February 20, 2011

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles

For those who have been following me on twitter, I posted last week that I was going to try and finish the 7 other anime series that I have on my plate right now before starting anything new. I also eluded to the high probability that I would fail at this task. I can proudly say that I failed at my goal to finish the other anime I had started before watching anything new. I couldn't leave all of our readers with no new post for this week so I decided to dust this movie off of my shelf and finally watch it having picked it up a year ago in a $5 in the grocery story (yes I will resort to buying anime at the grocery store if it is cheap).

It has been about 8 years since I watched the Robotech series. I was a little intimidated when I decided to watch this particular film because I remember Robotech being a masterpiece, but I wasn't sure I would be able to connect the dots from the series to this movie. Much to my surprise I did remember a lot more about the show than I gave myself credit for.

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles picks up after the Genesis Climber MOSPEADA arc of the Robotech series. In this film, The Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) and Invid draw to a conclusion in their war. The REF are fighting to reclaim the Earth from the Invid who abruptly leave during the middle of the conflict as signs of an enemy that destroyed the Invid homeland become present. Rick Hunter has made an alliance with an alien race known as the Haydonites in order to acquire new technologies that would allow the humans to drive out the Invid. After launching a new weapon developed with the information of the Haydonites, the Invid leader Regess leaves Earth, but allows her daughter Ariel to remain with the humans and suffer their fate. A new battle ensues between the humans and the Haydonites. Much of the technology that the humans received from the Haydonites has proven to be a Trojan Horse that has allowed the Haydonites to have the upper hand in the battle. In order to fight back, the humans must revert back to "training over technology" to stand a chance against the Haydonites.

By the end of the 88 minutes that this film ran, I felt pretty entertained. I didn't find myself getting up to check the clock for time or looking for other things to do while it finished. I didn't quite feel that this film was at the same level as the Robotech series, however, it still was a very well done film. I really enjoyed the music and the visual effects. The use of computer rendered graphics was appropriately used and visually appealing. The characters had some strength in that some were introduced through the series, while many of the others were not as memorable. Some of the more notable parts for me were the battle scenes. The dogfights through space were very entertaining. It would have been nice to see the Veritechs transform a little more.

My end verdict, this was worth an hour and twenty minutes of my time, and for $5 you can't go wrong. I recommend this movie whether you have seen the original series or not. If you enjoy mecha based anime with fast paced fight scenes, then you should be entertained with Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. For those who are hardcore into the series, my only recommendation is to check the comparisons between this and the original at the door if you're going to watch it. As with many of the very notable series, Gundam, Getter Robo, etc. where they came out in the 70's & 80's with great reception that has lasted decades, much of the newer adaptations often don't live up to our standards of the original. I only offer this as a note to keep in mind when watching this and many other newer adaptations. They have a lot to offer on their own that we can miss if we tend to watch them with the lens of their original counterparts.


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