SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (2010 JAPAN) D: TAKASHI YAMAZAKI W: SHIMAKO SATO P: NOBUHIRO AZUMA/YASUHIRO YAMADA/AKIHIKO ISHIMARU/CHIKAHIRO ANDO
Long-awaited and really quite terrible big-screen live-action remake of the very influential long-running anime series that debuted in 1974 (and the 1978 feature spin-off FAREWELL SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO) stars Takuya Kimura (who`s too old) as Kodai (or Derek Wildstar to STAR BLAZERS fans!), the brash young fighter pilot who has to take over as Captain of the titular (modified naval battle)ship on a mission to obtain a radiation-eliminator from the planet Iskandar, in a future (2199) when the Earth is ravaged by meteor bombs fired from Mars by the Gamilas. The VFX (overseen by the experienced Director Yamazaki) are surprisingly good for the most part, but everything else (acting, alleged comedy, endless melodrama) is just awful (and only laughable now and again, so it`s dull too). The production values are pretty paltry, so you never feel the huge scale of the adventure, and static, isolated scenes on the bridge of the ship (more LAND OF THE GIANTS than STAR TREK) really grind the momentum down (it`s way overlong anyway). Scenes on the surface of Iskander reminded me of STARSHIP TROOPERS, or rather a video-game based on that modern sci-fi classic. And don`t get me started on the charisma vacuum that is Meisa Kuroki (as awful here as she was in ASSAULT GIRLS). Romantic scenes between her and Kimura totally lack chemistry, and just resemble two narcissists feeling each other out before a pout-off! Tsutomu Yamazaki doesn`t have much to do as bed-ridden Captain Okita (who will remind British viewers of Captain Birdseye above all else, North Americans will see Captain Highliner). With Toshiro Yanagiba, Toshiyuki Nishida, Reiko Takashima, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Naoto Ogata, Shinnichi Tsutsumi, Kazuki Namioka, Yoji Tanaka, Kazuki Kitamura, Isao Hashizume, Miyu Sawai, Natsuhi Ueno and the voice of Ibu Masato. When it finally ends, we`re tortured by a horrible Steven Tyler song (Love Lives) during the end credits. I`ll sum up with this: during pre-release promotion for the film, TBS tv studios (who backed it) in Akasaka had a replica Yamato out front and a regular scheduled "light show". Me and the wife saw it, and were throughly underwhelmed when one single thin green lazer pencil light danced about a bit. But it was a pretty accurate summation of what to expect. To quote Mr. Horse from REN & STIMPY, "No sir, i didn`t like it".

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