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Space Battleship Yamato: Live Action Review.

Space Battleship Yamato review

 

  In the year 2199 Earth Defense Forces are fighting a losing war against the alien race known as the Gamilias. For five years the Gamilias have dropped radioactive planet bombs on the Earth. The once blue planet is now dying and humanity is forced to live beneath the surface, but it is only a matter of time before humanity becomes extinct.

 

Earth 2199

Earth 2199, think Los Angeles smog... but everywhere.

 

  The EDF fleet is decimated by the Gamilias around the planet Mars with only Captain Jyuzo Okita's (Tsutomu Yamazaki) ship escaping to safety, due to the sacrifice of Captain Mamoru Kodai (Shin'ichi Tsutsumi), who puts his ship the Yukikaze in the line of fire between the Gamilias ships and Captain Okita's ship.

 

  On earth retired EDF space fighter pilot Susumu Kodai (Mamoru Kodai's brother, played by Takuya Kimura) is scavenging the radioactive surface for metals that can be used in the war effort, when the area is rocked by the crash landing of an alien space probe. Kodai is knocked to the ground by the explosion of the crash and loses his helmet (a death sentence on the now radioactive surface of the Earth). Injured but still alive Kodai is surprised when his scanner reads that the local radiation levels as safe.

 

  Inside of the alien probe are detailed holo schematics for a warp capable space drive, sent mysteriously from the planet Iskandar more than 148,000 light years away.

 

  Beneath the dried out Sea of Japan the EDF begins to secretly rebuild a lost World War II Battle Ship known as the Yamato with the alien technology found within the probe.

 

   The goal is to create an ark capable of fighting its way past the Gamilias fleet to search for a new home for humanity outside of the Sol star system.

 

  Captain Okita convinces the EDF that all hope is not lost and that a chance to save Earth might be found on the planet Iskandar from hence the alien probe had come from. A call goes out across the world for volunteers to man the new ship. But can the Yamato travel 148,000 light years and back before the Earth and humanity is destroyed.

 

My weapon's so bright I gotta wear shades

 

  Space Battleship Yamato is based off of the influential 1974 Japanese anime series of the same name. The original was released in the United States as Star Blazers. The Space Battleship Yamato anime much like Godzilla before it was an allegory about the Second World War and the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The difference between them being the eventual redemption of the enemy as a noble ally, much like America became to Japan after the war.

 

  The film differs from the original anime, what reboot doesn't? However many things one would expect to see changed remain faithful to the original, including the uniforms worn by the EDF and the absolutely fantastic classical musical style of the anime.

 

  The biggest change in Space Battleship Yamato is in the alien race attacking the Earth. In the anime they appeared to be a very human like race with blue skin. Now they are truly alien in nature. Another big change was making Kodai's love interest a tough yet still feminine female fighter pilot (in the original she was the ships nurse).

 

Gamilons vs Gamilias

These aren't the Gamilias you are looking for.

 

  The heart of the story remains the same as the crew of the Yamato fight to escape the Sol system to get to the planet Iskandar in hopes of finding some technology that will save the human race and restore the Earth.

 

  This is a very Japanese film and western audiences will find that it is very different than the normal Hollywood fare that they are used to. There are strong themes of honor, hope, and sacrifice throughout the film and the cast does a great job of bringing these themes to life.

 

  Unlike most films the CGI in this movie is absolutely breathtaking, which is amazing when you consider that this film was made on a budget of only 2.2 billion yen (that is only $22 million in US currency). The way that they were able to achieve this is the use of a less is more effect. We get glimpses of the action but most scenes focus on the crew.

 

Wildstar/Kodai

 

  There are rumors that some of the cast members took personal pay cuts so that the film could be made under budget without sacrificing quality. When have you ever heard of something like that ever happening in a Hollywood film! Oh right this film was not made in Hollywood.

 

Earth Defense Force Salute

For your hard work we salute you.

 

  The movie is far from perfect, this is not hard science fiction we are dealing with here so you get to hear the ships firing in space and exploding. Also toward the end of the film the enemy takes a ridiculous amount of time to enact their revenge which of course gives our heroes plenty of time to fight back.

 

  Many who see this film will instantly think of it as a knock off of Battlestar Galactica when in reality it is reversed as Space Battleship Yamato influenced the creation of Battlestar Galactica.

 

Captain Avatar/Okita

This just in ... not a rip off but an original, so get over yourself.

 

  Overall another fantastic reboot of a series that is well worth watching for both old fans of the original and even for folks who have never heard of the series before. This is space opera at its best.

 

Final verdict for Space Battleship Yamato 9/10 Now available on Blu-ray. Pick up a copy and enjoy. There is an American remake in the works but trust me, see this as I highly doubt that western studious will do this film any justice.

 

 ~Professor

 

 

 

 

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