— Joe Hatfield is a 48-year-old geek who has been around enough to know that Anime didn’t start with Robotech.
Having watched (and enjoyed) the live action Space Battleship Yamato movie, I found myself looking forward to the recently released CGI Captain Harlock movie. Knowing that some liberties were taken regarding plot and characters for Yamato, I prepared myself to see similar differences in Harlock.
Apparently, I did not prepare myself enough.
The CGI Captain Harlock movie was a gross disappointment from start to finish. There were so many differences in the look, feel, characters and ships of the universe from the original Leiji Matsumoto designs, it’s a wonder they were even allowed to label it as Captain Harlock.
So let’s say I put aside my disappointment on just how little this movie resembled anything that was even remotely Harlock and look at it as a generic sci-fi adventure flick. Well, quite simply, it sucked. The “plot” (and I use the term very loosely) made no appreciable sense and the entire movie seemed to be nothing more than a “revenge” story, which could have been wrapped up nicely in a 30 minute episode as opposed to a dragged out movie. This film seemed to have been written by M. Night Shyamalan and directed by Michael Bay. All it was missing was a performance by Nicholas Cage.
The plot of this movie was about Harlock’s 100-year mission to prove to the humans scattered across the universe that the Earth government was involved in a huge conspiracy to convince humans that the Earth was a paradise (after a great war) but that humans weren’t allowed to return to the planet to save it from the disasters of over population. In truth, the Earth was just a huge wasteland barely able to support the life of a flower, drawing some parallels to (the much superior movie) Wall-E.
Two things about all of this strike me right away. The first is, one would think that the opposite cover-up would make more sense, trying to convince humans that the Earth was a wasteland when it was in fact a paradise so that the political elite could live there while the rest of humanity squandered in filth across the cosmos. The second was Harlock’s 100 year campaign. That’s right – it seems our beloved space pirate was virtually immortal, a benefit of the power source that fueled (and healed) his own ship, the Arcadia.
Again this really irked me. Captain Harlock was always about the human condition. He was 100% human with all our faults and well as valor. Making him immortal for this movie was a slap in the face to all of the character’s fans who knew what his philosophy was in Arcadia Of My Youth, Galaxy Express and his own series.
Taking another look at the lead character, Captain Harlock really wasn’t very important in this film. He was not the main character. He was treated more like a prop, like the Arcadia, than a character whose decisions moved the story along.
When I watched Yamato I was riveted. I thought the movie could have been longer to add more plot, more character development and way more space battles to remind me of epic scenes from the series. The Captain Harlock movie simply dragged along and I could not wait for it to either start getting good or just end.
If you want to watch a good Captain Harlock movie, go back in time and check out Arcadia Of My Youth, because this new CGI release is just a waste of time and brain cells.
“I shall not fight under any other flag!”
– Captain Harlock