The best parts of Sky Blue, a dystopian tale of class struggle and environmental doom set in 2142, have little to do with this Korean animation’s tepid plot. In the moments when the creators coast on atmosphere, a seamless world emerges—rain-lashed and melancholy, equal parts pavement and thunderhead. As the panoramas unfold over meditative music and minimal voice-over, they veer dangerously close to car commercial territory, but the momentum is liberating. Conversely, the self-sufficient, energy-sucking city of Ecoban reveals itself at moments as a nightmare of sudden abysses, inscrutable floating cubes, and elevator doors designed to look like mazes. Unfortunately, these eye-openers share time with indifferently imagined characters whose visual flatness clashes with the more detailed backgrounds. Most of the action is tedious, and the less you pay attention to the dialogue, the less you’ll feel your hand inadvertently twitching as if with joystick. Surely no one outside of a video game ever said, “Your task is to shut down the power supply before Shua releases the core—good luck!”
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