Quick Hit: A familiar science fiction story that features great animation.
Hello! For those of you new to the site, thanks for joining! I’m slowly watching through some anime recommendations (in addition to the other films we cover) from my friend Enoch as I attempt to increase the diversity of our site. Today’s film is Captain Harlock: Space Pirate.
To date, the most recent anime films that I’ve covered have been the more traditional animation style. Here, the animation team chooses to forego this traditional style in the adaptation of this classic manga story in order to give us a hyper realized animation. This 3D generation, which has become much more popular in video games as our computers have the ability to keep up with our eyes, is one of the true standouts of the film. Though there are a few moments where you get the traditional computer stretch (at one point, Yama/Logan’s hand seems to be about three feet long), most of the film is flawless in its execution. This especially comes forward in some of the action scenes, which I’ll touch on in a bit.
The story itself is terribly familiar, and is one of the things I was most disappointed in after watching this movie. We’re talking about a movie where the title character is a freaking space pirate, who wears an eye patch and has a majestic cape, and instead we choose to focus on the internal struggles of someone else (Yama/Logan). While I understand why the framed it that way, it means the story gets split and some of Harlock’s influence is robbed. I also don’t think Yama/Logan is very interesting. Sure he has the guilt that the story puts on him… but I also don’t really understand his reasoning for even making the mistake he did. Because he’s dumb? Not sure if that’s a good enough reason for me.
The one good thing that springs out of this is it holds us off on seeing Harlock be the BA that he is until quite a bit into the movie. When he finally springs into action, it’s exciting to the point of when Neo finally enters the Matrix as The One. All the action in this film is really good, but Harlock’s scenes are by far the best. I’d also like to reference his ship, the Arcadia. IT’S FREAKING AWESOME. Sure, it’s got almost every cliché you could have, but it’s one of the best example of merging SPACE and PIRATE that I could think of. Combine it with the fact that it’s about as immortal as Harlock, and you’ve got one of the best ships out there. The highlight of the movie visually is the ship continually ramming into the other spaceships. There are tons of moving parts to the Arcadia, and none of them let us down.
The characterization of the characters is a bit subpar, especially when it comes to the villains. The crew members, outside of “techy guy who is fat (Yullian/Yattaran)” and “hot anime girl (Kei – who even gets a completely superfluous zero-g shower scene) are practically non-existent. Having a giant board of old men politicians is REALLY overdone, and I think it would have been better to go the route of Serenity and just focus on one and nearly leave them out of it. It also dilutes the power of Ezra, who should be the real bad guy here.
But overall, I thought that this was pretty entertaining. Is it the best movie I’ve seen? Absolutely not – it has its issues. However, it will solidly entertain you if you are a fan of the genre. I’m giving it a “B-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"