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Space Battleship Yamato: the Grumpy Fanboy review

17 Mar

I caught the premiere of Space Battleship Yamato last night. Knowing that it was the first live action adaptation of the cult classic anime series, I was expecting it to be extremely cheesy. That turned out to be a gross understatement.

Thanks to the brilliant trailers and clips that appeared on Youtube such as the one above (I featured a bunch of them weeks ago here) I was hoping for a Japanese version of Battlestar Galactica. Instead it was more, as my buddy with whom I saw the film put it: “Starship Troopers-meets-Armageddon-meets-Korean Soap Opera”.

The acting is, expectedly, over the top. Though there are some genuinely touching scenes. The crew’s final farewells to their families are right out of the TV series and adequately moving. But too often, the film’s otherwise upbeat tempo is bogged down by unnecessarily long and tedious melodramatic scenes. All the hugging, tearful grimacing and whining inadvertently make the drama scenes comical. As if the destruction of earth and the violent deaths of comrades weren’t dramatic enough! But then again, anime isn’t exactly famous for subtle storytelling.

The action is mostly well-paced, though once on the ground the tedium and over-acting kicks in once again. The good news is the ship-to-ship battle sequences are fantastic! This is some of the best CGI modeling and effects I have ever seen! For anime and sci-fi fans, it’s worth seeing just for that. Once you get past the farcical drama scenes (driven home by a Steven Tyler theme song), this is still one of the must-see fanboy films of the year.

Grumpy Fanboy rating: 3.5/5


Waiting for the Yamato

8 Jan

It’s been a month since Space Battleship Yamato, the live action film based on the beloved anime first aired in the 1970s, opened in Japan. (Many might know the series better as Star Blazers, as it was called in its US version.) The film was directed by Takashi Yamazaki (Returner, Always) and stars Japan screen idol Takuya Kimura. The trailers and clips that have leaked onto the internet look amazing and the reviews I have read promise a thoroughly fun film, whether you are a fan of the anime or not.

Here’s a clip of the opening scene:

And an extended clip showing the firing of the “Wave Motion Gun”:

Here’s the extended trailer:

As a live action space opera, the comparison with Battlestar Galactica is inevitable, as the following fan trailer nicely shows.

I’ve found English-language reviews of the film here and here. (Watch out for the spoilers.)

For fans around the world, the big question now is when — or if — the film will be shown in your market. IMDB lists the following international release dates:

Japan 1 December 2010

Taiwan 31 December 2010

Singapore 17 March 2011

Hong Kong 22 march 2011