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Shin Ultraman

Shin Ultraman Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Shin Ultraman Movie Review : A throwback for loyal followers and a good introduction for newbies

Story: As giant unknown lifeforms, called S-Class Species, incessantly attack Japan, an enormous silver superhero emerges from beyond Earth’s atmosphere to fight the monsters.

The movie opens with different kaiju attacking Japan and how the unknown lifeforms are immune to conventional weapons. The government forms S-Class Species Suppression Protocol (SSSP), including Executive Strategist Shinji Kaminaga (Takumi Saitoh), Unparticle Physicist Taki Akihisa (Daiki Arioka), Universal Biologist Yume Funaberi (Akari Hayami), and Leader Fumio Tamura (Hidetoshi Nishijima). With the threat worsening, a mysterious silver giant emerges from beyond Earth’s atmosphere, whom the newly-recruited analyst Hiroko Asami (Masami Nagasawa) names Ultraman in her report.

Shin Ultraman is the 37th part of the Ultraman franchise and the second live-action series reboot to be adapted after Shin Godzilla (2016). While fans will rejoice at the new outing, the movie is a good introduction for those unfamiliar with the Ultraman universe. Different monsters, such as the electricity-eating Neronga or Gabora, who attacks a nuclear power plant, give the flick an episodic feel. Between each episode of an attack, the audience gets some respite through the light-hearted interactions of SSSP’s teammates.

The movie stays true to the essence of the franchise. Its appeal lies in the VFX, a mix of CGI and practical effects, making the extraterrestrial forms and attacks believable while also giving it an old-school look that works as the perfect homage to the original series from the 1960s. The humanoid form of Ultraman adds to the relatability.

What also stands out about the film is its narrative. It’s not just about action and defeating the monsters. Through another extraterrestrial being Zarab (Kenjiro Tsuda), who signs a pact with the government to take over Earth, the film talks about the hunger for power at international and intergalactic levels. The government wants to prove its dominance as a military power, and Zarab wants to turn humans into monsters and rule them. The theme of hope, resilience, courage and sacrifice gives this sci-fi a more human quality.

The film’s crisp editing, Shinji Higuchi’s masterful direction, and artistic cinematography make the movie a treat to watch. Characters assuming giant forms, the camera placement to capture the battles between Ultraman and kaiju (especially the destruction and Neronga eating electricity), and the low angles of wildflowers make it a visual delight. It’s a fast-paced movie with adequate scientific references, so the audience must pay keen attention to every scene.

Anyone who likes a sci-fi flick with phenomenal visual effects and a powerful storyline will enjoy Shin Ultraman, which is also an ultimate trip down memory lane for loyal fans.

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