Gundam 00 Movie:
Awakening of the Trailblazer
Spoilers Under Tags Below
Non-spoiler review HERE.
Now, the point of this review is not to spoil the plot. It is to write in detail about various things of interest to the Gundam community, especially details which are not explained within the four corners of the movie itself.
But, no discussion of these things without spoiler tags. So, let’s dive into the spoiler space, minna-san!
Ahhh, the water’s great. Ah, yes, where was I.
Last warning: Anyone reading past this is expected to be already spoiled or doesn’t care. In my case, I have an acquaintance who is a die-hard Gundam 00 fan who was at great pains to shut up about this, so I didn’t even try. Now that I’ve finally seen the movie for myself, I feel safe in diving into some of what he babbled about. ^^
OK, let’s get down to business.
No, Setsuna Does Not Land Any Tail
People are asking, so let me be blunt: no. He does not. He’s too dense.
I really don’t know what’s in this director’s head, but somehow, even the obligatory inclusion of emotional content for the ladies is something he seems to take personal joy in short-circuiting. Like, his movie and his main character are too holy to be tainted by little things like, oh, love. It’s too big for that. Um, all right…
Seriously, the closest anyone gets is Feldt, back in her role of moral support, unrequited feelings and a complete waste of a promising character. I have a good friend who really likes her. Well, what does she do in this movie? 1) She holds Setsuna’s hand. 2) She cries while he’s in a coma.
No. Seriously. That’s it.
The Visuals Are Indeed Nice
I wouldn’t rate this movie, or the underlying show, as bastions of great writing, but that’s me. I won’t deny that the pretty animation will make people really pleased. Blu-Ray lovers are in for a treat when the time comes.
No, there’s nothing to criticize about the visual quality. I don’t expend many words on it because when you’re at the pinnacle, what’s left to say. Besides, pretty doesn’t mean inspired… but hey. This is a show about nano-Borg that form nano-mobile suits to compete with the real thing. You know what you’re getting.
Ah Yes, The Borg of Gundam…
Right. Speaking of the Borg, that’s basically what we’re getting, except this isn’t a matter of a) humanoids, b) malevolence. It’s more that from the other side’s perspective, we’re the bugs. As in, insects not presumed to be intelligent life.
Also supposedly, well, one movie-only character with extremely militaristic tendencies gets assimilated by the B… er, the ELS, and they’re like… “Holy s—! This is what humans are like?! It’s time to call the Orkin bots!!”
…All a perfectly reasonable misunderstanding, of course?
Gundam 00, Super Robot Show
It’s not “explained” until this early “movie” sequence is done, but anyone who’s watched anime is going to suspect very soon that this sequence being shown is not the real show because we have the four Gundam pilots in battle against a nemesis from way back at the end of Season 1 in a very “Super Robot” type of movie-inside-a-movie.
We know that this cannot possibly be the real movie because the real characters talk more and are much more pretentious as writer mouthpieces.
Tieria, I Knew Him So Well…
So Tieria ends up self-destructing his Gundam and stays dead about as long as Kenny in the old South Park. That’s because his consciousness has merged with the show’s super-duper-computer Veda, so bodies are just a flesh and blood terminal; he can use the quantum particle type just fine.
So, when Mileina tells Tieria that she will love him no matter what form he is in (you may gag now), that’s the context.
Sheesh. Get a private server, kids!
Rigged To Blow
Oh yeah, while I’ll save the technical details for another post, Velocity_7 tells me that in spite of the original plan to rig Tieria’s machine with well, GN engines of both types used in Gundam (let’s call them the green particle one and the red particle one), it was changed to three “Tau” engines (the red ones) as a creative decision. The box art for the High Grade model still shows the green stuff, even. The original design would’ve seemed obviously rigged to go boom for technical reasons; making them all Tau types makes the self-destruct thing a little easier to explain as uh… something less contrived.
Except it is contrived. A lot.
But oh well…
Setsuna’s Second Brain
It has been stated by movie personnel, in all seriousness, that Setsuna recovers from his mid-movie coma from exposure to the Borg Colle…. err, the ELS’ thought waves, through a collection of GN particles forming a second brain that functions as a back-up for the overloaded, damaged biological brain.
While this makes sense in a pure science-fiction sense, let me be clear about this: I consider this some of the biggest bullshit pulled on science-fiction fans in a long time. I mean, not in terms of this making sense within the context but, rather, that writers dare write this, justify it, and well, they don’t even say it in the movie. It’s just treated as plot armor, and frankly, plot armor would be easier and more sensible to believe, but I digress…
At Peace With Split Personalities
By the end of the movie, Allelujah is switching between his personalities without even a micro-second’s hesitation. He’s truly accepted himselves, hasn’t he?
What horrible grammar that makes, but how else can I write it?…
The Whole “Trailblazer” Thing
It becomes cliche by the end of the movie, but a trailblazer… eh, just imagine Setsuna with a very large machete, chopping a path towards the future. Chop, chop, chop.
That’s basically how it is.
I know, I know, the movie prefers cutting, but the machete works. When all you have is a big blade, everything looks like a bush.
Well, not that it’s really how the movie ends…
Huggles and Kisses
So after that giant orgy of mecha violence, we have to remind everyone that violence never solves anything, with communication and understanding being the only way for humanity to survive since, well, we’re not badass enough to get by any other way.
The show’s ending quote is from Einstein. I paraphrase, Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be kept through understanding. If not the exact quote it’s close enough.
WWII America might beg to differ. Force worked pretty well on Nazi Germany and the Imperial Japanese Army and so forth. But we don’t want to dwell on that.
I Am Gundam
This refers to after-the-credits stuff.
So after fifty bleeping years, Setsuna finally shows up in front of Marina, who is now an old woman and blind, and they share a little hug while affirming that the other was completely right, that they were both on the same page and it is not through force, but through mutual understanding (I guess they think the English “understanding” carries the “mutual” part inherently) that conflicts are solved.
By this time, Setsuna has merged with ELS in his own body so that he is this monk god, looking like he’s metal and flesh together and, well, he glows like an angel, which Marina can’t see, but the point is that she doesn’t need to, I guess. This is supposed to be a moving moment. I guess. Supposed to be.
So, my view of it is, now Setsuna really is a Gundam…
Setsuna as Space Jesus
Now, look, I knew it was coming, and Setsuna doesn’t annoy me anywhere near as much as Kira Yamato of Gundam SEED fame did, but the director basically turned him into a Space Jesus, an immortal virgin who communes with nanomachine life forms rather than commune with girls of his own species.
Somehow, someone out there thinks this makes him purer and more noble. OK, uh, whatever.
I don’t need my movie heroes to be monks, but that’s how it is.
And Now, The Review
So for people who didn’t want to go through all those details, here’s my simple, spoiler-enhanced short version of a review. But, it too will be under spoilers. See the non-spoiler review for er, a non-spoiler review.
The visuals are top notch on all technicals.
The audio is top notch on all technicals.
The plot is… well, what you’d expect. It’s a monster movie/ save-the-world movie with an “uplifting” sci-fi ending. In other words, well, what you’d expect. Originality and shock value was never this franchise’s strength.
The dialog is pretentious but we should’ve all known that going in.
The characters are… the characters. Some teens became more adult physically, but no one really advanced mentally at all since the 2nd season. Just how it is…
A stunning, spectacular… B-movie. Not likely to enlighten your soul, but it will be a feast for the eyes.
That’s plenty for a lot of people, and I’m cool with that.
And that’s all for now. Comments welcome. Anyone reading this post has been repeatedly warned, so don’t bother worrying about spoilers in the comments.
Thanks. – J