STEAMBOY (Katsuhiro Otomo). 126 minutes. Opens Friday (March 18). For venues and times, see Movies, page 90. Rating: N Rating: N
Steamboy 's clinking, clanking, clattering cacophony may appeal to fans of director Katsuhiro Otomo , best known outside Japan for the anime classic Akira.
During the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, three generations of scientists clash over a powerful "steam ball." What purports to be a conflict between science and commerce is really just an excuse to make a lot of animated steam that for some reason never scalds anyone.
The long (126 minutes) film boasts wonderful backgrounds, lousy foregrounds and even worse accents.
Anna Paquin 's voice is believable as a boy's, but neither she nor British-born Patrick Stewart nor Alfred Molina can muster anything like a believable Manchester accent. All you can say about the dialogue is that it's probably better in the original Japanese. Blech.