Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: MSRP:
  • Running time: 147
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III

By Dani Moure     June 08, 2006
Release Date: August 22, 2005


Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III
© Beez


What They Say
The One Year War enters the final stages. The constant fighting has weakened both sides considerably and the Zeon forces begin taking desperate measures. Amidst a break in the fighting, Amuro meets a mysterious girl named Lalah, to whom he is strongly drawn. There is a connection there, a feeling that is beyond words to express. She is like him, and they are both something more than human. It's Federation vs. Zeon, brother against sister, Newtype against Newtype. The Federation is weakened! The Zeons are in turmoil! The final battle will determine the outcome of the war!

The Review!
The final chapter in the saga that started it all arrives with action, adventure and some interesting story developments...

Audio:
The Japanese track has been remixed for this release (as it was for the original Japanese DVD release), and as such it contains some slight changes in sound effects and the like. For someone like me who has never seen the original series though, you wouldn't notice, and it contains some classic sounding effects when it comes to laser blasts and such. The 5.1 track has some good directionality about it and makes good use of the channels, particularly for the various sound effects to really envelop you as you watch.

Video:
Much like the audio, the video for the movies was completely remastered and restored for the DVD release, and it shows. For a show that debuted in 1979, the video is crisp and clear, with no aliasing, cross colouration or other artifacting that I noticed during playback. It really does look good, and the only downer is the jitter inherent from the film splicing of older movies.

The English subtitles are white, in a clearly readable font, and I didn't notice any errors.

Packaging:
The front cover features Amuro in his spacesuit in the foreground, with a montage group shot of all the other key Federation characters in the background, set on the backdrop of space. This cover has a blue theme, with the logo at the bottom of the cover along with company and rating logos. The back cover features a description of the movie, some screenshots and the usual credit list. Additionally Beez add their very welcome information box to clearly show the disc's technical specs.

Menu:
The menu system is pretty simple. After selecting your language on an initial screen, a short animation begins before the main menu loop kicks in. The main screen has Amuro on the right hand side, the logo in the bottom left and a central computer-style screen in the middle showing clips from the films. Selections are along the top part of the screen. Sub-menus are all static, playing different parts of music from the film and with images of the Gundam at the sides. While they're not spectacular they're nicely themed to fit the Gundam style display, and are really easy to use with quick access times.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final part of the trilogy is probably the strongest in many respects, delivering on its promise of an all out action packed finale as the crew of White Base return to space to sort things out, but its not without its flaws. As enjoyable as it is, more so than the other two movies, at times it feels like part of a larger story that we're not getting the whole part of. It's strange since this movie actually has the most amount of original footage of all three, presumably to make it as seamless as possible, but it doesn't quite work out as it could have.

Still, the story comes to the expected epic conclusion, as the White Base returns to space. With the Federation forces deciding to use the White Base as something of a decoy while they prepare for their final assault on the Zeon forces, the crew heads to Side 6, a neutral colony, to prepare themselves for what is to come. It's here that Amuro is reunited with his father for the first time since the war begun, but he is now even more obsessed with the Gundam than ever. Amuro is immediately disillusioned with him, as he shows more interest in a new invention for the Gundam than seeing his own son again, and Amuro ends up running off alone.

In the pouring rain, he happens across a house where he meets a girl called Lalah for the first time. Though she comes off as somewhat mysterious, she is another Newtype, and the most awakened we have yet seen, but unbeknownst to Amuro she is actually working for the Zeon military and has an interesting relationship with Char. Their encounter sees the pair form an immediate bond, and their fates are somewhat intertwined from that moment. Later, as Amuro is driving his car gets stuck, and he is helped out by Char, who is taking Lalah back to his ship. Their face to face encounter is but a prelude of what's top come.

Meanwhile the Federation continues to move and begins to strike on the Zeon military bases, starting with Solomon and their eventual goal being A Boa A Qu, with some tremendous space battles and political machinations abound.

While it does have its problems, this is probably my favourite of the three Gundam movies. The story really begins to heat up and many of the things that are built up in the first two movies come to pay off here. It's not perfect, though, and one of my biggest problems with the film actually comes from two parts of the story. The first is the sudden encounter with Lalah, and the huge impact she has on the film and especially Char and Amuro. Though she is used extremely well to help waken Amuro's abilities and make him realise things he wouldn't already have, such as how much the pain is exemplified when a Newtype watches someone die, because of the structure of the films she feels like a bit of a plot device. It's a minor niggle since really it makes no difference whether she appears at the end of Movie II or the beginning of this one, but since she does appear so near the beginning it feels a bit strange.

The second problem I have with this film, though on a smaller scale, is the political machinations within the Duchy of Zeon. There are a lot of politics on display here, with the different family members jostling for position, but there were a few times when I felt that I was missing a key scene that might've explained things a bit better. It could be that no such scenes even existed in the TV series, but a little bit more background on the families within the Duchy wouldn't have gone amiss.

On the whole though, the story is extremely enjoyable and it builds really well throughout from the landing on Side 6 to the final battle and the realisations that come with it. On the flip side of the coin, as well as a good story the characterisation is at its strongest here. With the help of Lalah, we really get to see inside Amuro and Char and learn what they're thinking and why they're doing what they are. With Char this is particularly important, as his relationship with Lalah shows him an entirely different side to what we've seen before, and she helps him realise what he's truly fighting for as well.

Amuro has suffered quite a lot throughout these movies, and this one is no different. The scenes with his father work perfectly since they demonstrate the effects war can have on people as well as providing Amuro with a bit of emotional turmoil. He then has to see Lalah succumb to her fate, but ends up fighting to protect those he cares about and sets out to find the true face of the enemy. There's no doubt that even within these three movies, Amuro has grown a lot, becoming more battle-hardened but also far wiser than the child that originally set off in the Gundam.

A couple of other characters get their chance to shine as well. Sayla gets some nice resolution with Char and things play out well in that respect, though the focus is always on him and Amuro. Mirai is another who gets to show what she's made of, when she encounters her ex fiancée on Side 6. The ensuing subplot shows what a strong character she is. In fact all of the characters are surprisingly strong in various ways, especially the women who often out-do the men in terms of intelligence and character. Though obviously there's not that much fleshing out of some of the crew (Frau Bow is easily the most side-lined of the potential players), as you'd expect the more intimate character scenes to be snipped from the series to be some of the first not included in this compilation.

In Summary:
Despite some flaws, Gundam Movie III is a hugely entertaining, enjoyable and epic movie trilogy. If you're a fan of the genre and you haven't seen these films, then you simply must track them down. The original Gundam franchise did wonders for the Japanese market and is considered to be one of the most influential anime series of all time, and rightfully so. These films aren't just great films in their own right, they are a piece of history and unless you're completely anti-giant robots, you simply must buy this film and the two that come before it.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0 & 5.1),English Subtitles,French Subtitles, German Subtitles, Polish Subtitles

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.

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