Review: Space Battleship Yamato (2010)

I am finally done with my last round of commissions! This clears me! I’m free. And that means I’m free to reload. My apologies to Kenny on the delay.

But it’s ending well because of this: This movie kicks ass. And it deserves way better than it got in terms of release in America. It was a blockbuster in its home country. But in the US? Barely released. And it’s not like it’s some impossible to understand film. This is a big budget film (for Japan) that looks great. It’s action heavy. It’s thrilling. And so maybe I can convince y’all to give it a shot.

Based on the classic anime, the premise is extremely simple. Earth is under attack by aliens called the Gamilas who are terraforming the planet, irradiating it to make it habitable. Retired military hero Kodai (Takuya Kimura) survives losing his protective gear when he finds a probe with blueprints for a drive and a message of a device that might cure the Earth (maybe). That inspires the dying Captain Okita (Tsutomu Yamazaki) to embark on a journey to find the device. Kodai reenlists on the titular ship. And the plot unfolds.

Let me get my complaints out of the way. There is literally nothing in this film to shock you. I know nothing of the source material and I knew almost to the second where this plot was going. The characters are also wafer thin. And the film is definitely bloated. In other words it’s a blockbuster.

But it’s a damned fine one. Just because I knew all of this didn’t mean I was disengaged. It’s a deeply effective film which executes its tropes well. The direction by Takashi Yamazaki sings. It moves fairly well. It’s never vague or hard to follow. I watched a dub but the acting was superb near as I could tell. It’s really entertaining.

And damn does it look great. I can tell there was money and time spent here. The effects are probably not as good as in the US but I really couldn’t tell. The CGI is fantastic. The battles match anything in 2010 in the US. And the set design blows all but Inception away from that year.

This movie deserves to be found. I know nothing about the source, like I said. But you know a film works when you’re intrigued by what you see enough to want to find out more. Space Battleship Yamato is a gem.

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