Movie Review: Gatchaman

A nostalgic, sentai-ish, action movie is how I describe the live-action adaptation of Gatchaman. More popularly known in the Philippines as G-Force, the movie was released last October 2 through SM Cinemas (like Rurouni Kenshin and some other Japanese movies). Here, I try to review the different aspects of the movie.

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If you don’t want to know anything about the story before you watch the movie, then feel free to skip to the next section. As for the others, continue reading. For those who are old enough to remember (*cough* *cough*), Gatchaman is a task force of five individuals formed by the alliance called International Science Organization (ISO). Their aim is to protect the human race from the alien antagonists known as Galactors led by the mysterious masked man(?), Berg Katze. The members of the team are Ken – Leader and Team Tactician, George – marksman, Jun – electronics and bomb expert, Jinpei – the wiz kid hacker, and Ryu – the brawler and ship pilot. Actually, that’s all that I can remember about the synopsis of the original anime. The movie shares the same base plot. Other than this, the elements that add color to the story have something to do about their share of dark past, love interests,  family and friendship bonds, and… oh wait, I think that’s all they used XD. Generally, the progression was fast, which is good since there are only few boring moments. I have to admit, I agree with Kotaku’s review that the movie is full of cliches. With this, a lot of parts of the movie may seem predictable to you, depending on how much you watch action movies. However, I like the story angle on how Ken’s leadership was put to the test and on how he came with the realization on what a true leader is. There are also occasional funny moments brought by the antics of Jinpei and Ryu.

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I may sound biased, but Japanese actors and actresses are really good in acting. They have this way of expressing their characters in a moving and convincing way, and Gatchaman’s main casts are no different. They really captured the persona of their respective characters. While watching, it won’t take long before you realize what type of role this actor or actress is portraying. The most notable actress would be Eriko Hatsune.
[START OF SPOILER] She actually portrays two roles in the story, each with different personality. Her performance as Berg Katze stands out through her monologues and villainous acts. [END OF SPOILER]

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Since this is sort of a sci-fi type of story, special effects should play a vital role in the movie. I can say that it’s above average but not any grand as you will see in Hollywood movies. This is more like a sentai movie with a higher budget and more serious production. The costumes are well designed, especially the Gatchaman force. They dropped the bird-like design with something that looks more like an armor with agile-type build. No wonder it costs $ 40,000 each! The action sequences are impressive. The camera shots totally emulate the ones in the anime, including their flying formation. The first action sequence even introduced them one by one with a displayed profile, which you can typically see in most Japanese action series and movies. Nevertheless, it’s fun to watch. One thing to note for though, this first action scene may be the best one for the entire movie. I’m not saying that the rest of the action sequences are crappy. It’s just that, the first one was so spectacular you will expect something more for the latter part of the movies. The weapons used were loyal to its anime roots. Those who are familiar with the series will enjoy the montage of each member’s special skill. I was hoping there will be some sort of Henshin sequence, but I guess it’s not my lucky day. Spare my tokusatsu fanboy side XD. The rendition of the story is somewhat darker than the anime, so it felt like Nolan directed a sentai movie, and I like it.

All in all, fans of the series will enjoy the show while action movie enthusiasts may be satisfied most of the time and impressed at some point. Beyond the cliche, I think Gatchaman is a fun movie to watch and a good treat to all 90’s kids who are looking for a nostalgic treat. Oh, and don’t forget the after credits! (~^_^)~