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International Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2013
  • 110 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)

In a future not so far away, the world is fighting a losing battle against Galactor, an evil organization with technology far beyond the grasp of humans. Galactor already controls half the planet. The task of halting its advance and turning the tide falls to the Tokyo-based International Science Organization. Its secret weapon, assembled by Dr. Nambu Kouzaburou, is a team of five young people — Ken the Eagle, Jo the Condor, Jun the Swan, Jinpei the Swallow and Ryu the Owl. Suiting up in special bird-themed gear, the five youngsters share the rare capacity for drawing power from a mysterious crystal simply known as the Stone, giving them superhuman fighting abilities. When these birds of a feather flock together, Galactor’s malefactors may well find their goose is cooked…

At last, after years of rumours and dashed hopes, it’s here — the live-action feature film based on Tatsuo Yoshida’s 1970s anime TV series SCIENCE NINJA TEAM GATCHAMAN… better known on these shores as BATTLE OF THE PLANETS! In dashing, avian-inspired outfits, the Gatchaman quintet, christened G-Force for North American fans, faced off against Zoltar, his evil minions from the planet Spectra, and assorted other extraterrestrial menaces. At home and abroad, the GATCHAMAN franchise proved to be exceptionally inspiring to fandom and pros alike. Such an iconic anime property deserves no less talent in its transition to live-action than director Toya Sato (the GAMBLING APOCALYPSE KAIJI films) working from a script by Yusuke Watanabe (20TH CENTURY BOYS, GANTZ and the forthcoming DRAGON BALL Z film), with the intention of matching and even outdoing American superhero movies of recent vintage. Add to that wicked cool character designs by Shinji Aramaki (the APPLESEED films) and stunning visual effects by Takashi Yamazaki (RETURNER, ALWAYS: SUNSET ON THIRD STREET, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO) — never to mention a cast including Tori Matsuzaka (a Super Sentai Series veteran), Go Ayano (CROWS ZERO 2, GANTZ, also in HELTER SKELTER and RUROUNI KENSHIN at Fantasia this year) and Japanese It Girl du jour Ayame Gouriki. Don’t walk, don’t run —fly to Fantasia to catch the Japanese pop-fantasy classic revisited!

— Rupert Bottenberg