Mania Grade: B
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- 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: 101
- 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 3: Love is the Pulse of the Stars
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie 3: Love is the Pulse of the Stars DVD Review
By Chris Beveridge
August 24, 2010
Release Date: July 06, 2010
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie 3
© Bandai Entertainment
All out war consumes the Gundam Zeta-verse as all sides come to a final conflict.
What They Say
Universal Century 0087, Char Aznable has now become the leader of the AEUG. Scirocco, the man from Jupiter, schemes to seize control of the Titans. And Haman, the Axis leader, is attempting to restore the Zabi family. Through politics and strategy, these three powers struggle for dominion over the Earth Sphere. The war builds to a deadly endgame around the space colony Gryps 2, which has been converted into a giant laser cannon. What destiny awaits Kamille at the end of the conflict?
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.
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.
The cover art for the final installment of the trilogy uses the theatrical poster which definitely comes across as a bit odd. The main image here is of Kamille as he floats in space, sans helmet on head since it’s supposed to be of him inside a ship, but upside down and a little sideways. It makes sense in the whole everything is relative in space kind of thing, but as a piece of artwork here it just has you looking at it a little odd. The backguornd is a nice space-scape with the Earth rolling up along the bottom and it does the unusual thing of mixing in a blood red background for part of the stars itself. His Zeta is used as well behind him which gives us a bit of mecha and there’s an inclusion of someone else in a spacesuit slowly making their way towards everything in the foreground.. All of it has a very clean 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 black which looks much better than the first and about as good as the second. The mobile suit makes an appearance on the right 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.
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.
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)
After the chaotic second volume of the trilogy which dealt with the romantic side of the series a bit amidst all the action, the third installment deals with the end results of a lot of it and a whole lot of destruction. Similar to the previous movie, the majority of this feature is new animation with about a quarter of it being original material from the TV series. This aspect of it is still rather jarring at times, but there are also some amusing moments where you aren't show about the transition between the two as some of the older material really looks pretty good at times. With this feature taking a good chunk of material from the end run of the TV series, it's a very different beast than the first two features and it's one that you're going into for just the payoff.
The significant change in the previous movie was the approach made by the AEUG towards the remnants of Zeon that are living on the fringes. The Axis group is something that Char is intimately familiar with and his return to the Zeon roots is problematic at best since there are issues there with those that knew him from before and how he seems to have deserted them in a sense. Seeing these remnants, who are under the command of a young girl that Char used to play with, feel as though they have been lost to time in a way. With the way the war has gone in the present, the uniforms and the feel of it all almost feels dusty and out of place. Yet under the guidance of Haman Karn, who has taken on the role of leading everyone in the child's name since she can do only so many, they are attempting to make a play for relevancy here. With both the Titans, via Scirocco, and the AEUG via Char trying to gain either their assistance of neutrality, Karn sees both of them as a means to an end to regaining a Side and rebuilding Zeon in some new form.
While Karn is playing the sides against each other for the gain of the Axis, she's not the only one. Scirocco has been manipulating things as he can since he was introduced as he seemingly has no strong alliance to any particular side other than his own outcome. He seems to be going rogue at times but then has a tentative agreement with the Titans to work with them against the AEUG. His self interest is evident to some, but others are so enamored with him in different ways and can't see this. Sarah's attraction to him is multilayered and she can't see the truth about what he's like. What's confusing is Reccoa who ends up stranded and takes on a position under Scirocco, essentially joining his side. Similar to him, she has no real ideology and is just interested in whatever it is that can make her feel alive. She lost something in the One Year War and has been disconnected ever since. Nobody else can seem to understand why she's done this and now fights against them. And while it makes sense in a dry, abstract sense, Reccoa has always been an enigma to me in her portrayal, which says more about Tomino's inability to write decent female characters.
While there are character issues to be had here, and there are good ones that happen for those such as Char and Emma and the like, the majority of the film revolves around the action. The three sides are all aligning in different ways to gear up for a final battle and the need to have the Axis is imperative. Past histories are still important here though and everything eventually goes back to something familiar with the Titans base at Gryps and the Gate becoming the focus. The Axis forces have their own grudge to deal with, and Karn takes it to a personal level that seems foolish, and the real threat seems to vary between both Scirocco and Bask with the Titans. There's an epic battle that occurs here and the intensity of it is strong as lead characters fall along the way and death is very much a reality in the Zeta Gundam universe.
With the way so much of this feature is about the action, it's technically the easiest to get into. It's not trying to cram a ton of character material into the a small amount of space and a lot of what it does do is deal with the quick deaths, the brutality of it and the simple reality of how fast it can happen in a war, never mind one in space. The mecha battles are really nicely done and well animated and I once again really like the way it brings the evolutionary angle into it with the NewTypes as those who have died try to play a role at a key moment here, much like what happened between Char and Amuro in the first series. That kind of familiar replay isn't bad, and it does fit, but it's another aspect of Tomino's works that always gets to me a little since it shows that he falls back to things he knows works too easily. I had hoped that Zeta would try to go a little further in its resolution.
The final part of the trilogy is in a way my favorite of the three as it asks the least of the viewer. It deals with the compression of material the best since it's not trying to introduce a lot of characters or complicated plotlines. It just wants to get right into the action, show a little intrigue and deal with the epic nature of what's going on with the weapons involved. The visual side of the feature is the strong suit of it all and I do wish they did the whole thing completely new rather than utilize some of the original footage. These classic designs update well to modern animation techniques and it practically begs for a new feature length film in this style in the Universal Century. Unlike the original trilogy of movies that ended up becoming superior to the TV series, the same is not true here. The compression simply does not work as well, but it is a great visual treat for fans of Zeta to see it reworked in this form.
Japanese 2.0 Language, Japanese 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Trailers
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.