The Destiny Plan is about to be set in motion to save the human race from certain extinction.
What They Say
Having defeated Logos and the Earth Alliance, the triumphant Chairman Durandal now reveals his ultimate plan for humanity. The world reacts with confusion and horror to the details of the Destiny Plan, but Durandal has come too far to let anyone stand in the way of his dream of eternal peace and happiness. Using the weapons of his fallen enemies, the Chairman demonstrates that he will stop at nothing to create his new world.
The Archangel and its allies are now humanity's last hope to prevent Durandal from carrying out his plans. Once again, a fierce battle begins around the Requiem cannon and its relay stations, and the Gundam pilots meet in a final confrontation over the lunar surface. Shinn against Athrun, Kira against Rey, Archangel against Minerva... in the end, there can be only one victor.
The bilingual presentation for this film is essentially the same as the TV series in that we get a pair of 256kbps stereo mixes that convey the show well but without a huge amount of impact to it. The series has a grand and sweeping feeling when it comes to the music and that’s done well but dialogue is for the most part something of a center channel affair outside of some notable scenes. This isn’t a bad thing since it’s all very well done but at the same time it feels like it should be more. In listening to both language tracks, we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
The transfer for the movie versions of this TV series are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are enhanced for anamorphic playback, even though the original series aired in full screen. The Japanese have done this several times, and it’s not something I particularly care for as it changes the feel of many scenes, but it’s certainly better that it’s done under their direction rather than that of a US company altering it. The visual design of the show is much like what we saw with the full screen release in that it’s very bright, vibrant and colorful which has it practically oozing off the screen at times. There are moments of noise to be found in the background throughout the feature, but by and large this is a very clean and appealing looking show that takes the best of the series and puts it to good use. Outside of the very mild noise and a bit of aliasing during some panning sequences, there’s nothing to really complain about here at all.
The final cover for the series has Kira taking the stage as he stands there in his flight uniform with the Freedom in the background, both of which are set against really nice starscape with appealing colors. Though the flight suit makes him look a little too thin and wispy, the layout is solid and provides for both good character and mecha artwork. The back cover is somewhat traditional in design as it runs through the basic plot summary along the left while to the right we get more mecha artwork. Underneath is a breakdown of the discs features and extras along with a few small shots from the film itself. Add in the production credits and a decent breakdown of the technical specs and you get a good looking cover. No insert is included nor is there a reverse side cover.
Gundam has had some awkward menus over the years but this feature does things nicely as it has a fairly sci-fi feel to the silvery grey borders which has some artwork along the right with the navigation. The left and center areas features clips from the feature itself along with a brief bit of music looping to it all. The design is one that sets up the mood nicely and it’s easy to navigate. Access times are nice and fast and submenus load quickly and without issue. As seems to be the case, it’s hit or miss with Bandai as to whether player presets will be read and this one unfortunately did not as it defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.
The only extra included is a clean version of the extended ending sequence which is quite nicely done.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final movie, “The Price of Freedom,” plays out like just about any end segment of a Gundam series in that it’s filled with big and epic action sequences where the stakes are high. With the future of mankind in the balance and only Durandal having the vision needed to put it all in place, everyone is looking towards him, especially after a surprising destructive moment shakes the core of many people both on Earth and in the colonies. As it all races towards a conclusion, it has to tie up a fair number of loose ends as well as best as it can, at least with the primary characters.
The large scale feel of things is something that is definitely appealing in a show like this and the stakes being as high as they are certainly pushes that. With Durandal having set pretty much all of mankind against LOGOS, the fall of that organization across the world has had a dramatic effect. What’s become a problem however is that one of the last ones, the one that Durandal really wants, is hiding out in Orb and is using that to his advantage. Djribil has used Orb in order to make his escape and that’s caused quite a lot of anger and resentment at Orb, enough so that Durandal can actually massage public opinion in a way to ensure that he can obliterate the independent nation state off the map. When Djirbil is gone, the fighting does stop in the local area at least and that allows for some small closure with a few side stories. The best part of it is to see Yuna finally have his comeuppance, which is in the form of a mobile suit literally falling on him. Poetic indeed.
What happens from there is surprising even for Durandal as Djribil has set into motion his own plans for mass destruction. With no seeming goal beyond causing destruction and unrest, he’s used his influence and power to create a massive beam weapon on the moon that utilizes the abandoned colonies as a way to direct the beam. From the dark side of the moon, he’s able to literally attack just about anywhere, including the other side of the moon, and cause unheard of damage. His initial blow is a shock to mankind everywhere as he completely cuts through a colony like a hot knife through butter. Though it’s not a colony drop, it’s pretty impressive to watch the event unfold and the reaction of everyone to it. While Durandal is surprised, you can also see that he’s looking how to use this for his own gain.
Durandal’s ambitions are fascinating in their own right, though the creators went a little bit too far in at least one way. With the world behind him almost completely now, outside of Orb and the Kingdom of Scandinavia, he wants to set into motion his Destiny Plan by using his Messiah computers which will help determine the future of every man, woman and child through genetics. Through this plan, they’ll be able to know what every is ideal for and what their limits are, which in turn will cut down on those with too much ambition and other nefarious plans that cause conflict and strife. For Durandal, it’s the sum goal of his existence, but he’s introducing it at the wrong point in time, which is his first major error since ascending to the role of Chairman.
The other error, at least visually, is in the design of his command complex on board the floating fortress that appears out of nowhere. The animators literally ripped off the command section from the Death Star from Return of the Jedi, complete with the spinning chair. The allusions are far too obvious between the two and it really takes away from the scene because all you can see is the Star Wars references. Beyond that, the feature looks quite appealing with its design as we get the moon based beam cannon and the use of the abandoned colonies. It’s not exactly scientifically sound, but it makes for some really great impact here as the beam is thrown around the moon to attack various places. And it cuts deep and hard as well which only gives it all the more impact.
While the epic side is certainly there, there is also a lot of material covered with the characters and their issues. Unfortunately, a lot of it has a very superficial feel considering the scope of things, and one has to wonder how much was lost to the trimming made for the movie format. And as is expected of any good Gundam series, a lot of these resolutions and issues are dealt with by killing off people. Characters simply must die in these kinds of shows to give it any impact, and the death toll for the named characters is pretty good here. Some good confrontations happen as well, such as Lacus and Meer finally meeting up and Shinn and Rey having a very serious conversation about the future and who they really are.
I liked Gundam Seed when I first saw it but I never got into Destiny all that much for a number of reasons. Taking it in through the movies, I can see some potential for it but there’s also the feeling that it wasn’t able to capitalize on what it wanted to do and instead fell to some basic conventions. This final movie does have a number of really good epic moments and there’s a lot of payoff theatrical-wise with the visuals and the scale of it all, but like the other movies the characters are secondary to the events and that makes it hard to connect with anything. It’s a very pretty show visually and the mecha action is fun as is the way it feels so epic, but without that closer more personal connection to it, it doesn’t resonate as well. It does make me wonder if the TV series manages this better, but at the same time the movies sort of take the steam out of actually wanting to find out. If all you wanted was big mecha action, this is the route to go over the TV series itself. If you want more character material, the TV series is likely to be your best bet.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Extended Ending
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.