Fantasia 2012 Review: MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY: THE MOVIE
(Review by Justin Decloux)
MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY is the cinematic equivalent of watching a hundred episodes of ULTRAMAN on fast-forward while snorting ten pounds of pixie sticks. It's a kaleidoscope of furious fights, exploding creatures and enough gleeful cheese to knocks you unconscious. You will either love it or find it gives you nothing but a nasty toothache
On the Ultra Home Planet 'The Land of Light' all the fun loving Ultra People are having a good old time until the EVIL ULTRAMAN Belial escapes from Space Prison and steals the planet's only source of power. With the fate of the Ultra race hanging in the balance, it's up to a human with monster controlling powers and a rag-tag group of surviving Ultramen (Including the original!) to take down the evil Ultra Fiend (who wants to rule the Universe of course) even if it means fighting A HUNDRED MONSTERS IN THE PROCESS!
*SPOILER* They fight a hundred monsters *END SPOILER*
The biggest problem many will have with MEGA MONSTER is actually a plus in my book - The film is absolutely unrelenting. Director Koichi Sakamoto doesn't let two minutes go by without throwing a creature, fist fight, or explosion into the mix. Forget the dreary slow motion punches associated with the genre because Sakamoto (who's primarily worked as an action choreographer) brings the dynamic complexity of Hong Kong wire work pictures to the world of giant wrassling creatures. All the sets are created digitally, but the fights never feel constrained by the fact that it's live performers jumping around in front of green walls. It probably helps that all the monsters are satisfyingly low-fi practical suits built to be pummeled.
I'm only familiar with barest basics of the Ultraman mythos, but I never had any problem following a plot that boils down to "These are the good guys. These are the bad guys. They fight! OVER AND OVER AGAIN" It's classic Saturday Morning Cartoon Logic ™. And while there's a new character introduced every ten minutes, I never got lost, because the film has a strong forward momentum and sense of infectious fun. One character is even the proxy for the audience - screaming "OH MY GOD IT'S (NAME OF FAN FAVORITE CHARACTER)!" anytime something cool happens that will fly right above the head of the casual viewer. It's fan service pure and simple, but if you're in the right mind-set, the continual reveals are pure laugh out loud fun.
I'll reiterate what I said in the first paragraph: If you're looking for a film with developed characters, a compelling story or even valid drama skip a film called MEGA MONSTER BATTLE. If you just want to watch monsters being beat up in never-ending bouts of martial arts madness don't walk, RUN, to see this little piece of over excited gold. It may just be your inner eight year olds favorite new film.