episode, this movie will live up to the exceptional quality of the series. And if someone with no knowledge of the series watches this movie, they will have very little to catch up on. The great thing about the film is its accessibility to all audiences with its stand alone storyline(although Bebop fans can still get new things out of it).

With the introduction of the character of Vincent Volaju, the Cowboy Bebop brain trust has provided a great nemesis for the protagonist Spike to interact with. These two characters' fight scenes are exceptional, and the bond that they share works great with the overall tone of the series. The subtle philosophical points of the film may not be mind blowing, but they are definitely above average. Great dialogue is rare in animation, let alone anime, and this is one of the strong points of both the series and the movie. It is obvious that the creators have tried to fit almost all elements of the series into this work, and they have succeeded, despite that great burden. Each of the five major characters from the series(Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein) get the right amount of time in the spotlight, while allowing the new characters(Vincent, Electra, and Rashid) time to develop properly. Also, as any fan of the series can vouch for, the music is not only original, but almost like a character unto itself.

Ultimately, this film boils down to the centerpiece of the series, Spike Spiegel, and his final meeting with his kindred spirit, the tortured Vincent Volaju. The result of this film helps propel the series into its heart wrenching conclusion and underlying philosophical tone.

More than worthy of being associated with the Cowboy Bebop series.
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A Heavenly Door
peter-c-odlaug28 October 2002
I have to disagree with anyone who says that Knockin' on Heavens Door (Tengoku no tobira) is a throw-away movie version of a popular anime series.

I have seen this movie and I loved it. The plot is involving and keeps the viewer involved in the story.

The aspect of Vincent being the one who is searching for a way to see if he is really dreaming or awake is a nice twist from it just being Spike who wonders the question. The soundtrack fits well with the action in the movie and heightens the action and suspense.

The scenery is dynamic and the characters, the main cast as well as the new additions, carry the weight (yes, yes, I know they're not real) of the movie and the script which is well written and very Bebopish.

This movie is a perfect addition to the Cowboy Bebop series and is definitely not a throw-away.
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Sure to at least please fans of anime or good movies in general.
mrplaid20013 April 2003
I'll start off by saying that I'm a huge fan of Cowboy Bebop. No other anime has characters that are as real and deep, yet fantastic and archetypical as this series. Every episode in the series manages to be visually stunning and/or humorous and uplifting while at the ame time being beautiful and poetic all in a twenty-minute timeframe. So its hard not to judge Coboy Bebop: Knockin' On Heaven's Door under the same light or along the same lines as the series. That said, the movie is very cool and very enjoyable, and from the fansub that I watched, I know I'll be snagging this as soon as (or if ever) it is released on DVD.

After the initial five minute attention grabber and wonderfully cheesey rotoscoped-looking opening credits, Spike and the gang set off on the trail of a bearded bioterrorist worth 300,000,000 woolongs who plans to do some bad stuff to whatever planet it is they're on (I think its Mars, but I'm pretty sure they never actually say in the movie). Along the way, we get action, not-so-much action, Maracans, we get to hear some more awesome Yoko Kanno music, Spike reaffirms his position as the most badass character ever in animation, and we almost get to see Faye's boobies. The action scenes are superb, especially two in particular. Spike's first fight with the woefully underdeveloped Electra is easily some of the best martial arts animation ever. Also, the monorail scene is probably one of the coolest and definitely the goriest thing ever seen in Cowboy Bebop.

The movie does, however, slow down at parts, especially when the focus is lifted from the main characters. A lot of times I just felt like I was waiting for the movie to pick itself up and get going again, something that never happens in the show, but, then again, this film is nearly two hours long (awesome for an anime). One reason the film seems so slow in comparison to the series is that there are a lot more establishing shots and the like. It makes you wonder whether Shinichiro Watanabe was trying to be theatrical or just padding the film. Its almost as though they got too good at pacing their own show, which, I suppose is a testament to the original series. Every storyline moved so fluidly and was paced so well that the movie seems sluggish in comparison.

The movie's supporting characters aren't all that great, either. Electra is pretty bland, as is the antagonist, Vincent. That's kind of disappointing, since the Bebop crew was able to give so much personality to other lesser characters who had a lot less screen time in the original series (like Indian dude and the card-playing old guys, who both, thankfully, show up in the movie and play pretty cool roles in some scenes). Most of the other supporting cast is just fodder for Vincent to off to make him seem less likable. One thing that's sure to annoy a lot of people is Vincent's pseudo-religious rants and vague creepy-talk. The way that he talks and the way that others talk about him is a bit indicative of Shinji Ikari and Evangelion, but really not as good or interesting. If you look hard enough, you might be able to find some meaning in the symbolism they're trying to impose, but most of the time it will just come off as BS. At least he looks cool, and in the end, that's all that really matters in a villain.

Electra, on the other hand, is just your average sterotypical good-lookin' hard-ass female cop-type person that shares a mysterious past with Vincent that really isn't all that mysterious or interesting. But the film is really about Spike and the gang, and none of the principal cast go neglected. Each character has some pretty cool/funny scenes, even Ein and Ed (who I'm sure annoys the hell out of some people). The sad thing is that there's none of the ass-slapping hilariousness of "Mushroom Samba," nor is there any of the frenetic and fast-paced shooting action of "Pierot Le Fou." But we do get to see Spike use his 'leet jeet kun do fighting skillz to kick a fair share of ass. In terms of pacing and character development, the movie comes off as an extended version of "Jupiter Jazz" parts one and two, probably my least favorite episodes, sans any cool character revelations. I guess you can't really expect to learn anything new about the characters since the series tied itself up so nicely.

In the end, though, "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is freaking awesome. It may sound like I've been ragging on it, but that's just because the series is so awesome its hard for anything to hold a candle to it. So does the movie do the series justice? Absolutely, if you're a fan, definitely check it out, but you'd probably have to be a fan to really enjoy it. If the movie were a regular thirty-minute episode, it would be pretty forgettable. Even still, chances are that that's ten times better than most other anime out there.
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SSJAniFan7 July 2003
I've been one of the lucky people able to see Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' On Heaven's Door at the box office. It kicks so much ### on so many levels. Featuring just about the entire main TV series cast at one point or another(with the exception of TV villain Vicious), it is one of the best movies I've seen in 2003.

The plot is a bit haunting, especially with the bad guy being a bio-terrorist, but then again, this was made back in 2001, before any of the stuff was going to happen. I'm not going to say much, except it is a bit hard to understand if you only see it once. Also, it helps to better understand the characters if you've seen the TV series.

Yoko Kanno once again composes the music, and it's awesome. Just about every tune perfectly fits in with the scenes.

And what scenes they are. The action scenes kick dirt in the faces of most live action movies I've seen recently. The fight scenes literally make the weak action in the Matrix films look like ballet. Just see the fight at the end of the film and you'll know what I mean. It's just...... wow. I can't really describe it without spoiling anything, and I do not want to do that. Another thing good about animation... you can get away with stuff you could never do in live films, without a ton of CGI. This helps when you see some really big animation stunt. And of course, it couldn't be CB without one of those awesome chases in Spike's ship, the swordfish.

BOTTOM LINE: With the DVD out at most stores, including places like Walmart, you have no excuse to miss this thrill ride.
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compromise between appeal to both "cowboy" faithful and neophyte
sunsetrider1 January 2004
"Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven's Door" is an animated feature based on a tv anime series (released on DVD) that has gained quite a following on both sides of the Pacific. It is interesting to note how Mr. Watanabe manages to pull off a balancing act required to satisfy both the loyal following of the tv series, to whom the introduction of principal characters and setting would be redundant, and to those who are relatively new to the "Cowboy Bebop" universe, of which I am the latter.

To those not well versed in the "Cowboy Bebop" lore, it takes some time to get familiar with various featured characters. The film begins in the same fashion as any of its self-contained tv episode would, in that not a lot of exposition is provided for grasping the setting. The characters are more or less introduced as 'bounty hunters' and that is as much of a background the film lets on before establishing the main plot.

It is not too much of a setback not to be given any opportunity to become attached to any of the characters. They are there to simply convey various scenes of the main plot and arrange them into place before they culminate into an oft-tread climax. The plot is briskly disclosed (rather literally spelled out by dialogue, no implication) and turns out to be a fairly mundane yarn that does not break any new ground in narrative nor provide any catalyst for any interesting character development or revelation.

The symbolism and nuance that are laid thick in colorful locales and poignant sceneries may merit repeat viewings to appreciate them; a careful analysis of the film brings another level of enjoyment to overall experience. Also relationships between the characters and circumstantial developments of the plot seem to rely too impulsively on coincidence, not mindful of what the viewer is meant to discern. This could be attributed to attempting to weave a credible plot involving diverse elements and subplots in a limited frame of time, or it could have been something else relevant in the context of the "Cowboy Bebop" tv series. Some have suggested that this film is nothing but a figurative dream, in which the main character confronts the guilt of his past to help him proceed to his ultimate fate in the last remaining episodes of the tv series.

If that was the case, then the film ends up being not as complete or entertaining to the "Cowboy Bebop" novices as it would have been for those well acquainted with the tv series. To that effect, it is rather disappointing.

"Cowboy Bebop" features lush animation that features some of the most impressive displays of action sequences put to cel, particularly the confrontation at the medical lab between Spike and Electra, not to mention the prolonged martial no-holds-barred showdown between Vincent and Spike. The character designs are fairly distinct and varied, although in some instances they linger a bit too long on stereotypical depiction of some races. The details given to many of the locales are unsurpassed in their variety and ambience; it is a testament to how artists went as far as to include references to mainstream culture, dotting the background with "WcDonald's" and "Kodac" (although I am lead to believe such play on words is the Japanese equivalent of product placement).

The music is another highlight of the film, which is not unexpected of Yoko Kano, who is a renowned composer of anime soundtrack who have previously lent her resourceful talents to other popular anime such as "Macross Plus" (another collaboration with the director Watanabe). The compact blend of blues and jazz heightens the urgent mood and graces slower parts with an equally effective repertoire. I don't know about others, but I did not mind the dubbing of the film too much. Maybe because the voices are supported by a script that is partially altered to bring out genuine emotion to the dialogue and to resolve colloquial barriers between the languages.

"Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven's Door" is a good standard action romp that is further enhanced by superb animation, equally enjoyable music, and more or less succeeds both as a tribute to the series' fans and a good introduction of the series to those who might be interested in one of the better anime licenses to have come ashore. Recommended.
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in the shadow of the (much) better series
mattwakeman3 June 2002
i suspect that one of the reasons that this film has such a high score is because it contains two very important words to many anime fans: 'cowboy bebop'. and thus it gets a lot of 10's. but it is because of its title that i cant give it that high a score.

this is an ok film, better then sum (spriggan) worse than others but the problem is that it is going with one of, if not the, finest series of anime ever. the characters are there but the story and the dialogue were not. and this is a real shame. eye candy is fine but there must be more to it than this, especially when compared to the epic story lines of 'real folk blues'.

its ok, but with 'cowboy bebop' that just isnt good enough.
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If Tarantino did an animated feature, this would be it
s14racerguy10 March 2004
This movie combines style, gunplay, a compelling story, deep characters, detailed visuals, and a wonderful jazz score. A+

To be fair though, you must be at least a little familliar with the series to fully appreciate this movie. The series itself is a masterpiece; in my opinion one of the greatest television series of all time. The dub is a cut above most imported anime. Dialogue is often underapreciated in an animated series, so dubbing companies will be indiscreet with selecting voice actors. Bebop's dub, however, is very close to the original script and the voice acting is quite impressive. None of the jokes or subtleties were lost in the translation.
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A fun romp with some old friends.
refresh_daemon13 January 2008
Watching Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is kind of like reconnecting with an old friend. He's got the same sense of humor, the same style and you recognize him, but at the same time, he's matured. Perhaps he's grown sleeker, taken advantage of improved technologies, or perhaps gotten a little wide around the belly.

Everything's back in Cowboy Bebop the movie. Because of the characters and plot as we know it, the movie probably occurs somewhere in the late teen episodes or early twenties episodes of the series, which has a positive and a negative effect. If you've already watched the series, then certain things don't surprise you since you know what happens to the characters later. Furthermore, because this was produced after the series, it also doesn't get to tangle with the central storyline of the series (they mythology), where the series, which was excellent even in the anthology episodes, really shined. On the plus side, it hits where we're most familiar with the series, before things get super serious and with the characters in the state that they spent most of the series.

The story deals with a bioterror threat and the Cowboys get caught up in it, while trying to nab bounties to make a little change while in an urban city. There is no space travel or dogfights in space, but The Movie does take efforts to include a little of everything that the series has had (minus the mythos), so expect to see martial arts, gunplay, dogfights (but not in space), goofing off, hungry characters, Ed being silly and such.

Unfortunately, the story only lives up to the high standard of a stand-alone episode of Cowboy Bebop, but despite the fact that The Movie is considerably longer than an episode, it all flows along smoothly and feels like you just watched a good two-parter rather than an episode that's been dragged out. Nonetheless, since we hardly get into the Cowboy characters, the story doesn't have the same resonance of the stronger episodes in the series. Instead we get to go deeper into a pair of characters for the movie, who have somewhat interesting stories, but aren't strong enough to really carry the emotional heft of the film since they aren't the protagonists.

The art, on the other hand, is still gorgeous and the movie benefits from the widescreen aspect ratio as well as what appears to be an improved budget for the animation, as everything, from backgrounds to characters, are treated with a wonderful level of detail. There are a few scenes involving butterflies that are absolutely beautiful to look at. Furthermore, the sound benefits from a great surround sound mix, adding directionality and heft to the soundtrack. Finally, the score by Yoko Kanno is delicious to listen to and perfectly brings you back into the series while presenting some absolutely stunning new songs in the mix as well.

Overall, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie is a fun ride. Although, in the end, it's not as strong (story-wise) as the more compelling episodes of the series, the art, the sound, the music and just getting to spend a little more time again with characters you've come to know and love makes this a thoroughly enjoyable film. Recommended for Cowboy Bebop fans--but you must watch at least most of the series before watching this. 8/10.
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The Greatest Anime Movie Ever for the Greatest Anime Series Ever.
lleshf19 June 2002
This movie was so perfect that it was almost too good to be true. If you are a fan of the Anime, you will LOVE this series. The Anime is without a doubt, the greatest animated series of all time. Everything else is far inferior compared to the greatness that is Cowboy BeBop. So I remember seeing this movie months ago and I set my expectations low because I didn't want to be that disappointed. Boy was I amazed at what I saw! I loved every bit, every aspect of this film. Once again, the Great Watanabe ,Nobumoto and co. have amazed the world of Otaku lovers with this work of sheer brilliance. Amazing production, amazing quality and I just love these people! Oh and I love Bandai, Sotsu, Sunrise. The music in this was astounding, as expected from the super-talented Yoko Kanno. She is in her own domain of musical excellence. The tracks were amazing, and contrary to what a previous reviewer has stated, the opener to this movie is so hip, funky and jazzy that you will want a copy of it and all the other amazing tracks featured in this film. The entire crew did an amazing job! The main characters that we all love, were treated with grace, dignity and were all handled beautifully. We were even treated to new characters that revealed themselves to be very deep and realistic. The script was amazing, so humane and real and yet often at times gush of sheer 'poetry'. The action sequences were a treat and are unforgettable. The animation in this is far superior to that of the series and are so groundbreaking that I feel that no hand-to-hand combat scenes or arial fight scenes have EVER been animated with this sort of amazing quality and sheer realism. They are sight to behold. Again, the crew responsible in this did an amazing job! I can't praise the creators of this enough! As far as the plot, everything seems to flow together smoothly and just as the series, at times, is almost 'artsy' in terms of momentum shifts and 'high and low periods' where everything just seems to fit in perfectly and make perfect sense. Folks, this film is a product that far surpasses anything Hollywood has given us in terms of this genre (non-animated even) for the passed 20 years. This far exceeds anything in terms of entertainment for that time period, IMHO. Granted, the characters and source material was so good that nobody could have ultimately 'messed up' a Cowboy BeBop movie. But still, this movie far exceeded mine and others expectations. When you read all these reviews you must realize that they are not all completely wrong. This movie is very very good, at the very least. Now, I see that some of the later reviewers were more critical of this then they were praising of it. Now, that is just silly, IMHO. I think these reviewers were so overanalyzed this thing to death, that they were only looking for what may be the slightest 'wrong thing' in this movie and decided to expound on them in their reviews. Don't take the very critical critics in here too seriously. These people probably have seen this thing 5 times straight and then after the 6th viewing decided one morning that this movie was not as good as they originally thought it was. This movie is so close to perfect that it would take the most anal of critics or the most yuppy of coffee drinking critics to find something even slightly wrong with this work of art. So, in other words, the critical ones on here are reading too into this and think that this is some sort of arthouse project that must contain some sort of hidden message that reveals the 'secret of life' or something.

In conclusion, if you are true BeBop fan, you will absolutely LOVE this movie to no end! If you are not a BeBop fan (as if those even exist) but love anime, you will still find this movie to be utterly amazing. If you do not appreciate any animated films whatsoever, you will still find this movie to be the 'exception' for it will be far superior to anything you have ever seen in years (non-animated wise). This movie was excellent in every aspect and is truly memorable in every way.

Bottom line, see this movie and prepare to be entertained.
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Anime for the action lover/psychology major...
Kurt_Cocaine25 May 2006
Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no tobira(Japan, animated, color, 2001) A.K.A. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' On Heaven's Door or Cowboy Bebop: The Movie thanks to Bob Dylan's lawyers and the lackwits at Columbia TriStar Films Cast(French dub): Bruno Muellenaerts(Spike Spiegel) Arnaud Leonard(Vincent Volaju) Stephane Flamand(Edward) Shinichiro Watanabe's 1998 series Cowboy Bebop is considered by many to be a classic of animation on television, oozing style, violence and a great jazz-based score from every pore of it's existence. After a somewhat lengthy absence(long enough for Cartoon Network to release an English dub), the Bebop crew return in this fabulous film(released in North America in 2002 to some quite positive reviews from art house critics) that takes an interesting story and expands it in a way the series couldn't, there's some SERIOUS philosophical depth here, not as much as, say, End Of Evangelion, but enough for your average action flick.

Opening with an insanely cool convenience store robbery sequence(replete with memorable dialogue and a cool "fish-eye" framing technique) and not letting up until it's VERY METAPHORICAL and beautifully animated ending. CB:TNT packs on humor, drama, thrills and DEEP THOUGHT by the crateful. You'll laugh, you'll scream, you'll shout "THAT WAS F**KING COOL!!!!", you'll have the distinct urge to crash a lecture on the human psyche! This movie has it all!

Our protagonists are Spike(lazily voiced by a bored-sounding Muellenaerts), a slacking loser of a bounty hunter who harbors an "interesting" past, Jet(I couldn't find a voice credit for the French dub on IMDb), a ex-cop and master of vegetarian cooking, Faye(same as last note), a problem gambler with amnesia and Edward(given a soulfully bizarre lilt by Flamand), an androgynous female hacker with zero attention span and an unholy amount of flexibility(which she spends most of the film demonstrating). After a search for a local hacker with a five million dollar bounty on his head goes horridly wrong, the gang are left in pursuit of Vincent Volaju(Who Leonard lends an inherent amount of spookiness to), a bioterrorist with a military history who supposedly has been dead for the past three years., and really is!

After close to two hours of comedy, violence and mind-f**k plot developments, the end credits roll and you may wedge your way from the edge of your seat. The film entertains on many a level and will more than certainly please fans of the series as well as newcomers. Despite me having the desire to watch it French, the film is best experienced with the English dub(close to flawless, expect minor characters are wooden and there are a few agitating accents) or the original Japanese(despite the "authenticity", I never enjoyed the Japanese voices for the Bebop crew, except Jet) with subtitles in a language of your choice.

Verdict: 100/100, not be missed by anyone who loves action or anime.
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The Gangs back together
thomasjay-220129 December 2018
A final outing for the Bebop crew the brilliant standards of the show return, a compelling villain with an understandable plan, amazing cast of charming characters with many a returning face, the lovely world, amazing action and fantastic balance of 'flat' and 3D animation the Bebop movie was a brilliant end to an amazing show. Just short of 2 hours Inrecommend you watch this thrilling conclusion
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Fun action film with some good laughs
Tweekums17 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'd heard of 'Cowboy Bebop' long before I started watching anime but never got around to watching any version of it until I saw this movie. Not having seen the series I thought I might be confused as to who was who but the characters were introduced in a way that lets the first time viewer know who they are without wasting time in a way that could put off people who are familiar with the characters. The film follows a group of bounty hunters led by one Spike Spiegel who must find a disgruntled ex-soldier before he can release a deadly pathogen that could wipe out all life on Mars… Yes Mars, until it was mentioned that they were in fact on Mars I'd assumed they were on Earth, in a city like New York! As they look for there man they must also evade various authorities who are determined to make sure nobody learns about the pathogen as they are responsible for its development.

The film was well animated and populated by a great cast of characters. The action scenes were well executed without going over the top or being too gory and despite her rather skimpy costume Faye Valentine managed to remain decent… well just about! This along with the lack of swearing means that the film is suitable for young teens. While this is predominantly an action film there are also a fair about of laughs to be had, especially when Ed is on screen.

These comments are based on watching the film in Japanese with English subtitles.
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A complex dramatic film that humanizes the anime genre as it delivers the thrills.
toqtaqiya211 September 2010
The film followup to what is one of the most respected anime series ever does not disappoint. The animation was given a boost. Since the story takes place on Mars (a few days before Halloween) this time expect to see plenty of eye candy. Mars, in Cowboy Bebop, is very much a multicultural place that reminds one of New York City and Tokyo. There is a strong presence of Arabesque atmosphere along with psychedelia. The story itself is a straightforward one, very similar to any one of the episodes of the series. This time, however, the Bebop crew face a much deadlier opponent. In some ways the story isn't original. We also don't really learn anything new about the main characters. The focus in the film is on the villain and his motives. Yoko Kanno put together another impressive soundtrack for the film. It features some memorable tunes that seem perfect for what's taking place on screen. Overall, the film is entertaining and action-packed. There's nothing particularly new or great here, but it's a solid addition to the TV series. If you haven't seen the series before then the film is a good introduction to the world of Cowboy Bebop. I heard that the story here takes place between episodes 22 and 23 of the series. I definitely recommend seeing it.
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Loved it
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews31 October 2009
I have not watched a second of the show, so I came into this with no prior knowledge about it, and can not draw any comparisons. With that said, I had no trouble following this. I can imagine that I might have appreciated it even more if I had seen the episodes, but this is such solid and capable story-telling that I could jump right in for the two hours of this and not feel like anything went completely over my head. The atmosphere is excellently built up, and the futuristic city is a fascinating world(not to mention a stunning sight to behold). All of the design work is marvelous, and the style is impeccable. Whether establishing mood or delivering awesome, unforgettable epic action(in the form of bad-ass gun-play and intense, high-speed chases), this hits the nail on the head. I saw the English dub version, so that is the only one I can comment on: The voice acting is masterful, no performances felt off. Music is cool, with a lot of jazz, and in general, the sound-side of this is magnificent. The plot is engaging, and the pacing is spot-on, never losing the audience's attention. Editing and cinematography are amazing, and this has tons of incredible visuals. The humor varies a tad, with a couple of really funny jokes and gags. Language is moderate/strong. There is sensuality and hints towards sexuality, though no nudity in this. Also, the violence can get bloody, and there is disturbing content in this. I recommend this to any fan of Animé. 10/10
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as a relative newcomer, it hit the spot very well
Quinoa19849 May 2009
Cowboy Bebop is a series I'll have to watch now from start to finish. I've caught it a few times on TV, and while never less than amazed by the animation and the vivacity and energy present in every frame with the music and action and warped characters, it's not something that can be always completely clear in terms of its chronology. According to IMDb the movie is supposed to take place between episodes 22 and 23, but the good news for those who aren't even casual fans of the series as a whole it can stand on its own feet. The movie is a triumph of super-cool action-bravura and wit, of some bits of real humor (that little girl and the dog, maybe the two most intelligent beings in this universe, are the great comic relief) coupled with bad-asses, truly vicious villain and a few people just going through the motions or covering things up. It doesn't matter, in short, to be a fan of the series - it jets you into the front seat and lets you off into this 21st century trip of Mars where the world could end tomorrow while put to some of the hippest music you could ever find.

The plot might not be worth totally summarizing here (it's on the IMDb main page anyway to read yourself), but to comment on it it's not entirely something new to science fiction. A virus being released that has the particulars that Victor is about to unleash, where tiny microbes are let loose that are really microscopic machines that will destroy your insides, has been done before. The plot itself isn't the most original thing. What's fresh and inviting and engaging and nearly daring is how it treats its grungy, multi-cultural climate and the despair that hangs over everyone trying to get by, bounty hunters and doctors alike.

One could argue that Victor, a man in black who could be compared to V from V For Vendetta minus the contact with the public and call for anarchy, is an emo-dude out to bring everyone down with him due to his dissatisfaction. But it never fazed me; this is a villain perfectly suited as a horrific opponent to Spike and Elektra, trying to track him down and bring him in before he can do his worst possible, and we see this in the quintessential sequence of the film where they all fight on the monorail. If for nothing else Cowboy Bebop: the Movie becomes a kind of must-see for animation and not just anime lovers. It's slick but breathtaking, like a much more superior treatment of the goofiness trying to cloak as grungy fight scenes in Wanted.

It's not exactly a case of style over substance either. There's some good questions raised about the element of the outsider in a culture that should be accepting of all of them (of all places, of course, on Mars), and as any thought-provoking science fiction vehicle does it gives some food for thought. But the filmmakers are out to dazzle with movement and veracity, and this is where it shines. Save for one legitimate quibble, which is the lack of the TV show's unforgettable opening title sequence, it's a rollicking, fast-paced but touching R-rated adventure that isn't without humor. Not a Miyazaki-level masterpiece, but more like a supplemental viewing to go with Akira. It rocks.
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Freaking Amazing and Thought Provoking
pmm416 February 2007
While I will concur that the movie is not as good as the show, it is still one of the best. The movie can either be a starting point, or well...not really an ending point as it is in accordance with the show in between episodes 23 and 24. You get a deep enough look at each character to get a feeling for who they are...with the exception of Ed and Ein but thats no big deal as you get enough storyline when you start watching the shows which you will. If you have never seen the show then I can guarantee you will be intrigued after seeing this movie. Anyway Im rambling and I highly recommend (thus my 10 rating) this movie if you are a die hard fan or a n00b to the bebop universe.
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Ostrakon857 April 2005
If you've seen the series, and liked it you'll love the movie. Set somewhere between episodes 22 and 23 (or 23 and 24) this story follows the normal path of each episode of bebop, but the story is longer and more involved. Since there is no real flow of a true storyline between the episodes, you wouldn't be lost without seeing the whole series, but you might want to check out the first few so you're not lost in the beginning with the characters. When I saw it I had already seen the series through twice, and each time I seem to pick up certain things that i missed before. With the movie, I've only seen it once, but would have no problem watching it over and over again. I guarantee if you are a fan of bebop, or anime at all, this is a great film for you.
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Proof that animation is as good as any other film form.
Ravlen27 December 2001
I've never seen a movie that gave me more goosebumps than this movie.

I just hope that when it gets released in the states, reviewers will take a look at what can be done with animation. Maybe then North America will start to realize that "animated" does not mean "kids only"; that you can covey emotion as well as any other media.

This isn't a "cartoon". This is a drama written for adults. For adults doesn't mean nudity (which there is none of). It just means that it was written to satisfy the adult mind. The story is about a terrorist, and those who are fighting against him. There is violence and death, just like in any other action movie about terrorism. Don't think you can show this to young children, because you can't.

This isn't just a movie, it is animated Art for the eyes and for the mind. The quality is of the highest animation ever produced... you feel that you are watching real people, but just in a slightly different world. The way they talk, move, look and interact makes this movie feel as real as anything with live actors.

The music is top notch, and will be a purchase I shall eagerly seek out. It complements the moods of the movie, without interfering.

In short, wow.
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Compliments the show brilliantly
TheLittleSongbird13 January 2013
The show is one of the finest examples of anime there is, so when I heard that there was a movie I thought to myself that this could go either way. Thankfully Cowboy Bebop: The Movie went the way I hoped it would, which was that being a movie that complimented the show well and succeeded on its own merits, both of which Cowboy Bebop: The Movie does brilliantly. The animation is both ethereal and haunting, with the character designs and faces expressive. The music is emotionally complex and fits the mood of the film perfectly, when there's action it's rousing, when there is an emotional moment it is poignant and when there is an intensely dark moment it is haunting. The dialogue is very thought-provoking with some nice humour, true to the style of the show actually, while the story has a lot of layers and my attention never wavered. The characters are still the characters we know and love and written just as well. Of course the show had more time to develop its stories and characters, but the movie does more than credibly in both these areas. The voice work is similarly impressive. Overall, I recommend it without hesitation. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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I expected more.
lewiskendell7 July 2010
"Well, that's a real shame. But, we're not cops and we're not from some charity organization. Sorry lady, we don't protect or serve. This is strictly business."

One word came to my mind after watching this. Unnecessary.

I have been putting off watching the Cowboy Bebop movie for several years now. I'm a huge fan of the show, but I had heard and read so many mixed or negative reviews of the movie online and from friends, that I was hesitant to see it. In the end, though, I figured that any Cowboy Bebop had to be somewhat worthwhile. That turned out to be partially true, but I still find myself disappointed.

To be blunt, the story was completely uninteresting. Each episode of the series was like a (good) mini-movie on its own, so I don't get why giving the creators more time to develop and tell this story, ended up producing something that wasn't nearly as engaging as any given one of the original episodes. It felt like the decision to make the movie came first, and very little effort was put into making a worthy plot to go along with it.

The new characters are uniformly dull, much of the soundtrack was poor (How did THAT happen? Where's the jazz?), and the film as a whole felt disjointed, at best. I tried as hard as o could to like it all, but the most positive description I can give for my experience is "meh".

I'll admit that it warmed my fanboy heart to see Spike, Faye, and the gang in action again. The animation was very good, and some of the action scenes were top notch. But without the great storytelling that we've all come to expect, I'd recommend this to only the most fervent Cowboy Bebop fan. You'd have much more fun in the same amount of time by just watching four of your favorite episodes of the show.
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Knockin' in the Wrong Places
henry-mikitish20 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I can only look at this movie in one way: in the view of a Bebop enthusiast. In truth, I was disappointed by the movie, and for a number of reasons. Let's look at the bad first:

1. Spike doesn't act in character. When ever in the TV show is he getting on random women? I mean, he never does jack crap with Faye; and I find the following even weirder, that he explicitly says in the movie that (random woman) is like "strong," and all this horsey bologna, when in the show he says (even more explicitly) that he doesn't like women with attitudes (Faye). Yet there he is, hitting on a girl with a gun who's trying to shoot him full of holes. Why? Don't know.

According to the director, Spike acts oppositely towards the people he likes (always giving Jet the finger in the show, never liking Faye, hating on Ed and the Dog when he obviously cares about them)... Why is this woman (Electra von Random Boobs) even there? She should have been replaced with a female lead we give two s***s about, in other words, Faye. If they wanted to work romance into the show, this *feature length* movie could have TOTALLY brewed a little something more than NOTHING between Spike and Faye. I mean, Goodness Mary Moses! Sure, I said Spike "doesn't like girls with attitudes," but here's the catch: Faye's been around him a long time--enough time to make a serious relationship. This woman pops up randomly--out of nowhere! When Faye popped up out of nowhere, Spike didn't get all "hey baby" with her, and both of the women were swinging guns around. Besides, Faye is way hotter than (random woman made for the movie). (Random lady) wasn't even well developed as a character. Who wants to see her? No one. Enough said.

2. Lost feel of what makes Bebop what it is. There were no blues jams (barely), and there was not a single shot of outer space (unless it was in the beginning out a window, or something, or on a computer screen). There was no classic Bebop feel of "Bounty Hunters," except for in the very beginning at the convenience store. That was the high part of the movie for me.

3. Off the last note, I have a Chicken Bone to pick with the music (only the Bebop masters will catch that one!). Where was the good music? Where was "Tank!"? Not in this movie!

4. Filled with silly mumbo jumbo. I don't care about this whole "knockin' on heaven's" door stuff. It wasn't even well portrayed. To be honest, mumbo jumbo doesn't work for me unless it's one: NOT an action movie, TWO, a TV series where it can spread out, or THREE, actually good mumbo jumbo, that really, REALLY makes you think (Inception). Besides, the whole message was gobbled, forced, and abominable. I can barely describe it, it was so f***ed up.

5. Plot. Nano creatures in lymph cells, zzz… I didn't know this was Discovery Health. C'mon, let's follow a wild crook through space, get lost among the stars, meet an alien life form! We've seen the whole super soldiers on Titan stuff before, and it's not getting any better the more they dust it off and throw back in the plot. Unlike crime fights, space, and bounty hunting, Titan plots about viruses are not what Bebop's about. Leave the viruses to Dr. House.

6. Putting the bad dude in a halfway respectable light was just... bad. And there's Spike, chatting with him at the end. What's up with that? He has the same voice as Vicious, too, which really blew my mind. His incessant chatter about BS was also dumb, but I already went through how bad the mumbo jumbo was. The ideal bad dude: did the same creepy stuff with Faye but maybe go a bit farther, and then Spike totally whips his ass. That would have been satisfying.

7. With the computer theme, I think Ed should have done more hacking, like she was known for when she first appeared. She's supposed to be the Godchild of this stuff!

8. Not enough Faye. That other (random pair of tits) should have not been in the movie. I was really hoping this movie would get some Spike/Faye going on. Some might then say, "How would it fit chronologically?" Dude, I never said they needed to get married. There should just be some romantic tension that basically returns to normal by the end. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Did I say this already? Yes, I did, but it's the part that most annoyed me.

The Good?

1. If you sleep through the boring debriefings and the main villain's lame monologues, the action scenes are quite good, at least animation-wise. I think there should have been a bit more group Bebop action, Faye, Jet, and Spike back-to-back, blowing down the baddies. Wait… here I am going on again about what it SHOULD have been.

2. I laughed three times.

Bottom line: It was a decent watch. I shouldn't have come with such high expectations, but it's hard not to when it's attached to my favorite series of all-time. So disappointed that there was no Faye-Spike stuff… Such a drag. Ugh… Julia. Ugh… (Random Tits).
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A good anime movie, breaking a lot of the patterns in the genre
siderite16 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I really enjoyed this film. I didn't watch the series, only one episode, but I felt that you didn't really need to see the episodes to understand the movie.

I thought that the intelligence community in the movie was really weird, but the atmosphere was very nice. Bio terrorism, hacking, human dimension, all blended into a nice mix, without dazzling with strange and implausible technology.

I liked the extra footage after the credits, where they show the people in the city they saved, as to bring an extra value to the actions in the film. The sad-romantic-warrior theme is common to Japanese films, but still enjoyable.

I think it is definitely worth a watch.

====== after watching the series

The series is great and I felt awful when it ended so abruptly after what it seemed like a few episodes. The film captures the ideas in the series very well and this is something very few series manage to accomplish.
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Rather on the slow side for the Cowboy
Nigel St. Buggering27 November 2004
Fans of Cowboy Bebop will find everything that the series does right on display here. The action sequences are excellent, particularly the martial arts scenes, which display more fluid and complex choreography than any animation in memory.

However, while the action standards of the series are met, there's little character. The new additions are more fully developed than the series regulars. And while the save-the-world plot machinations keep the story moving forward, it's nothing particularly special.

What really left me cold was the bad guy. As any James Bond fan can attest, a hero is only as good as his villain, and the film-makers try their best to give Spike a worthy adversary. While his martial arts prowess gives Spike a run for his money, his motivation makes little to no sense. They were apparently trying for an extreme nihilism angle, but he instead comes off as pointless. The man is clearly deranged, as he can't decide whether he's living real life or a dream, and wants to end it all. But how exactly does releasing a plague that will kill everyone but himself solve his problem? Wouldn't suicide be a more sensible option? Nevertheless, he holds forth on his dilemma at great length to anyone who will listen. The writer clearly believes that this is all quite fraught with portent, but it comes off as pretentious and dull.

When a series is expanded into a movie, fans expect to see something bigger and more important, and which hopefully fleshes out the characters and brings some growth to their stories. Instead, we get what would be a rather mediocre episode at thirty minutes expanded to nearly two hours.
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Did I miss something?
s13racer22 October 2009
There's a horde of 10's here and not quite sure if I watched the same movie. There's definitely things to rejoice about here with familiar characters and awesome fighting sequences but this movie was too slow and never fully engaged me. Vincent and Eleka were cool characters but I've never felt like they were worth the emotional investment to really care. OK, so he thought his whole life was like a dream because they erased his memory. You poor baby, and now he's going to try to annihilate everyone. Couldn't really relate there because I was thinking, just move on then! Beside this, the TV series set such high standards and although it is unfair to compare the two, it really can't be helped. This movie is a 5 but if you want to watch a 10, watch the last two episodes of the TV series, "Real Folk Blues".
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