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Space Battleship Yamato (AKA "Starblazers") 2010 movie review

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Mark Suszko
Space Battleship Yamato (AKA "Starblazers") 2010 movie review
on Aug 28, 2011 at 3:18:51 am

I found it posted online here:







If you were a fan of the animated Macross/Robotech shows of the 80's, I think you will mostly like this live-action homage to the anime'. I find it AFAIK relatively faithful to the original Japanese version, if somewhat condensed of necessity. The original Yamato first mission was a year-long round-trip, (to create the basis for the long-running serialization) so there is by force a lot of compression to be done to fill 90-odd minutes and keep the overall arc. This is not a bad thing, and the writers I thought did an interesting job of creating more logical or at least understandable motivations for the bad guys and the overall plot. It breaks a bit from anime Yamato cannon, but I think that can be forgiven, the same way many casual Trek devotees and non-Trekker people forgive the rebooted Trek movie. Yamato doesn't actually stray as far as JJ Abrams did, either. The overall flavor was carefully retained, the major themes are all there.

I think they score 100% on achieving the overall look and aesthetic of the anime', in live action form. The space battles are exciting, and though not as "realistic" as you'd expect, they very much are in tune with the Anime' they are emulating, even down to the color grading and art direction. The casting looks dead-on for the cartoon characters, the IQ-9 bot is actually improved over the original. The Bad Guys, what we in America call the Gamilons, have been upgraded, they no longer look like blue or green-skinned human versions of alien Nazis, but more like a cross between the Drej from "Titan A.E" and the xenomorphs from "Alien".

What it feels like to watch is that it took a lot of inspiration from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. But all in a *good* way. And while retaining the essential Japanese-ness of the story. And not to spoil it, but they totally swiped one of the most badass scenes from BSG, and you won't care if they did, because it is just very cool.

Look, the original scripts and story arcs were not Oscar material, and were animated on a low budget, but they were darn fine space opera, even after being severely edited for US viewing. The pace of the film is quite brisk up to the big climax, and then they stretch and stretch and stretch the dramatic moment (all while time is running out for certain doom and the bad guys apparently take a long lunch) to a ridiculous extent. Here I just about lost patience and was going to fast-forward a bit, but I stuck with it. Why? Because this is how I understand Japanese space operas work: everything builds to this long, drawn-out, tragic, emotional, earnest, and over-acted scene. Its part of the price you pay, and this is the "operatic" part of Japanese Space Operas. It would be wrong to deny them the Big Clunky Scene, and it's what the fans actually like over there as well.

If you have no background in the animated cartoon StarBlazers/Yamato series (and there were many of them. It was very popular there for a long time, still is), you're going to find the film a little tedious, opaque, goofy and very pretentious. If you loved the cartoons, I think you're going to enjoy seeing this film, it will be like finding your old yearbook and flipping thru the pages from when you still had a full head of hair and some credible dance moves.

Yoku yatta yoi shigoto!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Space Battleship Yamato (AKA "Starblazers") 2010 movie review
on Aug 29, 2011 at 9:12:19 pm

Really? Not ONE of you nerds admit you used to watch this cartoon, back when it was a cartoon? Or were you all "He-Man" fans? NTTAWWT.

:-)


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Scott Roberts
Re: Space Battleship Yamato (AKA "Starblazers") 2010 movie review
on Aug 29, 2011 at 9:39:49 pm

Sorry man, beloved 80s cartoons for me were Ninja Turtles, Thundercats (hoooooo!), and yes... I also lived by the power of Grayskull... (edit* - I mustn't forget G.I. Joe!) (double edit** - and If you delve slightly further into the future, the X-Men cartoon from the 90s probably beats all of them)

The first anime I watched when I was a kid was Fist of the North Star. I'm not sure my parents knew what I was renting at the time...

But that video you posted looks neat, even if it doesn't fully make sense to me.


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Richard Cardonna
Re: Space Battleship Yamato (AKA "Starblazers") 2010 movie review
on Sep 1, 2011 at 10:10:08 pm

It Looks great I would want to see the film.

But in my times it was "AstroBoy"

Richard


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Mark Suszko
Re: Space Battleship Yamato (AKA "Starblazers") 2010 movie review
on Sep 2, 2011 at 12:33:56 am

We only got a very few glimpses of Astroboy, for me it was Gigantor and Tobor, the 8th Man,P lus Speed racer a little later, alongside CLutch Cargo and Scott McCloud: SPACE A.N.G.E.L!!!!!!.

In my college years, I'd come home mid-afternoon to a plate of ribe eye steak and fries, and back to back episodes of Robotech (Macross) and Star Blazers. At the time, it was the only new sci-fi we hadn't seen for years in repeats, and it blew us away.


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