In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Cast: Takuya Kimura, Meisa Kuroki, Hiroyuko Ikeuchi, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Toshiyuki Nishida, Meisa Kuroki, Takumi Saitô, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, Naoto Takenaka
RunTime: 2 hrs 13 mins
Released By: Encore Films & GV
Rating: PG (Some Fighting Scenes)
Official Website: http://www.encorefilms.com/spacebattleshipyamato
Opening Day: 24 March 2011
Synopsis: In the year 2199, Earth has lost its blue colour and is so polluted that human life is becoming impossible. Filled with hope, the 'Yamato' sets out with a mission to stop the destruction of the planet. A drama as vast in scale as its stage of infinite space, told over days of love and war for those who have set out to save the Earth.
There is just something about viewing modern Japanese-made science fiction/fantasy, be it in the forms of comic or TV show or movie that simply takes one back to childhood. If I were to pinpoint a reason, perhaps it is because of the Japanese general reluctance to adapt to a gritty futuristic and high-tech production aesthetic thus only serving to evoke memories of Saturday morning television no matter the age of the viewer. However, this is not to say that the tech-crazy Japanese do not employ modern techniques to the production process. They do, but they also somehow manage to preserve a nostalgic feel to their work.
Speaking for those who grew up in the nineties, even if one has never heard of Space Battleship Yamato before, a recollection of past enjoyment drawn from watching shows like Ultraman, Transformers and the Power Rangers is all is needed to have fun watching the movie.
Based on the widely popular 26-episode anime series of the same name from the 1970s, Space Battleship Yamato has been reproduced into multiple movies from the end of its series right up to the early 2000s. When the latest installment opened in Japan in December 2010, the locals loyally lapped it up, pushing it to overtake the much-anticipated first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If nostalgia has nothing to do with it, which I hardly doubt so, its form probably does. Unlike its animated predecessors, the movie is shot for the first time in live-action. So to Takuya Kimura fans – feel free to rejoice that you will be seeing him in the flesh on screen instead of simply hearing him through an animated character.
Playing the heroic yet reluctant leader who only does things from his own book, it is no wonder why he has been picked to play leading man Susumu Kodai. His trademark charm and internationally-recognizable face are definite pull factors because let's face it, not everyone is drawn to watch movies because of things like plot and filming technicalities. Do watch out for the mess-immune nature of his famous locks. It seems that Gatsby products can really make your ‘do stay in place even after long-distance space travel and alien-fighting.
Compelled to partake in a do-or-die mission to save the world from an impending radiological doom and attacks from an alien race known as the Gamilas, Kodai is forced to take over the Yamato – the last functioning battleship on earth, when its Captain turns ill mid-journey.
The space battle scenes and the exterior scenes of the Yamato are definitely something to look forward to in the movie as they are no less superior than the ones we are used to watching in Sci-fi hallmarks like Star Wars and Star Trek. Crazy flight maneuvers and cool gadgetry add on to the excitement of an action-packed movie filled with likable characters and situations that seem impossible to get out of alive. Two hours, however, can get a bit tiring for those who just want to find out the ending.
As we follow through the tale of honour and sacrifice (a lot of dead heroes in this one), one cannot help but notice the poignant irony of the story considering the current situation that is faced by Japan. In fact it gets slightly discomforting knowing that the movie might end well, but reality itself is not as reassuring.
(Pray For Japan)
Reviewed by Siti Nursyafiqa