Natural City Reviews

  • Jul 24, 2014

    To relinquish Natural City to the "Blade Runner" copycat bin, which so many reviews do, and which might seem the obvious and correct thing at first go, does the film something of a disservice. It struck me that while it works off of the same "conceptual fabric" as Ridley Scott's vision of the PKD novel, it was, under the surface, a different film in a number of ways, and offers a dystopean vision that is uniquely Korean with cultural and sociological reference points which understandably Scott and North American audiences do not usually have the experiencial palatte to grasp without a great deal of effort and attention. While east and west have some shared iconography of what a decaying society is like, they also have many that are idiosyncratic. It took me several viewings but it struck me as eerily beautiful in its own right. One simple example is the relationship between R and the cyborg doll Ria. When contrasted with theirs, the dialogue and body language expressed between Deckard and Rachel shows us a rather cold and distant pairing. Korean film is much more emotionally sophistocated than what we are usually fed in North America. I understand the temptation of some reviewers I've read elsewhere, to parse N.C. as an example of what has become a common trend in the film industry of generating endless cheap productions that have titles close enough or Trailers that are visually similar enough to a blockbuster in order to confuse the ticket buyer and video renter (or more appropriately now-video streamer). This production does use the shiny-glossy Ridley Scott marketable window dressing of B.R. but would argue that this is only a veneer that wipes off fairly quickly. Perhaps the marketers did want to generate some confusion, but the creative people behind the film slipped in some herbal flavouring of their own into the audiences bubble tea. Perhaps I am over valuing the cultural ligaments of the film (I watched this in the midst of an orgy of viewing dozens of S. Korean films), but I believe they invest it with enough of a unique vision that it removes the film from the category of "cheap Blade Runner knock-offs" and makes it of value to watch. Perhaps it belongs on a shelf next to the one which holds B.R. rather than on the shelf below it.

    To relinquish Natural City to the "Blade Runner" copycat bin, which so many reviews do, and which might seem the obvious and correct thing at first go, does the film something of a disservice. It struck me that while it works off of the same "conceptual fabric" as Ridley Scott's vision of the PKD novel, it was, under the surface, a different film in a number of ways, and offers a dystopean vision that is uniquely Korean with cultural and sociological reference points which understandably Scott and North American audiences do not usually have the experiencial palatte to grasp without a great deal of effort and attention. While east and west have some shared iconography of what a decaying society is like, they also have many that are idiosyncratic. It took me several viewings but it struck me as eerily beautiful in its own right. One simple example is the relationship between R and the cyborg doll Ria. When contrasted with theirs, the dialogue and body language expressed between Deckard and Rachel shows us a rather cold and distant pairing. Korean film is much more emotionally sophistocated than what we are usually fed in North America. I understand the temptation of some reviewers I've read elsewhere, to parse N.C. as an example of what has become a common trend in the film industry of generating endless cheap productions that have titles close enough or Trailers that are visually similar enough to a blockbuster in order to confuse the ticket buyer and video renter (or more appropriately now-video streamer). This production does use the shiny-glossy Ridley Scott marketable window dressing of B.R. but would argue that this is only a veneer that wipes off fairly quickly. Perhaps the marketers did want to generate some confusion, but the creative people behind the film slipped in some herbal flavouring of their own into the audiences bubble tea. Perhaps I am over valuing the cultural ligaments of the film (I watched this in the midst of an orgy of viewing dozens of S. Korean films), but I believe they invest it with enough of a unique vision that it removes the film from the category of "cheap Blade Runner knock-offs" and makes it of value to watch. Perhaps it belongs on a shelf next to the one which holds B.R. rather than on the shelf below it.

  • Mar 12, 2013

    the year is 2080 but cigarette smoking is as popular as ever in this 'Blade Runner' look alike. As in BR, everything is dark and moody and rather slow and incoherent at times.

    the year is 2080 but cigarette smoking is as popular as ever in this 'Blade Runner' look alike. As in BR, everything is dark and moody and rather slow and incoherent at times.

  • Sep 22, 2012

    A clear ripoff of Bladerunner and Cherry 2000 but still worth watching for sci fi fans

    A clear ripoff of Bladerunner and Cherry 2000 but still worth watching for sci fi fans

  • Jun 20, 2012

    Imagine a convoluted Korean Blade Runner knock-off where the human-cyborg romance takes center stage, the cyborg rebellion gets shoved to the margins, and the commentary on what qualifies as humanity is scrapped altogether. What we're left with is a movie of vast potential that falls almost completely flat. The action scenes are unique, though, and I really hate faulting a movie because of its unfulfilled ambition when ambition seems to be lacking in so many films nowadays. So, while it doesn't suck, it certainly doesn't not suck.

    Imagine a convoluted Korean Blade Runner knock-off where the human-cyborg romance takes center stage, the cyborg rebellion gets shoved to the margins, and the commentary on what qualifies as humanity is scrapped altogether. What we're left with is a movie of vast potential that falls almost completely flat. The action scenes are unique, though, and I really hate faulting a movie because of its unfulfilled ambition when ambition seems to be lacking in so many films nowadays. So, while it doesn't suck, it certainly doesn't not suck.

  • May 03, 2012

    Worth watching for the visuals, especially if you love sci-fi. The story is cute and entertaining.

    Worth watching for the visuals, especially if you love sci-fi. The story is cute and entertaining.

  • wicked A Super Reviewer
    Apr 02, 2012

    Visually cool, but storyline slow and uninteresting.

    Visually cool, but storyline slow and uninteresting.

  • Mar 06, 2012

    A highly derivative Korean science fiction flick set in a Blade Runner future with lots of rain, neon, cyborgs, prostitutes, and not-Starship Starship Troopers. Yoo Ji-tae's copper R is an unlikable wanker who mopes about the plot with his dying 'droid and prostitute wannabe girlfriend. There are some stunning visuals and an entertaining severed limb springing forth here and there, but I found myself loosing interest rather quickly, but thankfully I didn't care. Not VF.

    A highly derivative Korean science fiction flick set in a Blade Runner future with lots of rain, neon, cyborgs, prostitutes, and not-Starship Starship Troopers. Yoo Ji-tae's copper R is an unlikable wanker who mopes about the plot with his dying 'droid and prostitute wannabe girlfriend. There are some stunning visuals and an entertaining severed limb springing forth here and there, but I found myself loosing interest rather quickly, but thankfully I didn't care. Not VF.

  • Mar 03, 2012

    It's like Blade Runner, but with pretty people and a plot. Interesting factoid: smoking is still legal in 2077, at least in Korea.

    It's like Blade Runner, but with pretty people and a plot. Interesting factoid: smoking is still legal in 2077, at least in Korea.

  • Oct 04, 2011

    Corean jewel of sci-fi, that remember the atmospheres of Blade Runner. Just the atmospheres, I would add! The character are meaningless and you feel the entire movie is emotionless, although it want strongly to prove the opposite. More than a sci-fi, thank's to the musics, seems a love story, but it's emotionless. It's just a pale copy of some american movies, in the topics and in the way the characters act. It tries to be something it's not, and never will: american. Save your time and don't watch it, also if you really like this genre.

    Corean jewel of sci-fi, that remember the atmospheres of Blade Runner. Just the atmospheres, I would add! The character are meaningless and you feel the entire movie is emotionless, although it want strongly to prove the opposite. More than a sci-fi, thank's to the musics, seems a love story, but it's emotionless. It's just a pale copy of some american movies, in the topics and in the way the characters act. It tries to be something it's not, and never will: american. Save your time and don't watch it, also if you really like this genre.

  • Aug 03, 2011

    Natural City is the Korean version of Blade Runner but with more over the top action and less intellect. The plot seems to be all over the place and a bit hard to follow but the visuals are well done.

    Natural City is the Korean version of Blade Runner but with more over the top action and less intellect. The plot seems to be all over the place and a bit hard to follow but the visuals are well done.