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Space Battleship Yamato Live action Movie December 16, 2010

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga, Asian Cinema , add a comment

I was pretty excited to see this as I enjoyed the series quite a bit. Unfortunately it’s more of a typical Generic Sci-fi movie.
It looks like Yamato, everything is there. Beautiful effects, wave motion Canon, the Yamato lifting off from Earth. Analyser at first only appears as a tricorder type object used by Kodai but surprisingly turns up later in full robot mode and kicks some serious ass. In many ways the movie stays close to the series story and visuals. The voices of Dessler, Analyser and Starsha sound the same as the series. The music captures the spirit of  Hiroshi Miyagawa. The costumes and sets are great (although the bridge could have been bigger).

But it’s lacking spirit. The cast aren’t great. Kimura Takuya who plays Kodai is pretty much acting as himself in the movie. In this movie I feel it’s less about Kodai the Hero and more about Kimura the hero. Too much time is spent talking in this movie. It doesn’t move forward enough and is a bit dragged out at over 2 hours.
Meisa Kuroki plays Yuki who is more like a Starbuck type figure from the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, she is an ace fighter pilot and she likes to act tough and punch people’s lights out. I’m all for 21st Century chicks been more bad ass and less girlish making tea for the crew etc but the character is uninspiring and just seems like a rip on Galactica.

The space battles. Gods damn it, the makers of this movie just didn’t get it right. They are your typical affair nothing inspiring, space battles that are pretty much the norm for sci-fi movies, fast and furious. Nothing dynamic about them. Even the opening looks like it copied the opening of the new Star Trek movie. There is also a scene where Kodai has to save Yuki who is stuck out in space before the enemy reaches them and before Yamato warps which is a copy of the miniseries episode of nBSG which had Kara saving Lee in his Viper before the enemy reached them and Galactica Jumped away. In the original animated series they based the battles on World War II movies and had the attack fighters move like fighter planes. Here it’s just ships buzzing around. Where’s the beauty gone in space battles these days?

Gamilus. Are now a bunch of bug type aliens. In the animated series they looked human which was shocking to the Yamato crew and made it far more complex an enemy for it’s a lot harder to kill an enemy that looks like you rather than bug creatures that jump around. Here there is no tactical battles of miltary minds between Gamilus and the Yamato. It’s just a free for all. And Dessler is as disappointing as galactus was in ” Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” here he is just a blue humanoid squiggly light.

The Ending is a bit heartbreaking and a tiny bit cheesy in a good way. Unfortunately though it looks like we are only getting one Yamato movie.  After watching this ending I realised it’s a bit like Armageddon. Meteorites attack the earth, a ship leaves earth to stop them.  At the end the hero dies saving the earth and the song ends with a song by Steven Tyler (from Aerosmith) Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Space Battleship Yamato Season 1

Posted by oldboy in : Animation, Science Fiction, Anime/ Manga , add a comment

Before Yamato came along animations were usually based on successful Mangas. Space Battleship Yamato was the first animation that was done with nothing to back up the possibility it might be successful. It was simultaneously released as an animation and Manga. Since 1974 it has amassed 85 episodes, 3 Manga Volumes, 7 films and 1 live action movie.

Japan seems to have a great way of overcoming past difficulties, socially and historically. They turn the once negative thing into something more symbolic, powerful, positive and push forward through hardships. Take Godzilla, an allegory of the disastrous effects of Atomic weapons of which Japan is the only victim of. Space Battleship Yamato takes the past destruction of it’s most powerful warship in WWII the Battleship Yamato and uses it as a symbol to fight for the entire Earth. Building a space ship out of a battleship they head off into space to find a radiation purifier to save the earth which has only 1 year till extinction due to the meteor attacks by an unknown Alien enemy Gamilus.

I first saw Yamato on Video under the name Starblazers. I really enjoyed and liked the more mature tone of the animation but I never watched the entire series. It wasn’t until more recent years did I see the series under it’s original title and story. It’s somewhat campy by today’s standards with very 70s style music and stock footage often being reused, the story drags in some parts, but in the later half of the first series it becomes far more serious as their deadline looms and they head into unforeseen danger. Episode 22 is where Yamoto grows out of it’s training pants and when it becomes an adult themed war epic in a spectacular battle against Domel and his fleet, the battle is like a battle on the pacific ocean between fighter planes battleships and aircraft carriers in space. The producers of the show watched the Battle of Britain and other war movies as a reference to visualizing the final combat scenes. Amazing stuff, 3 years before George Lucas’s star Wars did something similar with the run on the Death Star. The black nebula came 10 years before the action scenes of Star Trek II’s mutara nebula battle.There has to be some inspiration from Yamato on these two movies and in turn there must be an inspiration from those franchises onto Yamato in the long run also.

For more science fiction inspired by “Space Battleship Yamato” check out JMS’s Babylon 5 spin off “Crusade”,  after Earth is attacked and a plague is released on the planet the experimental Ship Excalibur is sent out into space to find a cure to the plague with only 5 years before all life on Earth is dead. The hero ship in this series the Excalibur also features a massive beam canon gun on it that drains the ships power every time it’s used.
Star Trek Enterprise Season 3: Earth is attacked by unknown aliens called the Xindi who are testing out a new weapon that will ultimately destroy the Earth in 1 year. The Starfleet Ship Enterprise NX-01 is sent out on a mission to find and stop the Xindi and their weapon before it’s too late. There is an episode near the end of the season called “Azati Prime” which shows the Enterprise getting the snot get kicked out of her much in the same way Yamato was on it’s full on encounter with Gamilus and it’s commander Domel.

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