Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Great War of Archimedes Review: An Intrigue-Filled Drama About A Battleship

Jun Kunimura	Jun Kunimura	...	Osami Nagano Minami Hamabe	Minami Hamabe	...	Kyoko Ozaki Min Tanaka	Min Tanaka	...	Tadamichi Hirayama Masaki Suda	Masaki Suda	...	Major Tadashi Kai Hiroshi Tachi	Hiroshi Tachi	...	Isoroku Yamamoto Fumiyo Kohinata	Fumiyo Kohinata	...	Sekizo Uno Tasuku Emoto	Tasuku Emoto	...	Second Lt. Shojiro Tanaka Isao Hashizume	Isao Hashizume	...	Shigetaro Shizuma Hôshi Ishida	Hôshi Ishida		 Tsurube Shôfukutei	Tsurube Shôfukutei	...	Kiyoshi Osato Katsuya Kobayashi	Katsuya Kobayashi	...	Mineo Osumi Ken'ichi Yajima	Ken'ichi Yajima	...	Tomekichi Ozaki Hajime Yamazaki	Hajime Yamazaki	...	Yoshio Fujioka

Release date: June 15, 2021
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed By: Takashi Yamazaki
Starring: Suda Masaki (Drowning Love), Emoto Tasuku (And Your Bird Can Sing), Hamabe Minami (The Promised Neverland), Shofukutei Tsurube (Family of Strangers), Hiroshi Tachi, and Kobayashi Katsuya (The Crazy Family)

Pre-WWII, the Japanese Navy commissioned the creation of the impressive “supership” Yamato, strongly opposed by a top official insisting on more strategic and battle-ready warships. After being ignored without cause, Admiral Yamamoto recruits a math genius to help uncover what he soon suspects is a massive conspiracy. 

Music by  Naoki Satô	Cinematography by  Kôzô Shibasaki	Film Editing by  Ryûji Miyajima	Art Direction by  Anri Jôjô	Costume Design by  Aiko Mizushima	Sound Department  Akihiko Okase	...	sound effectsVisual Effects by  Ryo Matsumoto	...	digital compositor Takashi Yamazaki	...	visual effects supervisor
The Great War of Archimedes has a lot going for it.  The acting is quite good and is headlined by the performance of Masaki as the brilliant mathematician Tadashi Kai.  He is a fun, driven character to watch and his intense personality and transformation in the film really give life to it. His boss and ally played by Tachi was another enjoyable character, with his more laid back persona while still being a dedicated officer to the Navy and Japan.  And the movie has an interesting story laid out as various groups vie for the future of Japan and warfare.  And the movie does have overall good effects during the war scenes.  The CG is there, but very well done and the sounds of combat will fill the room.  Explosions, gunfire, and airplane noise will transport you to the fleeting final days of the Yamato and her unfortunate crew. 

But what is so enjoyable about this film is that it does a good job of translating the manga onto the big screen.  I have not read the manga myself, but the movie has many of the standard tropes that you would expect in manga and anime reproduced in live action.  From over exaggerated characters to plans that are fully laid out, only to have a wrench thrown into them at the very end, the movie feels like a true to life adaptation of the page.  Thankfully, the film only uses the feel and doesn't go for a full on cell shaded type look or have extra exaggerated hand drawn type effects.  And despite these tropes, the actors themselves give natural performances despite their relatively extreme types of characters. 

However, despite the explosive cover art of this film, the movie is mostly about intrigue.  It starts with an impressive battle sequence before moving to a 2 hour drama about the various factions that were hoping to influence the future of Japanese warfare.  It is an interesting film, just not what I was expecting after the initial excitement.  And the intrigue is enjoyable but as with all anime, it does feel drawn out and like it keeps trying to one up each point.  You will have a huge event only to find out that something had changed or that the other side already anticipated the result and has pivoted.  It is not bad, just not as interesting as I would have expected given the exciting start of the movie.  

The Great War of Archimedes has an explosive opening and an intrigue filled story that keeps the manga feel but translates it to the big screen. 

Rent it.

Japan Yamato Yamamoto World War II Navy WWII WW2 Manga Anime Archimedes no Taisen
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The Great War of Archimedes is available digitally, on demand, DVD, and Blu Ray on June 15, 2021.  

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