It was back this past August when I mentioned the new Ultraman movie, MEGA MONSTER BATTLE: ULTRA GALAXY LEGENDS . It’s based off the latest incarnation of Ultraman, Ultra Galaxy: Mega Monster Battle. I’ll confess to not following Ultraman super closely in the last few years, but I still have a fondness for the property and picked up the BCI DVDs when they were released a while back. The original Ultraman remains my favorite, but I also enjoyed Ultra Seven and Ultraman: Towards The Future.

Anyway I promised to eventually review the new Ultraman flick once I got a chance to see it and now that time has come. Given that I hadn’t kept up with the last couple of Ultraman shows, I went into this film with a bit of a blank slate. Thankfully you don’t need to know much, although a basic background of Ultraman might be helpful. One of the new ideas is that the current Ultraman team have a guy who can control monsters on their side. They didn’t go super into it in the film, but it appears to work a bit like Pokemon or something where they can send out specific monsters to help out. Neat, but a recycled idea.

Anyway, the plot of this film is that the evil Belial is freed from the Phantom Zone and wants revenge on Krypton nebula M-78 on the Star of Ultra, Ultraman’s home planet. Belial is the big draw here as he’s the first evil Ultraman (Not counting Imitation Ultraseven, Robot Ace, Fake Astra, Delusion Ultraseven, Terranoid, Kamilla, Hyudora, Daroum, Fake Agul and of course the classic “Fake” Ultraman) who was corrupted when he arrogantly tried to harness the power of light all for himself. Ever since then he’s been hearing the sound of drums in his head. Wait, no, that’s the Master from RTF version of Doctor Who. Anyway, basically the same idea.

Anyway Zarab Seijin (Classic Ultraman bad guy) gives Belial the Giga Battle Nizer which allows him to control 100 monsters. They also explore another interesting idea here which dates back to the original series, with a “Monster graveyard” which is sort of an outer space limbo in which all the Ultraman monsters end up when they die. They can be resurrected or summoned from this area, which explains why Ultraman has fought the same creatures over and over. Granted this isn’t a new idea, but it’s explored a little more in this film.

Belial heads to the Ultraman home world and proceeds to pull an Anakin Skywalker (EVEN THE YOUNGLINGS?! Yes, even the younglings!) on all the Ultrapeoples. Only a few Ultramen escape and they have to find a way to deal with Belial who has now stolen the light source from the planet, leaving it frozen and all those who call it home trapped in the tundra of abyss. At this point you’re probably thinking, “Man this film is dense with plot” to which I would say, no, trust me it’s not. Yes there is a plot, but this movie starts with a fight and then follows up the next hour and a half with 95% fight scenes.

That was one of my main problems with the film, from my adult perspective. There’s too much fighting. We get some cool stuff like monster on monster battles, Belial versus various Ultramen and even a massive battle with over 100 monsters… But it sort of loses it’s effect after the first 20 minutes or so. Back in the old half hour Ultraman shows, I used to be upset that there wasn’t more monster fights, but here that’s almost all there is.

Eventually the original Ultraman and Ultra Seven actors show up looking like Jedis, complete with the robes. I have to admit these guys are cool, if only because they remind me of the awesomeness that was the old Ben Kenobi Jedi. That’s what these guys are like, except they turn into Ultramen. They help our heroes (which to be honest there isn’t ever one clear protagonist) and unveil a new Ultraman (Zero) who just completed his training with the Ultraman King and they team up for one final epic battle with Belial.

Unfortunately by the time the final battle comes around, it’s a bit anticlimactic despite a couple of cool visuals and concepts. There’s just too much damned fighting in this movie. Another problem is that since only .1% of this movie takes place outside of space or nebula M-78, the battles rarely feel like giant monster battles. At times it feels more like Power Rangers fighting one another, moreso than Ultraman.

Overall I don’t think the movie is bad. It’s low budget by American standards, but there’s some incredible visuals and wire fighting that would have been excellent in the old Ultraman series. It’s also very cool to see the original Ultraman and Ultra Seven actors, plus those characters get a lot of screen time. Literally every Ultraman makes an appearance in this film and most of the classic monsters show up even if some of them get disposed of in seconds.

As an adult with refined taste in film (even diverse film) I can’t say anyone should go out and get this movie unless you’re a big Ultraman fan. However, here is a brief message from ten year old me: “Dude, this is the greatest movie ever. Almost NO crappy human plots! Plus Ultraman does some sick moves and there’s so many, every Ultraman! Ultraman King! Belial kicks butt! It’s like what Destroy All Monsters should have been! Hehehe, I like boobs.”

Seriously though, this movie would have been perfect if I as ten. It has all the monster fights and Ultraman goodness you can imagine. As an adult though, it’s a bit too much. It’s never goofy or over the top, it’s just not as compelling either. It has helped rekindle some of my interest in Ultraman though and it definitely lived up to the Mega Monster Battle name.

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