What They Say
The Earth Forces has commissioned another Archangel-class ship, the Dominion; its sole mission is to destroy the renegade Archangel. As the battle draws to its ultimate conclusion, it is possible that humanity itself will be the victim. Kira, Athrun, and the others must stop a war that threatens both sides with genocide!
The original Japanese stereo track was used for my primary viewing session. The numerous action sequences make adequate use of the front soundstage. Music, dialogue, and sound effects were well balanced and did not overshadow one another. There were no problems with distortion or dropouts. While it is a decent stereo mix, it does feel a bit flat at times.
A spot check of the English stereo track revealed a slightly fuller sound in the action sequences. It is still a standard stereo track that utilizes the front soundstage adequately, but the English track felt as if it had more depth to it. Fans of either language track will be satisfied with their audio experience.
The first Gundam Seed “movie” receives a beautiful transfer. Whether it is the black depths of space or a bright desert landscape on Earth, the colors are vibrant making for a rich picture. Every element and technique blends well for the most part, but some of the CG during the battle sequences can be slightly distracting. The transfer is free from any noticeable cross coloration, aliasing, or other digital artifacts.
The front cover features Kira and Arthrun along with one of the Gundams. The logo is at the top of the cover with the title for the movie in a banner across the very bottom. Both the front and back cover have an attractive metallic sheen, but the cover image feels plain and does not catch the eye. The back cover features the requisite synopsis, images, and disc specifications in a clean, readable format. There was no insert inside the case.
The main menu features a picture of a Gundam in action with the menu items placed to the right of the screen. The background plays a series of clips with a piece of music looping. There are transition delays between menus allowing the viewer to get setup and into the content quickly and easily. One nice feature of the audio setup menu was the green, throbbing dot that was placed next to your selection.
No extras were provided for this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The main issue with the first two Gundam Seed movies was their need to cram a lot of material into a short timeframe. What ended up on the screen was a series of disjointed battles and a lack of development of the story and the characters. Unless they have watched the television series faithfully, viewers will have a difficult time following the events and do not gain a sense of why they should watch the television series. This final film “The Rumbling Sky” focuses purely on the end of the story and is able to address these issues.
The war between the Naturals and the Coordinators continues to rage, but Rau Le Creuset has his own plans for ending it. He lures Kira and Mu La Flaga to an abandoned science station; there, he reveals some dark secrets about Kira and Mu’s past. Escaping from Mu’s wrath, Le Creuset passes along a key piece of information to the Naturals.
Armed with this information, the Naturals begin an all-out nuclear offensive against the Coordinator colonies; the Coordinators respond with their own offensive using the destructive power of GENESIS. This massive laser vaporizes a lunar base before setting its sights on Earth. Kira, Arthrun, and the rest of the forces led by Lacus manage to stop the war, but many of our secondary heroes must make the ultimate sacrifice to do so.
Where the first two movies made jarring leaps between plot points, this movie feels like an actual film rather than slapped together footage. Rather than feeling like slapped together battle sequences, the story flowed smoothly from battle to battle with each piece of narrative connecting them. There were still a few spots where you could sense the writers skipping over some material, but these gaps did diminish the ability to follow the story.
It also provides a sense of why I would want to watch the television series; the characters are finally given some depth to connect with the audience. For the first time, I was actually caring about the heroes because I had a sense of who they were and why they were fighting. The large issues of genetic manipulation and the morality of war are also touched upon and add to the motivation behind everyone’s actions. The movie is still geared more towards the eye candy of the Gundams and the battles, but there was finally some substance that sparked an interest in the television series.
If one is looking for a way to draw new viewers into the Gundam Seed series, “The Rumbling Sky” is the movie best suited for the task. It features the same exquisite Gundam designs and battles seen in the first two movies, but it features a plot free from the jarring gaps that made the first two difficult to follow. The heart of the story and characters is able to make a connection with the viewer and show them why the television series would be worth watching. Newcomers may still not understand who everyone is or why they are fighting, but they will come away wanting to find out.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Release Date: September 13th, 2005
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Mitsubishi 27″ TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable