Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie 2: Lovers - Mania.com



DVD Review

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: 13 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie 2: Lovers

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie 2: Lovers DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     August 12, 2010
Release Date: July 06, 2010


Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie 2
© Bandai Entertainment

Nothing says being a bad guy like intending to drop a colony on a planet.

What They Say
Universal Century 0087, as the civil war between the AEUG and the Titans continues, Kamille meets a mysterious girl named Four. But his encounter with Four, one of the Titans - cyber-Newtypes, fills his heart with anguish. The grief-stricken Kamille fights his way back to space to find the new mobile suit Z Gundam waiting for him. Meanwhile Paptimus Scirocco, the man from Jupiter, has added his strength to that of the Titans. And a third power is finally making its move, in the form of the Zeon remnants of Axis...

The Review!

Audio:
The Zeta movies get a nice bump up in its audio presentation as we get a standard stereo mix encoded at 192kbps as well as a 5.1 mix encoded at 448kbps. The 5.1 mix doesn't add a ton of directionality but it makes good use of the bass to give the action scenes a lot more impact. The forward soundstage makes out better overall and there are some good uses of the rear speakers at times with footsteps and voices being thrown there when you least expect it. The stereo mix works well and has a good feel to it, but the 5.1 mix overall does a better job of presenting a more theatrical feeling to it, even if some of the sounds thrown to the rear don't feel like they really needed to be.
 
Video:
Originally in theaters in 2005, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Using footage from the 1985 series with a few new bits mixed in to tie it all together, the feature looks good overall though it's very limited by its source material. The old show has a lot of grain to it and it's very visible throughout, especially with the character animation in their faces as it stands out very prominently. This isn't a feature that's going to look good compared to other features out today, but it certainly works with the previous movie trilogy for the original series in terms of looking similar and providing continuity. The use of the original materials rather than re-animating it isn't a surprise but it means we do get a less than stellar looking show because of the grain. Nightjar did a good job encoding the disc with a very high bitrate throughout, but it's just hindered by the source material.
 
Packaging:
The cover art for this installment of the trilogy uses the theatrical poster which feels very different yet similar to the first. This one goes for the white background and outside of Kamille it’s filled with the women in his life, those that he’s close to and those that watch him from afar and participate in the war alongside him. With a bit of machinery mixed into the background with the cloud-like feeling, it’s a softer cover overall though none of the women smile and Fa is curiously absent from the grouping. All of it has a very clean and appealing look with a solid logo that has the full on name and the individual movie name as well. The back cover uses a fairly bland gray piece through the center that has windows along a portion of it where shots from the show are put in, though they're not terribly engaging as it's just character shots. The rest if the rest of the cover is done in shades of blue which looks much better than the first volume. The mobile suit makes an appearance on the left while the summary runs through the basics of what the feature is about. The discs features and extras are clearly listed along the lower half along with a breakdown of production credits and a clean technical grid that shows it as a monolingual release with subtitles. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reverse side cover.
 
Menu:
Nightjar manages to outdo a lot of Hollywood menus these days, never mind anime menus, so it's little surprise that the Zeta menus are pretty slick. Using a console design for a mobile suit interior, there's some nice bits of animation from the feature playing as well as a streaming starscape behind it that adds to the sense of motion. There's a few other little things moving here and there to give it more life alongside the upbeat and adrenaline building music. The navigation is kept simple along the bottom with standard items for a movie that you'd expect. Submenus load quickly and I was pleased to see that it defaults to the Japanese 5.1 mix over the 2.0 mix and that even with a monolingual release that it does set up the subtitles for you.
 
Extras:
The extras are pretty minimal here with just the teaser trailer and full Japanese trailer to promote the films original release.
 
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first installment of the Zeta Gundam movie trilogy, A New Translation, didn’t exactly wow me. While I adored the TV series, far more so than the original series and close to how I felt about the original trilogy of movies, this condensation of the series from fifty episodes to three ninety minute movies felt like it was lacking. It was the kind of condensation that dumps a lot of stuff and streamlines other but ends up feeling like it’s all about the action and non-stop movement. At times it felt like a ninety-minute car chase scene that doesn’t let up and that has very little appeal. This movie slows down a bit more at times but it still essentially throws a lot of things at the viewer that doesn’t help you connect with anyone.
 
The core of this movie is about setting up the pieces for the fight that’s building. The politics of humanity has fractured and the Titans are making a serious play to take control of everything through the use of force. Their manipulation of events and swaying the tide of public opinion has work in their favor and now they want to finish it all off by taking over control of the Earth Federation and all of the military. Which is pretty ambitious considering the Titans were essentially the offshoot of the Earth Federation military that dealt with certain issues. But people like Bask have used every tool at their disposal to make this happen and make that grab for power. Because of it, and the way the Titans come from so many walks of life, they take on the role of the bad guys but there’s an indefinable quality about them that makes them stand out.
 
With the Titans making their play, they have something interesting in the works as they basically intend, at least going by what various operatives have found out, to drop a colony on Earth where the majority of the politicians and the like are at. Such a plan will kill millions and the politicians won’t go into space once they learn of the plan since they fear space sickness over death. The plot doesn’t sit well with some in the Titans though and the Cyber-Newtype Sarah makes a move to head over to the AEUG where she’s interrogated by Quattro and Kamille to give over that information, though she doesn’t want to stay with them. She’s still very much tied to the Titans and believes in them overall because of her adoration for her commanding officer. The colony drop plan is pretty audacious and one that is pushing a lot of people in the Federation in a direction they don’t want to go.
 
The relationship side of the series is somewhat the other focus of it, which is why the film is aptly titled as Lovers. The lovers aspect was stilted enough in the original series because of the time in which it was made but it’s even worse here because of the shortened aspect. There’s a budding relationship when one of the created Newtypes from the Murasame lab shows up, a beautiful woman named Four who controls a massively powerful mobile suit platform weapon. She’s not experienced real life much and she falls in with Kamille easily who also finds that he can share with her incredibly easily. Other relationships are awkward as well, as Kamille still has some odd feelings for Fa yet it feels kind of silly when they’re together. And Henken has it really bad for Emma Sheen, enough so that he pulls a few favors in order to get her assigned to the Radish for the mission that they go off on.
 
In Summary:
The second Zeta film is all about the setup as it moves around a few different areas, introduces more charcters and builds up what will be happening with the Titans as they work to gain control of the Earth Federation. There’s a lot of battles, a lot of characters running around and the introduction at the end to the Axis, the true remnants of the Zeon who have been keeping to themselves. Zeta in its original form is one of my favorite Gundam stories but I don’t know how I feel about this other than it’s simply awkward at best. This film has, according to others, about seventy percent new footage compared to about thirty percent in the first movie. It’s even more jarring in this film since it goes back and forth and there seems to be no real rhyme or reason why they left certain scenes using the original TV footage. Why animate 70% of it new and leave 30% from the mid 80’s? When we get the new material, it’s great and I’d love to see it all done that way, but when it hits the original stuff, it’s so jarring that it takes me out of the scene. When it happens a few times within a few minutes, it’s at its worst. A New Translation continues to be a strange experiment that’s not working all that well.
 
Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, Japanese 5.1 Language, English subtitles, Trailers

Review Equipment

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.

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