Usually, when a cartoon or comic book gets a movie version, there will be much wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth over how “(insert name of writer/director/producer) has ruined my childhood!” I have to admit that I never understood this mentality, possibly because I’ve never felt so invested in one of these source materials that an adaptation would make me angry. Hell, those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while may remember my entry about how I got Trekkies mad at me because I thought the way they unveiled the new Enterprise in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was…well, I’m not sure of the precise wording, and I can’t be bothered to look it up, but I think “masturbatory fantasy” is close, if not exact.

However, I think I’m finally starting to understand why fans get so caught up in the movie adaptations and why they care if they’re not, in their opinion, “perfect.”

How have I reached this conclusion, I hear you ask? Well, dear friends, it’s because there’s now a live action version of SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO.

I was out of high school when STAR BLAZERS, the Americanized/edited version of YAMATO, was being shown on TV but damn, I loved that show. I’m not a complete fanboy – Okay, I have the movies on DVD along with some of the soundtrack albums and a couple of ship figures, but I never bought the books or manga, and I hadn’t been keeping up with news on the movie front, so it was a big shock when I saw the first trailer. Sure, it was in Japanese without subtitles, but it wasn’t like I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

For the first time in my life, when it came to adapting something into a movie, I found myself muttering:

Please, don’t let them screw it up.

The movie was released in Japan in December of last year, and it hasn’t made it to North America yet, but from what little I’ve seen I don’t think I’ve much to worry about.

However, while I can’t talk about the movie I can talk about the music. Though the movie isn’t available here yet, the movie soundtrack is, and I ordered it as soon as I knew about it.

Uchu Senkan Yamato

I was hoping that they’d use the original Yamato theme, which they did, and I think that composer Naoki Satou did a great job integrating it into the rest of the score.

Here’s part of the original theme, complete with lyrics (in Japanese, of course…I said I had the albums!)

Here’s part of the opening theme from the movie (you can hear the Yamato theme)

And here’s how the theme is used for the full ship reveal. Perhaps it’s the high school orchestra geek in me peeking through, but I love how the tympani drives the tempo change towards the end.

For those of you who are interested and haven’t seen the clip yet (or those who want to see it again), here’s a promo clip which includes the Yamato taking off. It doesn’t have subtitles but if you know anything about the plot, you won’t miss them.

(Trekkies, take note: THAT is how you do a reveal.)

Satou did a great job with the music and even though I caught occasional similarities to the styles of Alan Silvestri, Jerry Goldsmith and Trevor Jones, the music never felt ripped off or re-used. It’s difficult to tell how well it integrates with the movie when I’ve only seen a few clips but I did enjoy the music on its own – it reminds me of how I was enjoying Prokofiev’s score for ALEXANDER NEVSKY before I’d seen that movie.

If you like movie soundtracks, this one’s worth buying.

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