In the year 2199, the Earth has been under radioactive siege from extraterrestrials, known as the Gamilas, for five years. The Earth's defense forces have been decimated and any surviving humans have had to move underground to escape the radioactive bombardment. Unfortunately, the contamination is slowly penetrating the earth and beginning to affect the underground facilities. The last interstellar battleship of the exhausted Earth Defense Forces, the Yamato, sets out on a mission to Iscandar, a planet located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. There the humans hope to acquire a device that can heal the radiation damaged Earth, before the contamination wipes out the last of humanity.
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Cast & Credits
SBY not only has a stellar cast (even the one-liners come from known faces), but its a visually stunning sci-fi story that tries its damnedest to be as impressive as the original anime. The mechs, the AIs, and the Yamato itself are all CGI'd in incredible detail. The flight scenes are also well done, and unlike with many other films, don't feel CGI'd and greenscreened. The graphics just further aid to absorb you in this world.
Although clocking in at over two hours, SBY does feel a bit too short for me--only because the cast is so big, and we don't get the chance to get to know many of them. There's a history between a lot of the characters that, perhaps had I seen the anime, I might've understood. Instead we only get touches here or there of the humanity of the military personnel, and while it is leaps and bounds better than some action flicks, I just wanted to know more.
The relationship between Yuki and Kodai, while steamy, also seems to come too quickly. Perhaps that's the fault of trying to fit a full anime series into a single feature length film, but I also consider it a success--I liked all of these characters so much, loved their relationships complete with baggage, that I wanted to spend more time with them.
The story itself is beautiful, and you're bound to have a misty eye by the end. It's a sci-fi action flick, sure, but at its heart it's about humanity's desire, drive and stubborn determination to survive. And who doesn't get a kick out of an ensemble drama with a crew? I mean come on, crews are awesome. You just want everybody to make it, but you know somebody's going down and you pray it's not your favorite character.
Space Battleship Yamato succeeds, in my opinion, as someone who doesn't know the anime. I think it's incredibly well done, and worth the wait (it came out in 2010, I'm a bit late to the party). I do wish it were longer, or even split into two films, but for what we got, I enjoyed it.