Review of 'Space Battleship Yamato'

space_battleship_yamato.jpg In the second world war the Japanese Battleship Yamato was tasked with protecting Japan from the overwhelming naval might of the US. It was destroyed in 1945 with the loss of most of her crew.

It is 2199 and a desolated earth is fighting a losing battle with the Gamilons. The population has retreated underground from the relentless barrage. Kodai Susumu (Kimura Takuya) is looking for scrap when a device from the distant Iskandar lands and throws him off of his feet - The device contains the coordinates of the planet and hope for mankind in the form of a “cure” for the radiation that now plagues the surface. In a last-stitch effort the military send out their last battleship - The Yamato - To Iskandar in a bid to save humanity. The battleship is piloted by a captain who was responsible for Kodai's brother's death so tension is in the air as Kodai is taken on board the Yamato in their voyage along with the flight squadron from his previous military life. Yuki Mori (Meisa Kuroki) is a feisty pilot that has little time for Kodai though when saved from certain death her opinion changes…Will they make it to Iskandar and will they be able to bring back the green fields of earth?

In my youth I watched “Star Blazers” which is the English-language version of the original Japanese anime on which this movie is based and was fascinated by the level of detail in the story and the fact it was not afraid to tell it in a very long time (at least it seemed at the time for me), in 26 episodes. It also had some cool things: An amazingly catching theme song, dashing heroes, and a space-going battleship! Of course, in this movie that very closely follows the story things are very compressed but it, of course, owes a lot to the anime on which it is based with knowing nods throughout (of course). The acting, as might be expected, is wooden at best and the pace is truly breathtaking with the necessity of losing a lot of the depth of the original (the quickness of Kodai's ascending to the captaincy being a single example of this). The effects are amazing and will satisfy the hard-core fan and the general public as well. The straight-forward “Gamilons are bad and have to be exterminated” might leave a few people uncomfortable as they are slaughtered throughout (with no apologies) but this is a fairly basic story.

An interesting and thrilling film from Japan that does justice to the original anime material. For anyone looking for a great SF yarn and a good amount of action you can't go too wrong here.


Review Date: 2014-03-02

Directed by: Takashi Yamazaki

Studio: Abe Shuji

Year: 2010

Length: 131 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction