MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY LEGEND THE MOVIE dvd review

Japan Region 2 DVD

Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1

DD 5.1 Japanese

Subtitles: English

IMDB

MOVIE: 7.5

VIDEO QUALITY: 8

AUDIO QUALITY: 8

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 10

EXTRAS: 0

 

MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY LEGEND THE MOVIE (MMBUGLTM) is one epic Ultraman movie. If you want to see a non-stop action movie which is like a mish-mash of Green Lantern, Star Wars, martial arts, Godzilla-style monsters, then this movie is for you! If you’ve watched commercial Japanese movies, then you know what to expect from the story and the depth of characters…meaning, there is none. But at least the filmmakers stick to what they know how to do best – just make anime-style action. I’m also glad that there is not an ounce of filler in this film – it’s just straight-up non-stop action mayhem.

Since Ultraman is one of Japan’s most popular superheroes, I was curious to see this movie. I’ve never seen an episode of the Japanese show, and I’ve only seen another Ultraman movie, ULTRAMAN THE NEXT, which was released in 2004. That movie was somewhat entertaining. After seeing this new Ultraman film, I now perceive ULTRAMAN THE NEXT as a Japanese interpretation of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern origin story. In ULTRAMAN THE NEXT, the main character is a pilot that becomes Ultraman, so it’s very similar to Hal Jordan’s origin. With this new Ultraman film, MMBUGLTM is basically Green Lantern and Corp fighting Sinestro and his henchmen monsters in outer space to prevent Sinestro from taking control of the universe. There’s even a supreme light power in this film just as with Green Lantern’s Central Power Battery.

There are tons of Ultramen superheroes (which I was not aware of and explains the countless different-looking Ultramen Japanese action figures) – they are basically a race of Earthling-type people that have to live as Ultramen (it’s not a suit, it’s something they transform into) on their planet because of their bright sun or something dangerous in their environment. The villain of the movie was a former Ultraman (a la Sinestro) and just tries to kill all the Ultramen throughout the whole film. There are even some Star Trek-like space travelers that help out the Ultramen. MMBUGLTM has tons of characters and it’s a bit hard to keep track of all the different kinds of Ultramen, but it doesn’t really matter because this movie is all about the action.

For Japanese commercial movie standards, the special effects are excellent in this film. It’s a lot of green screen CGI, which is not up to standards of Hollywood CGI, but what it has is creativity, so the special effects are worth seeing, especially since outer space and different planets are used as the main backgrounds.

MMBUGLTM is directed by Koichi Sakamoto, the director of the Power Rangers tv show. Not surprising, the movie is a bit like a big-budget tv episode, but it works just fine. MMBUGLTM is mainly impressive for its visual creativity. If you are looking for story, character arcs, and originality, don’t even watch this film. I’ve realized long ago that good Japanese screenwriters for commercial films are non-existent in Japan.

This Ultraman movie makes a good double feature with any of the Green Lantern films (one live-action, and two animated films).

The Japanese DVD is pretty good quality. The anamorphic widescreen and DD 5.1 Japanese audio are all solid – just what you would expect from an outer space action flick – crisp, clean video and with very active surrounds. The English subtitles are excellent as well. There’s a Japanese Region A blu-ray release of this film as well, but that would cost a fortune. There are also cheaper Hong Kong DVD and blu-ray versions but with no English subtitles available. If you are not a huge Ultraman fan, then just stick with the Japanese DVD.

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