- This page is for the 2001 animated film directed by Shinichirō Watanabe.
- For information on the upcoming live action film, see: Cowboy Bebop: Live Action Film.
| Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door |
|劇場版 カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 (Gekijōban Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira)|
|Directed by:||Shinichirō Watanabe|
|Produced by:||Masahiko Minami
|Starring:||Kōichi Yamadera Spike
Unshō Ishizuka Jet
Megumi Hayashibara Faye
Aoi Tada Edward
Ai Kobayashi Electra
Tsutomu Isobe Vincent
|Music by:||Yoko Kanno & The Seatbelts
Herbie Hancock & V.S.O.P.
|Cinematography by:||Yōichi Ōgami|
|Editing by:||Shūichi Kakesu|
|Distributed by:||Sony Pictures Entertainment|
|Release date:||Sept. 1, 2001 (Japan)
Aug. 11, 2002 (USA)
|Running time:||115 min.|
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, known in Japan as Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door (劇場版 カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 ,Gekijōban Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira, titled Cowboy Bebop: Heaven's Door in English), is the 2001 animated film directed by Shinichirō Watanabe.
Opening on September 1, 2001 in Japan and in the U.S. on August 11, 2002, the film grossed over $3 million worldwide and received positive reviews.
The year is 2071, a few days before Halloween. A deadly virus is being released on the populace of Mars and the government has issued a 300 million woolong reward, the largest bounty in history, for the capture of whoever is behind it. The bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop; Spike, Faye, Jet and Ed, take the case with hopes of cashing in the great bounty. But the mystery surrounding the man responsible, Vincent, goes deeper than they ever imagined, and they aren't the only ones hunting him; the original creators of the virus have dispatched Electra to deal with Vincent and take out anyone who may stumble on the truth behind him. As the hunt for the man with no past and no future continues to escalate, the fate of mankind rests with the Bebop crew, a responsibility they aren't so sure they can handle.
Characters and Voice CastEdit
Shinichirō Watanabe, creator of the Cowboy Bebop series, said in an interview he aimed to use "more difficult technical effects" available for the film to create a "live-action look" that would permeate throughout the animated film. When asked what the audience should "watch out for" in the film, Watanabe responded by saying that one should not just pay attention to "images," since the creators "pushed [themselves]" on the story, the facial expressions, and "everything". In addition Watanabe said that he "kept the whole 'Bebop Flavor' in mind" and that some viewers would not perceive the film as being distinct from the television series.
Watanabe chose to use an "Arabesque" atmosphere, which was described by an interviewer as permeating "everywhere from the images to the music," saying that the Arab world was "alien" to him and that it "wasn't used much" in the television series. He said that he ultimately created the film "using the inspiration I got while I was in Morocco" to gain inspiration, adding that he would not have used the material in his film if he did not like what he saw.
Watanabe used two guest directors, with Hiroyuki Okiura creating the opening and Tensai Okamura created the "Western film-within-the-film." When asked by the interviewer if he asked directors to create segments with "different sensibilities," Watanabe responded by saying that the segments were "very different" from the rest of the film and that the schedule would not have allowed Watanabe to film them, so he had decided that he would rather let "someone I could trust" film the segments.
Watanabe cast Tsutomu Isobe and Ai Kobayashi as guest voice actors; neither of them had very much experience in animation voice acting. Watanabe said that he cast them since he "knew exactly what kind of voice I wanted." He said that he "especially" experienced this feeling regarding Kobayashi since he thought "That's it! She's Electra!" after hearing Kobayashi's demonstration tape. Watanabe said that he also felt that Isobe had "the right voice." Watanabe said, in terms of dramatics, he wanted to use voice actors who could give a "raw, naturalist feel to Bebop."
Watanabe added that he had not originally planned to use Renji Ishibashi for the role of the robber Renji. He said that when he and the other creators planned the convenience store robbery scene, writer Keiko Nobumoto said that she could not find inspiration. The creators decided to use a real-life actor as a model for the robber and the writers based the robber on Ishibashi. The creators seriously offered the actor a role. Watanabe said that he was "half-joking" and doubted that Ishibashi would accept the role; Watanabe said that he felt "so pleased" when Ishibashi accepted the role.
Reception to the film was generally positive, earning a 70% score on Rotten Tomatoes. For example, the BBC gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "an example of anime at its very best." A positive review on fansite The Jazz Messengers, which gave it an A-, indicates that fans of the series were not disappointed. It was nominated in 2004 for the Online Film Critics Society Awards in the Best Animated Feature category.