Reviewby Bamboo Dong, Aug 25th 2002
Mobile Suit Gundam
Movie DVD 2: Soldiers of Sorrow
In the second DVD of the Gundam movie trilogy, the crew of the White Base is faced with the startling truth that they have just been designated a Newtype Unit, meaning that they have pilots that possess Newtype abilities, allowing them to possess greater understanding and intuitive skills. Because of this designation, the White Base is set to go back into Space to fight against the Zeon.
While the first Gundam movie was a splendid show of why the series made such a huge impact on anime fandom, the second movie did not uphold to its predecessor's standards. Released by Bandai Entertainment in the United States, the DVD includes only the subtitled-only release of the second movie, entitled “Solders of Sorrow”. The movies, in essence, are the condensed form of the Mobile Suit Gundam television series. Unfortunately, the second movie was far too condensed, and far too hacked to pieces to be recognizable.
Because the producers wanted to condense an entire series into a brief trilogy, much had to be cut. Whereas the first movie left virtually all parts of the first few episodes intact though, the second movie jumped from scenario to scenario, bridged only by a narrator and awkwardly inserted flashback scenes. While bearable, the movie left out many important scenes, even those crucial to the plot, such as death scenes of characters introduced in the first movie, as well as the emotional trauma suffered by Amuro because of the war, which originally spanned a few episodes. Though it is understandable why many scenes had to be cut out, the result was nevertheless disappointing. The transitions between the scenes were executed poorly, and while many important scenes were left out, there were just as many pointless, trivial scenes left in. Also awkward were the instances when the producers would show a scene, and seem to remember that in order for the viewer to understand the scene, that they would have had to have seen an earlier episode. During these moments, a collage of past scenes posed as a flashback would be thrown in under a red filter, which only serves to confuse the viewer more, as the flashbacks only remind the viewer that much was missed.
For the most part, even though the movie itself may be slightly disappointing to watch for fans of the Gundam series, it is still a blessing that it is shown in its original Japanese dialogue. Even though viewers who want to view the entire series will have to watch the hackneyed dub released by Bandai, this movie is still a nice reminder of how much a scene can be enhanced through proper acting. While the actors performed beautifully and voiced the characters well, Bandai did only an adequate job subtitling the dialogue. There were multiple scenes in which lines of dialogue were left un-translated, which is unfortunate for viewers who are not well endowed with knowledge of the Japanese language. It is interesting to note, however, that while the subtitled script matched the dubbed script on the series release for the most part, there were some areas involving the Newtypes that were altered in the dubbed release. This makes it worthwhile for viewers of the dubbed series to pick up the movies, if even just to better comprehend certain aspects of the series.
One thing that carried from the series to the movies was the matter of shallow characterization of women. While the character development of males such as Amuro, Kai, and Ryu suffered greatly from the cut-and-paste editing made, the development of the women did not change at all. This, alas, is due to the fact that there was no development whatsoever to begin with. The women in the movie are possibly the most annoying, agitating, dimwitted characters ever designed. Their actions and motivations are so insulting to normal sensibility that even the most feminist viewers might turn against the female gender. It is unclear whether the producers found women this irritating in real life, or the characters just appear in such an exasperating manner out of sheer coincidence. Portrayed are women who try to prove that they can fight as well as men, but then fail miserably because obviously they cannot fight as well as the men, and only make fools of themselves; then there are women who pester and nag the sensibilities out of the men, and wonder later why the men ignore them. This characterization is the sort that can aggravate almost any viewer.
Even though the Gundam movies are a nice opportunity for fans to view parts of the series in their original dialogue, the sub-par editing and almost random hacking almost destroy the pleasure in viewing them. The only consolation is that the Gundam movies were what made the Gundam television series more popular in Japan, so credit must be given to them for that. However, nostalgia aside, the movies would have been much more acceptable had they been edited to better suit the available time. On the positive side, the DVD cover is quite shiny, which must give the release some merit.
Overall (sub) : C
Story : D
Animation : C
Art : C
Music : C
+ In all its original Japanese glory
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