It seems like I am doing a couple movie reviews in a short amount of time and there is a reason for that. I feel like Alita and Gundam needed to be supported because I don’t know how much help their markets need. Alita: Battle Angel was a decent manga adaption from a holly wood perspective for once, even though it’s far from flawless, and needed some press so more people would see it. Gundam NT is similar, because it’s the first Gundam movie that’s been in theaters for a long time; Possibly ever. I feel like I had to buy a ticket and be there whether the movie was good or bad. Of course, I was hoping that it would be good and meaningful in some way. Unfortunately for me, like the film’s mobile suits, NT was just an imitation of a good film. Interesting concepts, but a very lacking and rushed approach.
The movie theater experience was pretty alright though. There were a lot more people who understood the Universal Century Gundam universe then I thought, because I am self centered enough to think it would only be at the movie theater. That means there are more fans that I need to connect to around where I live, which is good.
(Just a warning, this film was required some extensive Gundam knowledge to get anything from it. Not a lot of this will make a lot of sense if you are uninitiated with the Universal Century. I am telling you this, which is the opposite of what the producers of this film said before the beginning of this film. Oh boy. What were they thinking? Just wanted to warn you all. Ummmm, beware. Confusion is abound)
Gundam NT is a story about what happens a year after Gundam Unicorn. The core of the story is centered on three miracle children who predicted the event that started Gundam 0079. Basically, a giant space cylinder fell on Sydney Australia and the world was set to war. These three, thought to be new types after this event, where horribly treated in cyber new type camps to fight against the rebelious A.U.E.G. seven years after that event happened (Zeta Gundam). In the current time period, one of the children’s consciousness was put into the third psycho frame gundam two years before the film happens and the suit recently came back. That consciousness’ name is Rita. The other two, Juno and Michelle are working alongside the Earth Federation and are after this mobile suit for personal reasons. Unfortunately, their hunt leads them against the last remaining Neo Zeon forces and all hell breaks loose. Everyone got that? No? That’s ok. I barely understood it all myself.
Starting with the positives, I think the core of Gundam NT is pretty good. Having a trio of special children struggling to survive in what is similar to a Nazi concentration camp is very compelling drama. Especially when it meant that all three of them had to do whatever it took to survive in a situation that was pure hell. Juno and Rita are pretty simplistic characters, because Rita is the typical pure child not long for this world and Juno, this film’s Gundam pilot, is a blank slate because he was stuck the new type camp longer then the other characters, so he never got the opportunity to grow and become some one. He is 25 and doesn’t have a single accomplishment to his name besides survival. Definitely a simple, but powerful core of a film that could have been a movie of it’s own. Simplicity means you understand the emotions more if it’s done well, and I think it is for the most part.
Michelle was the most interesting one because she has a very strong personality and motivations. She was jealous of Rita and Juno’s relationship and lied herself out of the New Type camp so she could be adopted. She was also the tom boy of the group and actually wore male uniforms during all the backstory events and still wears vaguely masculine clothing during the film itself. (She has a short scene where she is just in her underwear when Michelle is walking around her house to remind us that she is female). In the film, Michelle is in a place of power and abuses her power wherever she needs to in order to get the lost Gundam roaming around the solar system. I want to know more about Michelle because there is obviously so many understated things about her that haven’t been mentioned yet. Apparently she is an original character for this story because this is an adaptation of a novel, and I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t research that.
The film falls apart when you break from the core characters. Besides the Earth Federation’s pilot commander Iago, no one else seem to have a semblance of a personality on that side. Then the Neo Zeon forces were much worse then that. Especially when it comes to the main villain Zolten who is a failed Char clone, but also only a force of chaos. That’s it. He literally has no personality at all and only wants to destroy things. Destroy the tiny Gundam that Jona is piloting, destroy the Earth for some reason, and just destroy all the things forever. All the things will die with his Psuedo Diebuster powers. That’s about all he is useful for. Other then that, he has no purpose of being here. His presence is pointless and annoying. I guess he did have a cool prototype Neo Zeong mech of what we saw in Gundam Unicorn, so that is ok, maybe. Still rather pointless though
Moving to visuals, the film generally looks ok at worst and amazing at best. I’m still stunned by the stellar mecha fights in the beginning of the film, because the setting and color from the waning sun made it so cool. I can’t say that about anything afterward because it was a lot of “scene that, done that” space stuff with nothing innovative to contribute. Especially when psychic powers took the place of piloting skill, which is always a hindrance with the Universal Century for me. The mecha designs are pretty interesting to look at, but the lack of creativity is pretty evident here too. Especially since the stakes of the film never felt completely real to me. Each mecha that needs to be mentioned is either a down grade from previous models, because they are the lesser, experimental versions of suits that we’ve seen finish copies of, or where like other units with a different color paint job. The Phennex Gundam looks cool and moves cool, but it’s one of three units for example. I feel like these statements are what Gundam NT is to Unicorn. Still, cool robots are still cool robots. That is all I need to say.
I feel like I could go in as far as saying this film didn’t need to exist. This whole plot of destroying everything with psycho frame technology didn’t have to be on screen. It could have just been a short footnote or a line of dailogue for the next Gundam UC project, Hathawaye’s Flash. This kind of the problem with all of the Gundam projects meant to expand the Universal Century more. Most of them have been more then ok, but not a lot of other non main line Gundam series are necessary at all. Gundam Narrative is just another one of those mass produced products (maybe a filler product) that doesn’t have much weight behind it because of how meaningless it is. Combined this concept with the terrible moment to moment editing in the film, so the film had no natural flow at all, and then you know all you need to know about this film. Well, for the most part.
So in full conclusion, Gundam NT is a messily edited film for hard core gundam fans who have already watched Gundam 0079, Zeta Gundam, maybe Double Zeta Gundam, Char’s Counter Attack, and Gundam Unicorn. It’s that unnecessary Gundam Unicorn dlc eplilogue you don’t really need just to say you watched it to close off the psychoframe gundam loop. If you have all of tused hat knowledge, then you may consider this an average or slightly above 6/10 kind of film. I’m not good with rankings anymore, so please tell me if I used that wrongly here. There is enough strong elements to make this film sort of worth while. For new fans, I wouldn’t suggest watching this film at all. All you will get from this, most likely, is a large headache. If it the film had thirty more minutes of film time, maybe that statement would have been different. It’s the Gundam F91 of the newer generation. It was just produced under different circumstances.
With all this said, I am going to use this mecha post to announce that Mecha March is starting on Friday. It’s going to hopefully be a fun time with reviews of some cool, older mecha series and some other mecha related posts along the way. More on that Tuesday! Thank you for reading, everyone!