Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Stars: Takuya Kimura, Meisa Kuroki, Hiroyuko Ikeuchi
The Buzz: Made with a budget of 2 billion Japanese Yen, this live-action remake of the legendary 1974 anime series features Japanese mega-star Takuya Kimura.
Story: In 2199, space-to-planet bombs from the Gamilon aliens have polluted the Earth, and The Defense Force of Earth sends the Yamato, a space battleship fitted with alien technology, into the far reaches of space to help mankind find a way to defeat the Gamilon threat.
Insing says: We don’t remember too much about the anime series Yamato, but the only thing we distinctly recall was waiting to see if they fired the wave-motion gun-- the ship’s giant laser beam that just tore apart anything and everything in its path.
In the live-adaptation of the cartoon, the filmmakers have managed to capture the shock and awe of that single blast, as well as retain many other elements from the animation. Helping at the box office is Japanese superstar Kimura, whose perfect Gatsby hair never seems out of place. With the film firmly focused on Kimura’s journey, there’s little time for the other characters. Even co-star, the luscious Meisa Kuroki, who plays his romantic interest, as well as the Yamato’s captain, has to stand in his shadow.
The anime’s over-the-top storyline, with melodrama and excess sentimentality, particularly when the crew members start to sacrifice themselves in order to preserve the battleship’s mission, are proudly retained. Special effects aren’t first rate by Hollywood standards, but are passable enough.
The story does have quite a few holes, and in the thirty years since Yamato appeared on screens, audiences might find some things a little hard to swallow such as the Yamato’s crew taking in one of the alien fighters without quarantining it.
Still, it is a commendable adaptation and fans of the original series should find much to cheer about. Newer viewers should be reassured there’s enough space battles to keep them entertained as long as they can swallow some melodrama and sentimentality of this unabashed grand space opera.