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REVIEW: Shin Ultraman




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kakugo complete



Joined: 01 Jul 2020
Posts: 69
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2022 9:50 pm Reply with quote
gonna have to watch this but something tells me it does have overarching themes lol
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Vladimir Morales



Joined: 08 Mar 2022
Posts: 84
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2022 11:04 am Reply with quote
Come on, is this even a surprise? There was no way this movie was gonna be a failure. Ultraman has always been successful in Japan.
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Richard Eisenbeis
ANN Reviewer


Joined: 17 Dec 2018
Posts: 53
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 12:23 am Reply with quote
kakugo complete wrote:
gonna have to watch this but something tells me it does have overarching themes lol


It does. I spent two paragraphs detailing what they were and why they didn't work.

Quote:
All in all, each distinct section of the film is handled well and gives a meaningful exploration of its themes. Unfortunately, the episodic structure of the film means that it has few overarching themes—and those that it does have largely fail because of that structure. One such theme is the ineptitude of the government—how it never seems to learn its lesson and is doomed to repeat its mistakes endlessly. Sadly, this theme is treated as little more than a repeated comedic beat rather than a greater analysis of the problem.

The main theme of the film, the power of friendship, fares little better. Centered around Ultraman and his SSSP partner Asami, their relationship is supposed to form the basis for the film's climax—and explain why Ultraman feels the need to protect humanity, no matter the consequences. The problem is that Ultraman and Asami actually share very little screen time. In fact, for more than half the film, he is no-contact with the SSSP in general—Asami included. They simply have no real opportunity to form such a plot-vital friendship—no matter how much Asami brings up the subject in passing. The number of conversations they have in the film can be counted on a single hand.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 2212
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 8:20 am Reply with quote
Quote:
More like four separate episodes than a cohesive film


I wouldn't be surprised if Anno eventually reveals that was the entire point of the movie: To essentially recreate the feel of Ultraman, right down to the episodic nature of it. While people tend to focus on Anno's penchant for breaking down stuff & the like, he's also just an Übermensch of an otaku who loves recreating exactly what he loves about his favorite stuff, right down to the minutiae. I could easily see a producer for Shin Ultraman look at his script & state "This just feels like four episodes of a TV series!", only for Anno to look back at the producer deadpan & respond with "Yeah, and isn't that awesome?!".
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nixice



Joined: 20 Oct 2003
Posts: 20
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
Quote:
More like four separate episodes than a cohesive film


I wouldn't be surprised if Anno eventually reveals that was the entire point of the movie: To essentially recreate the feel of Ultraman, right down to the episodic nature of it...


Sure, that seems to be the point... but it still has to work for its purpose. Like, you can do an episodic film, with distinct stories in each segment ala Creepshow or specific slices of a life ala Moonlight (...that's two proper frames of reference, right?), but it really helps to have a cohesion tying it together so that as the stories start and stop you are still invested to see what comes next before there's no more. If it feels too much just like four "episodes" of what could have been a whole season more but this was only be a 90-minute film, then it doesn't really work as a 90-minute film in and of itself and seems like it should have just been an episodic series.

And going by the reviewer's description of how the characters are not interlinked enough in the film, that feels like a missed opportunity to provide that needed glue. Even if Anno was following a TV-as-a-movie concept, part of the typical TV formula is to check in with the characters every episode (although I don't follow Ultraman so I'm only guessing they use that trick?), to reset viewers and orient the board for the next chapter to begin. You don't have to have those characters in the same room or in conversation to do that, if each story is its own flow, but if the purpose of having multiple stories is to build a narrative and thematic tower, it helps to have those characters bouncing off each other rather than be in their own worlds dealing with their own crisis.

Not that I have seen the film to know how I'd take this format myself (if you tell people that Shin Godzilla was just all the human bureaucracy parts of a Godzilla story elevated to the main storyline, probably they'd go running away from rather than towards the theater...), and I'm still eager to see it, but I think I can see why this structure could be a point of criticism.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 2212
Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 3:26 pm Reply with quote
nixice wrote:
Not that I have seen the film to know how I'd take this format myself (if you tell people that Shin Godzilla was just all the human bureaucracy parts of a Godzilla story elevated to the main storyline, probably they'd go running away from rather than towards the theater...), and I'm still eager to see it, but I think I can see why this structure could be a point of criticism.


I haven't seen Shin Ultraman either, & I never said that the format couldn't be criticized. I was just pointing out that Hideaki Anno has always been someone if, given the opportunity, does something his way & doesn't really care about how the likely reaction to it would be, positive or negative (see: Evangelion TV's final two episodes, Shin Godzilla, Eva 3.33, etc.). You can sure as hell criticize those kinds of decisions, but I was just bringing up a likely explanation as to why this format was chosen, because it's likely just not as confusing or mysterious as one might expect.
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Oby



Joined: 16 Jan 2017
Posts: 96
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 5:34 pm Reply with quote
nixice wrote:
Lord Geo wrote:
Quote:
More like four separate episodes than a cohesive film


I wouldn't be surprised if Anno eventually reveals that was the entire point of the movie: To essentially recreate the feel of Ultraman, right down to the episodic nature of it...


Like, you can do an episodic film, with distinct stories in each segment ala Creepshow or specific slices of a life ala Moonlight, but it really helps to have a cohesion tying it together so that as the stories start and stop you are still invested to see what comes next before there's no more. If it feels too much just like four "episodes" of what could have been a whole season more but this was only be a 90-minute film, then it doesn't really work as a 90-minute film in and of itself and seems like it should have just been an episodic series.

And going by the reviewer's description of how the characters are not interlinked enough in the film, that feels like a missed opportunity to provide that needed glue.

Are you kidding me? You're using Creepshow as the "good" example of cohesive separate chapters in a movie compared to Shin Ultraman? When was the last time you watched it before making that comment? Creepshow movies are horror anthologies with separate stories that barely have any connection with each other. For example, one story tells us about a living Native-American statue while the other is about an oil monster in a lake with completely different characters that barely connected to the previous ones. They're more like multiple episodes of Tales from the Crypt jammed into one movie. That's like the exact opposite of one cohesive story. I'm pretty sure Shin Ultraman will be a lot more cohesive than the likes of Creepshow 1, 2 & 3. I mean, it's not like they're gonna change Shin Ultraman protags 3-4 times in a single movie.
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