It’s rare that I’m so torn when it comes to a movie, normally I love it or hate it. “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” most definitely has me conflicted. Based upon the anime of the same name, “Harlock” is set in the future where humanity has evolved into a massive space civilization. Catch is, the “empire” is on a downward spiral due to general malaise and apathy, partially caused by the alien attacks of the Mazone, a race of vegetable women who claimed Earth a long, long, time ago, in a galaxy, well you know the rest. Enter Captain Harlock and the crew of the Arcadia, the fatalistic last hope of humanity, in business for themselves.
First I want to point out that this trailer is in fact boss, and at this point I expect nothing less from the Japanese. I would also like to direct your attention not only to the fact that the original Harlock was produced by Toei Animation during the “golden years” of anime (1970 to c. 1995, which means all of the fundamentals — plot, character development, the actual animation process etc.– are strong,) but that it’s Toei Animation, the same people who brought you, among other things, Galaxy Express 999, Voltron, Sailor Moon and … “Space Battleship Yamato” (Tada!) so you KNOW it has to be good. If my ears are good, I believe the English voice actor for Harlock is Steven Jay Blum, also known as (for those who don’t already know) the voice of Spike Spiegel from “Cowboy Bebop.” INSTANT credibility since he voiced Harlock previously in “Gun Frontier.”
On the other side of it, this movie is CG rather than live action or traditional cel shaded. Normally, this wouldn’t matter, but the last Japanese CG movie I saw was “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” and that was TERRIBLE. It’s also worth noting that I’ve not actually seen the anime yet, so I’m not sure how faithful the movie will be, but if the lack of vegetable women in the trailer is any indication, we’ll have problems later. The only other issue I have, and perhaps the biggest one, is that I think the pirate theme is taken a bit too far. I expected the Jolly Roger, the eyepatch, the vessel itself, hell even a parrot, but since when do pirate ships have the skull and crossbones for the bow of the ship itself? Robots and flights of fancy aside, how are you just going to board a ship in deep space with a grappling hook? It makes no sense, and it may not need to, its just an illustration of the overextended metaphor
All in all, if “Harlock” matches up well with “Yamato” then this will be the No. 2 geek/nerd movie to see when it drops in 2011 (maybe 2012). Until then, I’m waiting and seeing, but thus far, I’m pretty optimistic that this will be high quality.
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