Monday, 31 March 2014

Movie REVIEW: Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters

With Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger having just drawn to a close, it was only a natural that the annual Super Sentai vs. movie would accompany it. However with Kyoryuger being the third dinosaur themed Sentai, Toei decided to do something special for this year's. Fully titled Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters: The Great Dinosaur Battle! Farewell Our Eternal Friends, the movie brings back previous teams Zyuranger and Abaranger for an all-dinosaur themed rumble. But when this news broke, there was one question on most people's lips - where exactly did this leave the non-dino themed but part of the movie Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters?

The Earth is threatened by the giant space dinosaur Voldos, an entity powered by the hatred of the defeated Zyuranger and Abaranger foes Great Satan and Dezumozorlya. Wishing to harness the power of and then destroy the dinosaur Sentai, Voldos sends down more "Neo" versions of Griffozar and Geilton to capture the veteran Sentai. It isn't long before the Kyoryugers are the next to be targeted, and the Go-Busters come to aid them in their battle. However Voldos is not alone, and has not only allied himself with Deboss but also resurrected Enter and Escape to help carry out its plans. With the Kyoryugers under threat, they must learn about the true dino spirit while the Go-Busters race into action once again to save the dino Sentai before it's too late.

The Go-Busters are all alone for their roll call
Hey guys, we're in this film too! Don't forget us!

Despite the Go-Busters sounding like a bit of a third (fourth?) wheel, the plot sounds like it has all the makings for a really great movie. But unfortunately, the film doesn't really know exactly what is wants to be resulting in a product that falls together in quite a few different areas. And the best way to look at it is to divide Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters into a number of different areas - the Go-Busters side of things, the Kyoryugers, the dino Sentai crossover and finally any outstanding things.

So we begin with the odd Sentai out in the pack - the Go-Busters. Like all vs. movies this acts as a epilogue to the preceding Sentai, taking place after the defeat of the Vargas, Jin's death and the Go-Busters returning to normal lives.We find that they are still active as Go-Busters, and seem quite aware of the events going on around them. Not only are they fully aware of the Deboss threat, but thanks to Go-Busters vs. Gokaiger know all about the Kyoryugers and the previous dino Sentai. In fact, Hiromu even specifically refers to the Kyoryuger debut appearance in the movie!

Even though they aren't dinosaur themed, the Go-Busters still have a fairly prominent role in the movie and get to do their fair share of stuff. But although they are responsible for advancing things in a few areas, ultimately they are still relegated to the background. A lot of their scenes see them completely segregated from the other Sentai teams, to the point where they don't even get to participate in the main battle or the big flashy roll call. Gorisaki Banana and Usada Lettuce are bizarrely absent despite the film having a strong focus on friendship, and the way things are Nick could not be there either and the story go exactly the same way. Enter and Escape make a return in a half-assed (but logical I suppose) way, but are also relegated to the background. The Go-Busters don't even get a proper fight sequence with them!

Zyuranger and Abaranger reds Geki & Ryouga return
"Man Geki, you've really let yourself go."

But on the plus side, the returning heroes are on top form. Beet J Stag is as funny as ever, and even though Jin comes back in the same unimaginative way as Enter/Escape his return is touching, epic and most importantly doesn't take any impact away from the end of Go-Busters. It's tragic that the Go-Busters don't have a decent amount of interaction time with the Kyoryugers, because the little they do get is very promising. The two teams have a strong dynamic that could have easily carried an entire movie on its own.

Then we come to the Kyoryugers themselves, who ARE actually part of the main crux of the story. However that doesn't mean they get off much easier than the Go-Busters do. Part of their story involves them receiving a warning from the past by a familiar face concerning the future, and then has them travelling into the past to meet up again and hear even more about the future from them. So...something from the past has knowledge of the future? Did Toei just want to turn the the whole time travel thing on it's head or do they genuinely have no idea how it actually works? The movie also sees them go evil for a short space of time in the most forced Japanese way possible. Black clothes, stupid haircuts and "Look at me I'm evil" faces are aplenty. It's pretty dumb, but typical for "evil" Super Sentai so not too difficult to overlook. What IS difficult to overlook is just how pointless the transformation is, with it having very little bearing on the overall plot and not even giving them a decent face off against the Go-Busters.

Even some old villains get a new makeover
Not actually the Zyuranger/Abaranger villains

Finally there's the dinosaur Sentai crossover, which is very nearly just as epic as it promises to be. Sure the only returning out-of-suit characters are Tyranno Ranger Geki and Aba Red Ryouga, but that doesn't make seeing the core Zyuranger and Abaranger lineups again any less glorious. One thing Kyoryuger never failed at was flashy action scenes, and this movie really amps things up to 11. It isn't just the scope of it either - little details like having the heroes group off into different dinosaur teams goes a long long way. My only complaints is that the big bad is a little uninspired and that Neo Geilton and Neo Griffozar aren't quite as cool as they sound.

The ToQgers make their debut
"Maybe we should imagine being part of the actual film!"

And of course, it wouldn't be a vs. movie without the debut of the next Super Sentai team - the Ressha Sentai ToQger. But what's bizarre about their segment is that it isn't actually part of the movie, instead coming right after the credits roll. It's a great scene and really shows off the comedy and gimmicks the ToQgers bring to Super Sentai, but without them interacting with the previous teams it all seems like wasted potential. After all, isn't half the fun the way the older teams just look at the newcomers in complete confusion? And as a final, unrelated note - this isn't something I usually complain about in tokusatsu productions but the CGI in this film is AWFUL. Like, really really awful. Poor looking mecha may be a common thing, but when the film partially depends on horribly realised CGI dinosaurs and features a terrible CGI cityscape in the opening shot you wonder why they even bother. And nothing makes the Zyurangers' Guardian Beast Tyrannosaurus look more dated then animating it this way. Just look at the picture and see for yourself.

Zyuranger's Tyrannosaurus reborn with horrible CGI
One of these things is not like the others

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters could have been a really great film, if only it could have decided what it wanted to be. The Kyoryuger/Go-Buster interactions and dynamic work really well, as does the idea of a huge dinosaur Sentai team up. But together? Not so much. If it could have just decided on one of those things, or even somehow become two separate movies then we could really have a winner (or two) on our hands. But instead we have what could possibly be the most disappointing entry into the versus series yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For good CGI, you might want to check out the Tomica Hero series.