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Author Topic: "Star Blazers" film  (Read 1658 times)
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« on: October 05, 2011, 07:37:29 PM »

I got my hands on the live action Space Cruiser Yamato film from Japan. I will just say that it was great. I received this from Amazon the other day and watched it 10 minutes later. It's been three days, and I am still marveling over it in my head. If you want to skip the telling below, just trust that it is an incredible adaptation and go watch it. There aren't really any spoilers below, so if your curious... (all names are from English, rather than the Japanese to nudge those who watched the original here in the states)

I might have changed a few things but dare I say, these things were much less important than the plot-converted-to-film being told, something I don't normally notice. In other words, the edits made for a better story as a two hour movie, which is all I could really ask for.

As my wife pointed out, the changes led to a better telling for the "dramatist viewer". For example, while the anime portrayed the Gamilons as heartless Romans, the film depicted them in such as way as to be completely alienable from our race. My guess is the producers wanted to generate a xenophobic reaction for the viewer, being so separate from the human race they were chilling to watch. It worked. On the other hand, it could be perceived that this reduces the original sentiment had by Nishizaki in the anime telling, in that "known thine enemy" becomes easier if they are like you, have the same needs and fears as you, etc... even if they were depicted as Romans. Especially, in fact. A play on the sympathy card, if you will. Still, I am OK with this major alteration.

Other changes I will keep quiet, but I will add that Queen Starsha, the manner in which she was introduced, may actually have been an improvement over the way she was written in the anime. The hint I offer is notice how Wildstar and Venture reference Nova throughout the series, and on so many occasions. Makes me wonder if there was a last minute decision years ago on how to treat her role.

For the majority, the story and plot were intact, well paced and equally as emotionally charged as the show was 30+ years ago. The ending of the film hit me like a 2x4 in the face. I don't know how they could have done a better job, other than perhaps a mini-series which could have taken the time to pontificate further upon the personal turmoil had by the characters, but I am quibbling.

Having said that, the scene where each crewman line up to communicate back to Earth before they leave the Solar System is a tribute to the self-same episode, which represented the most unlikely emotional chapter in the series. I for one am glad they included it in as canon in the film. They didn't need to, but they did, and I am pleasantly surprised as it is served as a proper allegory for all of our men and women who go off to war.

The cast was exemplary, the source material was of course first rate, and its transition to a live action film was completely sequitor. It is nothing short of a tribute to the melodrama that made the original anime the success it is today.

If this sounds bigger than life, it is, and I realize I am belaboring a point but 1) I don't want to take away from any of the story elements for those unfamiliar, so the most I can offer is a response and 2) I didn't expect this level of quality in an adaptation. I would put this on the same shelf as Das Boot or Seven Samurai, but this is me. Fans of the SyFy Battlestar Galactica will gravitate to this production. Again, fans of the original Star Blazers show will notice the expertly crafted casting, in that Ct Avatar and Wildstar are measured so well in their roles for a live action film. Chief O'Ryan was also a clone of the anime character, and Sandor was amazing. They even had Dr. Sane's cat, which is a great example of "quality in the detail".

Don't get me started on the Wave Motion Gun. I could write for days.

In summary, go see it. It may convert you into fans of the golden age of anime cinema, and will expose you to a fabulous sci-fi standard regardless of age.

In short, I expected nothing less... and I got it. I am better for having come across it. Consider this a good excuse to channel some thoughts on this... the ultimate space opera.
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