Saturday 20 January 2018

Movie REVIEW: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack

Even though it wasn’t released until December, 2017 was a year that was surrounded by Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hype. So much so that the film even unexpectedly showed up as a sponsor of Uchu Sentai Kyuranger as the release date drew closer. However that wasn’t the only link that could be drawn between the film franchise and the 41st Super Sentai series either, with Kyuranger giving it a few obvious nods in its summer movie – Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver's Counterattack. In typical fashion the movie was released alongside Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending in cinemas, taking place roughly between episodes 22 and 23 of the series itself.

The Geth StarGeth Indaver

As the planet-sized Geth Star battle station approaches Earth with the intent of destroying it, the Kyurangers suffer their biggest loss yet as Shou Ronpo is shot and seemingly killed by its creator Geth Indaver. The team has no time for mourning though, as Indaver plans to destroy the Earth in 72 hours – harnessing the power of the legendary destroyer Kerberos.

It’s a race against time as the Kyurangers split up to find the three fragments of the stone needed to summon Kerberos, with Indaver’s unit not far behind them. Can they succeed before time runs out? And who is behind the mask of Geth Indaver and what is his history with Shou Ronpo?

Shou Ronpo dies!Kyurangers assembled

Similar to how Zyuohger’s movie The Heart-Pounding Circus Panic! kicked things off in media res, The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack throws the audience straight into the action with little to no information about both the Geth Star and its mysterious creator, using the apparent of Shou Ronpo as the launching point of the movie rather than as an emotional turning point midway through. It certainly works in giving the film some immediate punch, even if the moment could have been far more shocking if not heavily advertised and its actual outcome (if in-keeping with Ronpo’s style) is a little more than a throwaway joke. But since time is of the essence with these Super Sentai movies, shaving off ten minutes of exposition and jumping straight in at the deep end is a good call.

So instead the movie does what Kyuranger arguably does best – split the team up and engage in some cool sequences. Sadly as usual Raptor/Washi Pink gets the short end of the stick and stays onboard the ship until the climactic fight featuring the whole team, resulting most significantly in missing out on the film’s fantastic helmetless dramatic-walk sequence featuring the other eight core rangers. As undoubtedly the best shot of the entire film, it’s extremely disappointing to see it done without a full line up. The lack of Ryu Commander, Koguma SkyBlue and Houou Soldier are forgivable since they begin to fall into “extra” ranger territory, but having Raptor just standing on the sidelines really does spoil it. Speaking of Koguma SkyBlue and Houou Soldier, both characters are in the movie – just not for very long. Kotaro’s there for the final fight, while Tsurugi just kind of shows up to help out at the very end. Watching this back at a point where Tsurugi hadn’t fully aligned himself with the Kyurangers would probably make more sense, because in hindsight it does feel a little disjointed.

Garo & LuckyStinger, Champ & Hammy

That isn’t to say there aren’t other cool things going on in this movie though! Lucky riding Garu transformed into a motorcycle (somewhat fitting for a number of reasons)! Champ fighting a cage fight! Kyuranger has always done well at mixing its space theme with all kinds of wacky scenarios and power ups, and the film is definitely no exception. All of the segments could easily be replaced with something else and the outcome of the film would be exactly the same, but it’s the kind of big dumb fun you can really get behind – especially when thought of as something being watched on the big screen. That’s what makes this movie shine, because despite the rushed nature and other flaws it still feels like it’s trying to be something bigger in terms of spectacle. Whether it truly succeeds at that is a different thing entirely, but the effort to make the Kyuranger movie feel like a movie (or at least a pre-movie special) shows.

Geth Indaver unmaskedShou Ronpo flashback

On the villain side of things Geth Indaver works to mixed results. Both conceptually and visually he’s excellent, but the actual execution of his back story falls a little short. Given how quickly the introduction breezes by there’s barely any time for his history with Shou to resonate, and his joining with Jark Matter and eventual plan don’t really match up with his initial motivation in the past. If his original plan was to defeat Jark Matter using Kerberos powers, why then go and immediately work for Jark Matter just for revenge? Maybe it’s that Kyuranger is insistent on showing how deep Jark Matter’s influence runs throughout the galaxy, but Indaver would have worked just as well (if not better) had he just been a neutral third party looking to wipe out both sides in the fight. His relation to Jark Matter is pretty tenuous anyway, as at this point in the story there weren’t any regular series generals to speak of so he pretty much just goes about his own devices.

This year’s movie-exclusive mecha is of course the Kerberos Voyager, which despite seeming like a big part of the story feels somewhat overshadowed by everything else going on around it. Ultimately the Geth Star is the main threat, so the “legendary beast” is tamed by the Kyurangers fairly quickly to simply play a role that could have feasibly been filled by KyurenOh. The most memorable movie mecha are always the ones that feel properly intertwined into the story (and in special cases then go on to later appear in the show itself), and Kerberios just doesn’t have that same lasting impact as something like Tobaspino or Safari Gaoh.

The Kerberos VoyagerKerberios

As can be said of almost every Super Sentai movie, Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack sadly doesn’t have the time to properly develop itself into something that can truly stand out as something more than just a slightly special episode of the series. However what it can do it does very well, offering an enjoyable one-off space adventure that puts more focus on spectacle and set-pieces then it does on shilling summer 2017’s latest toy. The continued format of these things means they could always be better, but it’s good to see Kyuranger making the most of what it has.

1 comment:

Lolingstar said...

New Star Wars movie a stank.