Live Action Space Battleship Yamato 2010 Review

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11B30B4

Well-Known Member
Spoiler Warning….

Who am I? I am a 47 year old guy who grew up watching Japanese live action shows like Ultraman and Japanese Anime (albeit Americanized) Speed Racer, Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato in Japan), and Robotech (Macross in Japan) just to name a few. I saw all the original Star Wars Movies on opening day in a movie theater (and Han most certainly shot first). I watched the original Battlestar Galactica series as it aired. I watched all the re-runs of the original Star Trek series in the early 1980s along with all the current and previously aired Doctor Who. I loved movies like Logan’s Run (and the TV series), 2001 A Space Odyssey, Heavy Metal, and a ton of other films and shows too vast to list here. With this eclectic background I figure I have enough a good grasp of how to relate to others who are fans of such movies and shows.

The live action movie Space Battleship Yamato was released in Japan on December 1st 2010 and it was released on DVD in the US on April 29th 2014. I did not review the movie back in January of 2011 when I actually saw it because there were tons of reviews about it back then; however, several people have since asked me what I thought about it so I am reviewing it now.

Growing up with Star Blazers It took me a few episodes of the actual Japanese Space Battleship Yamato (SBY) to enjoy the subtitles and all the name changes of the characters. In the end I truly loved the series and agree with most critics that it is a paradigm shift for wide reception of Anime.

So I was really excited to learn that they were doing a live action movie. When I sat down and started watching the movie I was amazed at how far Japanese movie production has come. The special effects were very good. I would not say they are on the level with American big budget films but they do run a close second place. Certainly a quantum leap from many other Japanese films. There is a lot of CGI and I think they would have more realism with models (think Star Wars ep 4 vs ep 2). Regardless, the acting was good as well. Considering that the Anime was designed for a younger audience, the sometimes campy and almost over the top emotions of the characters was to be expected. There were several plot changes from the Anime that I do have issue with. The largest being the reduction of the Gamilas (or Gamilons) from an entire race of blue militaristic humanoids hell bent on conquering the galaxy (including earth) who have unique individuals that play various protagonists to a hive minded energy form race that seems to have a split personality. This change alone caused me to really dislike the movie from the onset. Another huge change was the inclusion of Queen Starsha of Iscandar as the other personality of the Gamilas. This caused a huge WTF moment for me. There were other plot changes but these two cause a huge dilemma. First, we lose the motivations of the characters and their actions due to these changes, further we lose the entire back story of the Gamilas and the importance of Queen Starsha. The movie retains much of the cool technology such as the Yamato, the Wave Motion Gun, Cosmo Fighters, etc. but all this is window dressing if we lose the story. With SBY being a cultural icon in Japan (there are theme parks about it), one would think that a huge big budget movie would attempt to stick as close to the original story as possible. Sure there would be changes, heck even the Yamato was physically changes to a degree for the movie but I honestly got the feeling, did the director and writers actually watch the Anime series at all.

When the reimagined Battlestar Galactica came out, fans were shocked that the Cylons looked like humans, this plot twist was (in my opinion) expertly executed and made the series so much better than the original; however, SBY’s plot changes did nothing to further the story and left this film empty. To compare it with BSG, you would have to reduce the Cylons to a single computer that spit out insults to the humans rather than being everything that the Cylons were.

If you have not seen the Anime SBY or Star Blazers, watch the live action movie first and you will most likely be able to appreciate it for what it is. The opening battle sequence was really put together nicely and the sound track (other than the Steven Tyler song) was good as well. The story can be enjoyable if you are oblivious to the original story and it’s worth a viewing. Once you have seen it, go back and watch the Anime and tell me if you agree with my criticisms.
 

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astroboy

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I saw it a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. It was very reminiscent in style to RDM galactica. Using the same beats to pull at your heart strings.

I've only ever seen the first few episodes of starblazers and I loved it. I'd like to track down a copy of the original SBY but I always found it out of my price range
 

11B30B4

Well-Known Member
astroboy from time to time it shows up on Netflix but crunchy roll or similar Anime site with subscription is you best bet. Star Blazers is easy to find but the Japanese version is so much better.
 

Edraven99

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I for one was really looking forward to the movie and rather disappointed when I finally saw it. Yes I realize that there had to be huge plot sacrifices and changes due to trying to tell the entire story Iscandar story line in a couple of hours (this probably would have been better realized as a trilogy of films), but the changes as you mention were a little too much off course for me as a longtime fan.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199... now that what a re-vision of the original series that was done right....
 

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Lear60man

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I stumbled across it on youtube by accident and made an alert thread here. It was kinda odd that the entire movie was on Youtube but oh well. Its fun and kinda neat to see the Yamato live. I have low expectations for foreign films because its hard to get into the movie while reading subtitles. I look forward to Attack on Titan to hit the internet.
 

11B30B4

Well-Known Member
nwjedidave, once I have seen it I am sure I will understand what you are talking about. Your comments have me concerned, but I will track it down and watch it.

Lear60man, I had a similar problem of reading the subtitles and missing what was going on, on the screen; however, I found the more movies you do this with, the easier it gets. Honestly, some the best movies I have ever seen were foreign subtitled movies. As far as SBY, there is a DVD and blue-ray available now. I expect AOT to most likely come out on DVD by Christmas although I have no solid information to back this up. I expect a torrent (if you do that) of it to hit as soon as the DVD is released elsewhere, possibly before the official release here in the US.

BTW, I did find this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2015/06/03/james-wan-set-to-direct-upcoming-robotech-movie/

And although she is nice to look at, she is clearly a total airhead so I am not looking forward to this but I will go see it: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ollieba...in-the-shell-movie-starts-casting-for-extras/
 

Riceball

Master Member
I don't know, ScarJo isn't that bad, she's certainly a capable actress, even if she she plays nothing but straight, faced, unemotional, kick ass types. That's probably why they cast her as Major Kusinagi, she's popular, and she plays the Kusinagi type very well.
 

11B30B4

Well-Known Member
Riceball, don't get me wrong, I like her as an actress. She has been great in all the Marvel stuff and I loved her in The Island, Im just worried about the entire team that will make this film and lets admit it, Lucy was not that great. So I hope Ghost gets a better writer, director and that SJ does the Anime proud. I am just really apprehensive, I would have felt better with a Japanese actress who grew up on Anime than an outsider like SJ. Consider this, about a year ago I had read somewhere that Hollywood was doing its own version of SBY (calling it Star blazers), then I read that Hollywood would be doing its own version of Robotech with Tom Cruse to be cast as Rick Hunter. I really hope both were just rumors. I know we have talented writers and directors and actors in Hollywood but these projects (In my opinion) really should be left to Japanese film makers. The drive to make a buck rather than a great film is just too strong here in the US. But hey, I could be wrong, Edge of Tomorrow was very good, I thought.
 

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Riceball

Master Member
Riceball, don't get me wrong, I like her as an actress. She has been great in all the Marvel stuff and I loved her in The Island, Im just worried about the entire team that will make this film and lets admit it, Lucy was not that great. So I hope Ghost gets a better writer, director and that SJ does the Anime proud. I am just really apprehensive, I would have felt better with a Japanese actress who grew up on Anime than an outsider like SJ. Consider this, about a year ago I had read somewhere that Hollywood was doing its own version of SBY (calling it Star blazers), then I read that Hollywood would be doing its own version of Robotech with Tom Cruse to be cast as Rick Hunter. I really hope both were just rumors. I know we have talented writers and directors and actors in Hollywood but these projects (In my opinion) really should be left to Japanese film makers. The drive to make a buck rather than a great film is just too strong here in the US. But hey, I could be wrong, Edge of Tomorrow was very good, I thought.

Like I said, they probably cast SJ because she's a hot property right now and people like seeing her in the Black Widow & Lucy kind of role even though she can do more than that. That doesn't mean that the GitS movie will necessarily be any good, Hollywood's track record of adapting popular franchises hasn't been that hot lately and there's a pretty good chance that they'll probably bastardize it like everything else, but then again, Japan hasn't been doing that well at adapting their own popular franchises either.

Right now Robotech seems to be in development hell, it was attached to Leonardo DiCaprio's or Tobey Macquire's production studio but it never went anywhere. The latest seems to be that Sony has the rights and they gave it to the director of the last Fast and Furious movie, I think, but that may be old news too. With any luck, it will either not end up seeing the light of day or will be passed on to somebody who actually appreciates Robotech and wants to make as faithful a live action adaptation as possible.
 

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