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YMMV / Metropolis

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Metropolis by Fritz Lang:

  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • The title of this page used to refer to Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis.
    • Just about every sci-fi film made in the past 80 years references this movie.
    • Yep, there is a book. It was written by Thea von Harbou, the screenwriter and Lang's wife at the time.
  • Awesome Music: The original reconstructed soundtrack by Gottfried Huppertz; "Cage of Freedom" from the Moroder version. Really, most of the Moroder version's soundtrack is pretty awesome, though YMMV whether it fits the movie or not.
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  • Better on DVD: Way better, especially now that this movie has been found nearly complete and has been released on DVD and Blu-Ray.
  • Broken Base:
    • Opinions on the Moroder version are sharply divided, to say the least. Is it the way to watch the movie, due to its All-Star Cast of musicians? A good alternate take on a classic film, if not as great as the Truer to the Text versions? Decent, but only when it's a real silent film and not a damn music video? Or is it a Narmful mess with Gratuitous Special Effects comparable to the special editions of the original Star Wars trilogy?
    • The False Maria's striptease. Is it genuinely erotic, too ridiculous to be taken seriously, a prime example of Nightmare Fuel, or a combination of all of the above?
    • Thea von Harbou's novel. Is it a good piece of supplementary material with better characterisation and more World Building than the film allowed for, with some interesting symbolism as well? Or is it just pretentious, overwritten trash which only became a watchable film thanks to Fritz Lang's directing skills and the lack of Narmy dialogue?
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Rotwang's robot who only gets a couple minutes of screentime has become the film's unofficial symbol in pop culture. It's the only character shown on the film's most famous poster. Osamu Tezuka's version was inspired by nothing other than that famous image. Of course, technically, the Maria Machine actually has a ton of screentime, just not in that form.
    • Her human form is also pretty popular, due to Brigitte Helm's portrayal of her as a Laughably Evil Uncanny Valley Girl.
    • In the new restoration, the thin man.
    • Rotwang, for being a classic evil and hammy Mad Scientist with a neat cybernetic hand and a surprisingly sad backstory.
  • Evil Is Sexy: The False Maria. She is a city-destroying robotic stripper based on the Whore of Babylon, so this is basically a given.
  • Faux Symbolism: The whole 1920s film.
    • Rule of Symbolism, for the most part. You have crucifixion imagery, giant clock face, personified Whore of Babylon, retelling of the Tower of Babel story, animated gargoyles personifying Death and the Seven Deadly Sins, a hidden church in catacombs, an inverted pentagram, talk about "brothers and sisters", the machine as Moloch...
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    • The Moroder lyrics add a bunch more, with Orwellian shout outs (the edition was timed to release in 1984), references to "infinite circles of snakes eating their own tails" and the like.
  • Fetish Retardant:
    • Several viewers have felt that the scene where the False Maria dances around while wearing practically nothing is a lot less sexy than it should be due to Brigitte Helm's rather stiff and mechanical dance moves. They either turn the scene into Narm, or make it terrifying by plunging it deep down into Uncanny Valley territory. Though considering that she is an evil robot, the latter reaction might very well be exactly what Lang was going for.
    • Channing Pollock apparently thought the very concept of a Robotic Spouse was this, leading to him removing every mention of what The False Maria was built for. Unfortunately, this wasn't only a case of Adaptation Explanation Extrication, it also - along with the removal of the character Hel - led to both Rotwang and Joh Fredersen becoming less three-dimensional than they were originally.
  • Ho Yay: Freder is a very physical person. Especially with Josaphat and 11811. On the other hand, it's very firmly established that he loves Maria...
  • Jerkass Woobie: Joh Fredersen. On one hand, he is the creator and ruler of an oppressive dystopia and the initiator of a kidnapping and a False Flag Operation. However, it is also shown that he truly cares about his son and still mourns his dead wife. Alfred Abel's performance makes him come off as sympathetic and rather tragic as well as cold and ruthless. It's hard not to feel bad for him in the end, when he realises that Freder's life is in danger and has a complete breakdown.
  • Macekre: If you compare the 1928 American release to the original film — editing by chainsaw, and Channing Pollock boasting about having rewritten the whole thing.
  • Memetic Mutation: VIP Teacher. Explanation 
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Partly. Adolf Hitler said Metropolis was one of his favorite films. The writer, Thea von Harbou, was a dedicated Nazi. The director, her husband Fritz Lang, divorced her and moved to Hollywood soon after the Nazi rise to power. To a normal person the movie certainly doesn't have anything supporting the Nazi ideology, unless you take extreme liberties at interpreting the Aesop. It's directed against all forms of tyranny, from ruthless capitalism to mob rule. However, in fascist and Nazi wishful thinking fascism and later Nazism had bridged the gap between worker and capitalist renouncing exploitation and decadence on one hand and mob rule and blind lust for destruction on the other. In their eyes this film is a tribute to or a prophecy of that great achievement.
    • The film probably still falls under this trope, as it portrays both war and segregation as bad...
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Evil!Maria is a sterling example of this. Her movements, her expressions, everything about her scream so horribly that this is something that looks human but isn't.
    • Her death scene is especially creepy. She laughs maniacally for several minutes as she is burned alive, all the while twisting around in a non-human, demonic fashion.
    • One of the few additional special effects from the Moroder version which truly improved the movie was giving the False Maria Glowing Mechanical Eyes when she opens them for the first time. It really helps to make the scene creepier.
    • The Moloch Machine sequence and the bit before, as the worker desperately tries to stop the machine going off, seeing the level rising. Then Freder seeing the machine turn into a shrine to Moloch, who consumes a horde of slaves and a procession of black-robed workers. It doesn't help that the Moloch scene has some unintentional Holocaust imagery, with workers being killed by gas and then led into what looks like an enormous oven... And perhaps the most unsettling part is that while the slaves have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the mouth of Moloch, the workers willingly walk into his jaws.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Moloch only appears once in a single vision in the movie, but man is it a memorable one.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The 2010 version, which is closest to Lang's original cut of the film, is generally considered to be the best version. The only real competitor is the Moroder version, which was made by people who were very famous and talented in their own right, and even that version is a case of divisiveness. However, this trope might be subverted in that the original novel the film was based on is also divisive, as many feel that the movie is actually better than the book.
  • Signature Scene: The robot being created, of course.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: In hindsight, this is how many people view Channing Pollock's cut of the film. As each later version brings the film closer to its' original state, it becomes a case of "they changed it back, now it doesn't suck anymore."
  • Uncanny Valley: An invoked example will the robot Maria, who despite looking human moves in a twitchy, insect like way and has odd facial expressions, to convey how different she is from a person.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Some viewers felt that The False Maria looked pretty attractive even when she was a robot. That said, the makeover is necessary In-Universe, since she has to look like Maria for Joh Fredersen's plan to work.
  • Vindicated by History: When it was first released it was a huge flop that nearly bankrupted Ufa, the studio that produced it. It was also trashed critically by Lang's former admirers and friends, who considered it the weakest of his silent epics, dismissed by H.G. Wells himself as "quite the silliest film". Now, it's considered the forerunner to all science fiction films ever, including but not limited to Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Terminator and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Jesus wept, just look at some of the scenes in this film (like the vision of the Moloch Machine and the creation of the False Maria) and remember that it was made in 1927!

Metropolis by Joe Brooks:

  • Accidental Aesop: The story seems to have a Green Aesop, as it takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where the environment has been destroyed, but, much like WALL•E, it's likely that the setting was only created to allow the plot to happen.
  • Adaptational Context Change: Sort of. The play keeps the line "Let's watch the world go to the devil" from the film, but it now has the workers thinking that Futura herself is the devil (as opposed to "just" a witch). This means that, as far as they are concerned, the meaning of the line changes from "Let's watch the world burn" to "Watch as I conquer the world."
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: A science-fiction musical based on a German expressionist silent film. This may be why it wasn't much of a hit.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack is actually really good. Even the unintentionally funny songs are rather catchy.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Judy Kuhn who, much like Brigitte Helm before her, plays both Maria and her evil impersonator and nails both of them.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: John Freeman, the creator of Metropolis, committing suicide and taking his city with him becomes this when - in an especially tragic case of Life Imitates Art - Joe Brooks, the main creator of this play, commited suicide in 2011 and essentially took Metropolis with him by forbidding others to perform the musical after his death.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: John Freeman's name, which he just happens to share with the Saver of Humens.
  • Narm:
    • Some of the music is a bit too lighthearted for such a dark plot, leading to the wrong kind of Soundtrack Dissonance.
    • John Freeman can sometimes be so cartoonishly evil that it becomes hard to take him seriously.
    • "A double shift will kill him." True, It Makes Sense in Context, but still...
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Steven and Maria are both given more character development and portrayed as less over the top than they were in the 1927 silent film.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Maria's part in the song It's Only Love. Bring On The Night has the rather refreshing message "You don't need love to be happy." Of course, it becomes a bit of a Broken Aesop later when she falls in love anyway, but still.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Some of the Narm-ier moments in the play makes it all the more entertaining.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Some fans of the Fritz Lang movie are rather baffled that this version of Joh Fredersen - originally portrayed by The Stoic, clean-shaven, skinny Alfred Abel - is now played by the scenery-chewing, bearded, heavyset BRIAN BLESSED. This is made even weirder by the fact that BRIAN BLESSED both looks and acts much like the movie version of Grot, and would probably have been better suited for that character.


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