Saturday, April 2, 2011

Space Battleship Yamato - Takuya and The Cheese

Kimura-san looking intensely hot in the main movie poster.

The Evil One and I have been looking forward to watching the hot Kimura-san in action since we first spotted the movie poster out in Singapore (I saw it earlier when I was in Taipei late last year.) So yesterday, together with the Samurai (dragged by me of course), my best bud D., some Japanese classmates and my Sensei too!!! the whole chain gang descended on a multiplex in Singapore to catch a late night show of Japan's first full blown space action movie, Space Battleship Yamato, a live-action remake of a 1970s sci-fi anime series, and so named, as the Samurai intoned, after the BIGGEST battleship in the world from World War II (note: aircraft carriers today are NOT the same as battleships.)

Check out Kimura-san's "Gatsby" hairstyle. I half expected him to break out into a song and dance any moment.

Like all big, chest thumping action movies from Holllywood (Independence Day, Armageddon, etc), the plot is pretty straightforward with a group of human space crew, on the last remaining spaceship named Yamato, leaving for uncharted territories to fight hostile aliens, the "Gamilas" and to save Earth from nuclear extinction. The typical themes of heroism, self-sacrifice, brotherhood, responsibility are delivered to the audience in spades (literally shoved down our throats). The storyline of Earth dying slowly as a result of radiation from alien missiles sends a momentary chill down the spine, especially in view of the on-going nuclear crisis in Japan. Takuya Kimura is of course the heroic male lead (can he be anything else?), Susumu Kodai, a maverick top pilot who later became the Acting Captain of Yamato, and *SPOILER* sacrificed himself spectacularly at the end to save the day. Of course, there is the mandatory romantic side plot between Kodai and female fighter pilot Yuki Mori (Meisa Kuroki) to provide us some love diversion but as best bud D. commented, "There is no chemistry between them AT ALL." Which the Evil One and I agreed but that could just be the sour grapes talking.

This blog post is giving me plenty of excuses to spam gratuitous pictures of Kimura-san. 

The Positives: The special effects, I felt, were excellent and on par with big Hollywood productions. But we should not expect anything less since the Japanese spent US$22 million to make the show. The action sequences were quite exciting, interspersed with a few touching moments, in particular, the scene where the crew bid goodbye to their families. Kimura-san, of course, looked glorious throughout, even when his soft wavy hair was badly tousled (all the more to look sexy), and the scene where he was only wearing a tight singlet doing sit ups and flexing his bronzed biceps sent The Evil One and I squealing like slaughtered pigs. That alone was worth the price of the movie ticket. I could only feel sorry for my Sensei who had the misfortune to sit next to the two delirious Obasan (Gomenasai, Sensei!).

Who you looking at, Baby??

The Negatives: The movie was WAY too long, over 2 hours, since it appeared as if they were trying to cram all 26 anime episodes into one movie. Samurai nodded off in the middle of the show, I think. There were too many unnecessary maudlin scenes, particularly the "romance" between Kodai and Mori, which broke up the pace of the show, and a lot of the acting was, according the Evil One, "very bad". Perhaps it was because the characters were all boring stereotypes, seen in a zillion other movies before. Even our beloved Kimura-san did little other than to look "intense" throughout the movie. When the space crew died off one by one, including the old stoic captain, and our beloved Kimura-san in the finale, our stone cold hearts did not melt; on the contrary we were feeling amused at the cheesiness of it all. Their space uniforms looked dated, almost retro, but of course Kimura-san would look good even in a garbage bag. The script was also disgustingly predictable, even for those of us who never watched the anime before. The highlight of the movie was towards the end when after Kodai sacrificed himself to destroy the aliens, the Evil One whispered, "Don't tell me that woman is going to become PREGNANT." The next second, it was the scene of a young boy rushing up a hill calling "Mama", which resulted in both of us breaking up into hysterical laughter. It appeared that Kodai and Mori had the time "to do the deed" when Yamato went into one of its numerous "Warps".

But you know what?!? Despite the cheese, I totally enjoyed myself. A bad movie that can make you laugh is actually quite successful, in a way. Honestly I think the Star Wars movies also had rubbish storylines too. On a separate note, the alien names were just lame, like the "Gamilas" and Planet Iskandar - which I think the Japanese were not aware when they wrote it that "Iskandar" is a very common Malay name in Southeast Asia.

Conclusion: Go watch it, especially if you are a Takuya Kimura fan.

P.S. Darn I cannot seem to find the screen shot of Kimura-san flexing his bronzed biceps in the movie, which sent both the Evil One and one into a tizzy. If I find it later, will add on to this post.

You can check out the movie trailer below. And the theme song is even sung by Steven Tyler!!!! Sorry, no English subtitles, but you can get the idea anyway - such typical action movies need little translation.

No comments: