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G-SAVIOUR: THE MOVIE (A J!-ENT DVD Review)

June 18, 2008 by  



“A Gundam film that combines live-action and CGI to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’. Outside of the use of the mecha’s towards the end of the film, the film is more ‘catch me if you can’ . Take it for what it is, a sci-fi film…nothing more, nothing less.”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: G-SAVIOUR THE MOVIE

DURATION: Approx. 95 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / English and Japanese audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track

CATALOG #: ISBN-1-58354-853X

COMPANY: Bandai Entertainment

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

STAFF INFORMATION:

DIRECTOR: Graeme Campbell

STORY BY: Stephani Pena-Sy

TELEPLAY BY: Mark Amato, Stephani Pena-Sy

ART DIRECTOR: Sakamoto Nobuhito

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Anthony Scala, Philip David Segal

PRODUCED BY: Chris Dobbs

DIRECTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Joel J. Ransom

CAST: Brendan Elliott, Enuka Okuma, David Lobgren, Blu Mankuma, Catarina Conti, Henneth Welsh

Universal Century 223. The Earth Federation has collapsed; now the Earth is ruled by the Congress of Settlement Nations (CONSENT). But a group of rebels, with the reluctant aid of former CONSENT officer Mark Curran, discover a secret that could change the future of mankind forever!

But CONSENT doesn’t want this secret to get out, and they will go to any lengths – including starting a war-to stop it. Their only hope is a new weapon…the G-Saviour!

With my goal to watch everything related to Mobile Suit Gundam and the Universal Century on DVD for 2008, I realized that there was a film released in 2000 (DVD released in 2002) to celebrate the Gundam 20th Anniversary.

In a collaboration with Sunrise, Inc. and Polestar Television, “G-SAVIOUR THE MOVIE” was released.

With a budget of nearly $9 million, the film would combine live action with CGI with the majority of the film in live action.

The film would take place in the Universal Century 223, way past the storyline of the anime series and there is no mention of Gundam in this film.

If anything, this film could be seen as one of those films you would catch on the Sci-Fi channel and realize that it has mecha and kick back and enjoy it.

I know this film is not accepted by Gundam fans, not accepted by Gundam co-creator Tomino Yoshiyuki but being the sci-fi fan that I am, I wanted to give this film the benefit of the doubt.

The film revolves around CONSENT (Congress of Settlement Nations) officer Mark Curran and one night, his ship was infiltrated by some unknown group who are looking for some type of lab samples. A gun fight ensues and CONSENT military led by Lt. Colonel Jack Halle (Curran’s rival) ends up killing some of the people of this group.

Mark Curran then does his investigation and through interrogation, realizes that this group were actually scientists who were after something in the lab that would lead to the benefit of mankind.

Of course, Curran, being the optimist agrees to help the scientist, Cynthia Graves which automatically puts him in odds against CONSENT and ends up helping the group of scientists and puts him on the wanted list of CONSENT and becomes a cat and mouse film with the military trying to capture Curran and the rebel scientists.

As for how it relates to anything Gundam. Aside from the date which is “Universal Century 229”, there is a mobile suit that the opposition to CONSENT has in its disposal called “G-Saviour”. Also, the mention of colonies such as “Side-x” were used in the film but no mention of Gundam at all.

I suppose back in 2000, the CGI for the mechas were top notch but the majority of the film doesn’t feature too much CGI and I guess that would be a positive thing now because of CGI advances since then.

As for the voice acting, compared to the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to the first season of the modern “Battlestar Galactica” and even Sci-Fi channel films, “G-Saviour” is not a horribly acted film.

Actually, Brennan Elliott does a good job playing CONSENT officer Mark Curran and rival/enemy Lt. Col. Jack Halle plays a good bad guy. The others in the film were not bad as well. I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi films and by no means is this film terribly acted or the worse one ever created.

The DVD also features a dubbed Japanese track and even though you have talent like Shinohara Ryoko playing the voice of Graves, as much as I enjoy watching Japanese anime with English subtitles, I didn’t want to watch an English film dubbed in Japanese with English subtitles.

So, with that being said, I was not disappointed with this film at all. Was it wonderful? No. But it wasn’t terrible either.

I had some problems with the pacing of the film. How Curran and Graves start to fall for each other… it just seemed a bit rushed. Also, when I see someone being shot multiple times, I would expect that person to not live through that. But who knows, maybe weapons were set at stun or something.

Another was how Curran became the main pilot of the G-Saviour. A former military officer/friend of Curran says of the G-Saviour, “this was built for you”. It was one of those “rolling my eyes” moments in the film and next thing you know, Curran becomes a pro in piloting the G-Saviour and ready to take on colliding objects, space junk, etc. with no practical experience with G-Saviour. Sure, he’s piloted many mobile suites and aircraft but for him to master G-Saviour so quickly… that’s a big stretch.

The CGI didn’t bug me all that much, since its a bit dated and the battle between G-Saviour and other mobile suits were cool to watch. Facial expressions/emotions after a battle were sometimes cheesy but all in all, the balance between CGI and real life actors worked well.

Personally, with the storyline taking place nearly 250 years later after the original “Mobile Suit Gundam” series, personally I didn’t think too much after I watched it of how it affects the Gundam universe. If anything, I was more concerned about the Earth Federation collapsing and the emergence of CONSENT. But it would be interesting if Sunrise would create another anime series that did take place in this timeline.

As for special features, there was like CGI and artwork from and for the film. Even the special feature was a let down because there were less than ten images.

It would have been nice to watch a featurette with interviews with the cast or even behind-the-scenes filming. After all, this is the celebration of Gundam’s 20th Anniversary at that time. So, you would have expected to see something in relation to that. Maybe even the Japanese premiere.

A lot of people made their judgment to not see this film and some who have seen it enjoyed it or disliked it.

For me, I found it as essential to have in my collection because I’m watching and owning everything “Universal Century” related in the Gundam universe.

I didn’t dislike the film, I enjoyed it and for me, it was like catching a sci-fi movie special and that was it.

As for the DVD is concerned, for a 20th Anniversary Project celebrating Gundam, you would have expected more on this DVD and that is where this DVD fails in that there are hardly anything in regards to Gundam or even this film in terms of featurettes, interviews or anything else except CG and hand drawn artwork. And surprisingly, there is not much there for that either.

Fortunately, you can find this DVD around $5 online.

+ Interesting use of live action and CG

+ A good sci-fi film that wasn’t that bad

+ Not a true Gundam film but more of a film that takes places over 200 years after the original MS Gundam storylines in the Universal Century.

– Uneven pacing and would probably be more interesting as a series because it seems that character development went too quickly for some situations

– More like a Sci-Fi mecha film of the day than a Gundam-related film

– For a 20th Anniversary DVD to celebrate Gundam, the DVD is barebone

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