Review: Space Battleship Yamato (Live-Action)

The Story

The crew of the space battleship Yamato set out on a perilous mission to find the cure to their war ravaged planet.

The Review

Based on an anime from the early 1970s, Space Battleship Yamato is a futuristic scifi military actioner. The story takes place in the far future where earth’s population has resolved their differences in order to fight an external alien threat.  Although the aliens have been at war with humanity for a long time, the humans still don’t know much about their enemy, including why they were even attacked.

At the point in which we begin the film, the enemy is close to destroying humanities forces completely and earth has decided to retreat, leave earth in their most powerful weapon, the battleship Yamato.  It’s been designed primarily as an Ark, but has massive defensive capabilities just in case.

Elsewhere on earth, a former military type (now a glorified scavenger) has discovered an alien artifact on earth that may not only help save earth, but also give some real insight to the enemy.

That’s the setup.  The rest of the film is spent with the crew of the Yamato as they attempt to stay alive long enough to make it to the planet Iscandar; a planet that they believe houses the only race to have defeated their current alien menace.  But is it a trap and could this be a ruse by the aliens to get them to leave their planet indefensible.

I rather enjoyed this story.  The plot progression is deceptively simple and at times a little sappy, but it works.  Somehow you will find yourself cheering for the appropriate side and hoping for the demise of the other.  The characterizations are brief, but effective with some characters motivations literally getting summarized in one concise sentence.  Again, strange when said aloud, but somehow it works.

The other big element to this film’s success is the action.  Much like Battlestar Galactica which although I wasn’t a fan of the show itself (new/old), I though the space battle sequences were quite originally staged and choreographed.  Although this particular film isn’t quite as unique as the zero-g dogfights in Galactica, the variety and implementation of the action is quite well handled.  It reminds me of the refreshing fun of that space battle in Joss Whedon’s Serenity.  I imagine theater goers cheering at appropriate points.

So, yeah.  I really liked this one.  Might be hard to track down an English subbed version. Depending on what part of the world you’re in, but it’s worth an import.

For those wondering story-wise where this one stands with the recent anime movie (Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection).  This could be considered a prequel to the anime movie.  I actually saw the anime before I watched this live action film so, I think you can probably do the same.  Be aware that things revealed for the first time in this prequel will be “already known quantities” in the anime.  If you want to be surprised, you should probably watch the live action first.  They both stand quite well on their own though and both are worth a look.

The Conclusion

Story get an B+, but feels like an A

Action gets an A

Overall score is an A


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