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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III Encounters in Space
Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III Encounters in Space
Bandai // Unrated // May 7, 2002
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by J. Doyle Wallis | posted June 4, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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Reviews for Part One and Part Two.

The Story: The one year war between the federal forces and the Principality of Zeon is nearing its end... Sent back out into space, the White Base has gotten a higher compliment in its crew and the teenagers have become seasoned soldiers. Amuro Rey uses his growing precognitive Newtype abilities in battle and has become an even more formidable and feared warrior. While at the neutral colony of Side 6, Amuro finds his father, the designer of Amuro's White Gundam Mobile Suit, meets a mysterious Newtype girl named Lalah, and for the first time comes face to face with his Zeon adversary Char. The treacherous, Zeon controlling, Zabi family and the Federal Forces mount huge attacks, each side taking significant losses, but when the Zeon's use a massive doomsday weapon called the Solar Ray, the Federal Forces are hit hard and mount one last full scale attack on the main Zeon base. In a battle that will turn the tide of the war, Amuro Rey is pitted in his final conflict with Char, and must fight Lalah, a powerful Newtype under Char's sway.

The Film: Well, this final installment is said to have 70% new animation, as opposed to the first two films the bulk of which were the original tv shows edited into features. And since this finale is probably two-thirds space battles, most of the new animation, I guess, goes to the action. While its vastly entertaining, they also lose much of the story and for the first time I could see clumsy plot gaps from editing down the tv series. The action is amped up a notch, but the relationships of the crew members takes a back seat and we see awkwardly included glimpses of these relationships, including the new crew member, the tactless Slegger, and the White Base pilot reuniting with her fiancee. Likewise there is a haphazard transition between the White Base escape of the neutral colony to suddenly being at and old space colony where Amuro has a confrontation with Char, who was lounging around the neutral station last time we saw him. While the action elements and seeing the series come to a satisfactory conclusion more than makes up for the holes in the storytelling, like I said, its just the first time I could really notice it was a longer tale that had to be edited down into a feature.

After spending four hours and forty minute with these characters, they have vastly matured over the course of the series, which in and of itself is a mixed bag. Yes, they have to move on, but the subsequent films explored the theme of youth in war, ill prepared to deal with such pressures, and now they are much more comfortable in their skin as soldiers. So the final installment its pretty much just one long setup for the final battle with a few relationship kinks to be worked out along the way... The devious Zabu family goes into full tilt patricide mode in their quest to control the new humanity... The battles get pretty trippy with some heavy Newtype psychedelica... Amuro's big weepy moment (because he has to have one or two per film) this time out is the discovery that his father, once a genius, has gone completely loony, raving bonkers, insane. But, it is a brief moment, and he has become a more steady individual, no more tantrums, and much more open to the fact that he is the next stage in human evolution. But, one thing hasnt changed, Amuro still looks like child actor Scotty Schwartz from The Toy.

The DVD: Bandai. Like the first and second volumes, lacking extras, no art gallery, no commercial spots and such, but a nice holo foil cover.

Picture- 1:33:1 Full screen Original Aspect ratio. Well, it looks as good as it is bound to get. Of course, being a late 70's animation show it falls prey to restraints of the time. Everything looks fine, and any flaws, grain, weak color, are due to the nature of the existing elements, not the DVD transfer.

Sound- Original Stereo or Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, Japanese with optional yellow English subtitles. Now, usually I'm not one for meddling with soundtracks. Just because you can change a mix, add new sound fx, and so forth doesn't mean you should. Often it kind of ruins the original charm. In this case though, I really liked the remix. It seems to stay very faithful to the original recording, only it just amps up the sound fx and score much better, rounding out, pumping up the audio more than the original. In any case, fans have either one to choose from.

Extras- 14 Chapter Selections--- Liner note bio of co-creator Kunio Okawara.--- 15 pages of credits.

Conclusion: The presentation offers very nice audio and an image transfer that is as good as its likely to ever get. But, it is pretty much completely lacking in extras, making it a purchase for those true die hard fans, a casual consideration for the general anime buff, and a rental for the uninitiated.

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