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Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Great War of Archimedes / アルキメデスの大戦 - Movie Review


The Movie: The Great War of Archimedes / アルキメデスの大戦

The Director: Takashi Yamazaki 

The Cast: Suda Masaki, Emoto Tasuku, Hamabe Minami, Shofukutei Tsurube, Kobayashi Katsuya

The Story: Pre-WWII, the Japanese Navy commissioned the creation of impressive “supership” Yamato, strongly opposed by a top official insisting on more strategic and battle-ready warships. After being ignored without cause, Admiral Yamamoto recruits a math genius to help uncover what he soon suspects is a massive conspiracy.


The Review:
This movie isn't exactly an historical document although it is based on some things that actually happened and some ideas about those things that actually happened. From what I have learned, the story is an adaptation of a manga called Archimedes no Taisen and focuses on a rivalry within the Japanese navy, one side looking to create a new progressive fleet of aircraft carriers and another who want to build a glorious battleship that will inspire the nation and announce to the world that Japan is ready for anyone who wants to come at them.

The battleship, which did get built, was called the Yamato, a name that is a symbol of history and pride within Japanese culture, and if you didn't know, it was blown to bits by US aircraft before it barely got to fire its own supposedly intimidating cannons. That sinking is actually how the movie begins and then it traces back to the internal militaristic power plays and back door dealings that one might expect when it comes to a government entity misusing massive sums of money for personal gain. From there the story is a budgetary feud that isn't nearly as interesting as it's hoping to be.

One thing that caught my attention about the movie was that it is essentially about the construction and inevitable destruction of the battleship Yamato which, from my childhood, was better known as the Space Battleship Yamato from the movie of the same name. I first discovered the Yamato from watching Star Blazers, the American TV adaptation of the famous Japanese anime although in that show it had been renamed as the Argo. This show was a fascinating science fiction adventure series and a huge part of my childhood in much the same way that Star Wars always has been so it was nice to see where the famous ship originally came from.


The Verdict:
The Great War of Archimedes is a pre WWII movie that has little to do with war and more to do with engineering and math. In some ways it reminds me of A Few Good Men but lacks the star power and intensity that makes that movie so special so it ends up being just a decent historical drama.


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