Phoenix 2772

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"Phoenix 2772" is a two hour movie from 1980, based on an installment of Osamu Tezuka’s comic/manga which started in the late 1950s, and continued until his death. The manga series has been adapted into many animated versions, the newest of which was released in 2004.

"Phoenix 2772" (or "Firebird 2772: the Cosmo-Zone of Love") is set in the distant future. Man no longer controls his own fate. Born and raised by machines, he is part of a computerized system that decides his social class, education, and employment. Those designated to be of the upper class (the Elders) use the power and position given to them by the system to keep the masses prostrate and under their control. Those few who defy the order of things are sent to labor camps, where they are forced to mine lava from a dying Earth, to help power the world which keeps them in bondage.

One of the children born into this orderly hell of the "haves and have-nots" is Godo. Designated by the machines to be a space pilot, Godo is sent to boot camp, where he is forced to kill. Though skilled, he’s too fragile to take the stress of killing another living thing. A politician looking for advancement, Rock, takes notice of Godo’s skills, and proposes to send him on a mission to capture the space creature, Phoenix 2772. With the power of the Phoenix’s blood, Rock will be able to rejuvenate the planet and realize his ambition to be top Elder. Godo takes notice of Rock’s loveless bride-to-be, Lena, the daughter of the current top Elder. At a midnight rendezvous with Lena, Godo is arrested and sent to a labor camp in Iceland (run by Black Jack, in a bizarre cameo!) for seducing one of his betters.

At the camp, Godo meets Dr. Saruta. Saruta also seeks the Phoenix. However, unlike Rock, Saruta wants to breath new life into the world for the sake of all mankind, not just for his own ambitions. In the end, Godo, Saruta, and their compatriots must sacrifice their own lives, and use the power of the Phoenix, to save Earth, a planet on the verge of meltdown, from the vanity of its oppressive leaders.

If this was it, "Phoenix 2772" would be, like most of Tezuka’s works, a Pacifist/Socialist paean with fun and interesting characters… BUT… then there’s Olga. Olga is Godo’s mother figure; a robot assigned to raise him. Not to mention that she merges with the Phoenix--a female life-giving force of the universe. Or mention the way that she and Godo are shown when reincarnated at the end of the film. Godo’s relationship with Olga makes it seem like the film was stating that Godo’s love for Lena was a betrayal of his mother’s love, and that Godo ultimately belongs with Olga/Mom. This reasoning just seems infantile, odd, and Oedipal. Also, the movie is very dark in tone, but, throughout the film, anthropomorphic characters suddenly break into light-hearted dance numbers. The work is interesting, beautiful, but also, ultimately, very strange.

 Phoenix 001

 Phoenix 002

 Phoenix 003

 Phoenix 004
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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.65/10   Collection 9.12/10   Overall 8.70/10   Votes 65 votes
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