Monday, August 3, 2009

Now Playing: Ultra-Movie Marathon

Here's how you make the best of a lousy summer cold: have an Ultra-Movie marathon!

First up was Ultraman Cosmos 2: The Blue Planet, a very likable entry in the Ultra saga. The Blue Planet of the title is really a "Blue Area" beneath the sea, where a race of mer-beings struggle for survival. In a welcome twist, they can transform into huge sea creatures to fight alongside Ultraman Cosmos and Ultraman Justice. The Blue Planet is an attractive, colorful film that makes the most of its aquatic setting. And in case you were wondering, yes, there is an Ultraman Cosmos 1--The Blue Planet is set about 15 years after the events of movie #1 and follows the same characters.
Next was Ultraman Tiga: the Final Odyssey, which picks up where the television series left off. It is great to see the cast of Tiga reunited--the GUTS team always had a special chemistry. We learn in The Final Odyssey that Tiga was once a malevolent titan that chose good over evil, infuriating his companions. Other highlights include the introduction of villainess Ultrawoman Kamila and the Christian marriage (!) of Daigo and Rena. True Tiga nuts will dig the extended version of "Take Me Higher" that plays while the closing credits roll.
Last but not least was Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna, a nifty take on the ubiquitous Ultra-theme, "never give up hope." Asuka is vulnerable and immature for an Ultra-hero, but that seems to make him a fairly realistic character to watch. Again, it is always nice to see the Tiga cast members make an appearance, even if only as a cameo. Don't miss the English audio track--it is one of the more bizarre dubbing jobs I've ever heard, with lots of unnatural pauses, repeated phrases, and curious discrepencies between the emotion of the scene and the tone of voice used to speak the dialogue. For example, when someone is shouting onscreen, you would not expect the dub track to have someone speaking in a conversational tone of voice--but that's what happens here. Truth be told, I find it weirdly compelling--but you may just want to turn on the subtitles.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot Mark. Because of you I have been searching nearby libraries and video stores for Ultra-man videos.