Title: Space Battleship Yamato
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Original Release: 2010
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Such was the privilege for Mock and me when we got to watch Space Battleship Yamato with Drama Guy (DG). We didn't have to go very far for this pilgrimage, just to DG's house. DG grew up watching the Japanese anime series Star Blazers upon which the film is based. When we asked him to choose our movie for the month, he jumped at the opportunity to share his first viewing of the live action movie with the two of us. Our evening kicked off with the old cartoon, very helpful for a quick orientation to the story.
Earth is on the brink of environmental ruin. A message arrives from the planet Iskandar with schematics for a warp drive and Iskandar's coordinates. The crew of the Yamato sets course for this distant world in hopes of saving their own. The movie has suffered some criticism from Westerners for parallels with Battlestar Galactica but it's worth noting this story predates BG. The original Japanese TV show started in 1974 whereas the original BG didn't launch until 1978.
The visuals for the movie are wonderful. The Yamato is a beautiful replication of a WWII vessel of the same name, sunk by the allied forces in 1945. The ships of the enemy Gamilas are also impressive. A battle scene on Iskandar is a bit video gamey but generally speaking, the action sequences have a satisfying pace, allowing the eye time to appreciate the spectacle - quite a welcome change from the hyper-kinetic energy of a comparable American science fiction movie.
The 2010 film was a smash hit in Japan, thanks in no small part to the star power of its leading man, Takuya Kimura. Kimura first rose to fame in the boy band SMAP and has since become the king of Japanese television dramas. Co-star Meisa Kuroki also came up through the J-pop ranks. Both are, quite frankly, very attractive. Neither is likely to win an Oscar anytime soon but they performed capably, as did the rest of the cast.
Space Battleship Yamato is a fun movie and it definitely piqued my interest in the TV series. There was briefly a manga in the mid-'70s. I might keep an eye open for that, too.
We hope that you, too, will watch Space Battleship Yamato and join in our discussion. I'll post December's sign-up list tomorrow. Our feature on Friday, December 12th shall be... Pulp Fiction.