Venice Film Review: ‘Space Pirate Captain Harlock’

Venice Film Review: ‘Space Pirate Captain Harlock’
“Unleash the dark matter!” “Activate the Jovian accelerator!” “Prepare to enter the In-skip!” The dialogue in Japanese animated epic “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” is an absolute riot of geeky imperatives, very fitting for a film that’s all about urgency, pseudo-science and speed. Helmed by Shinji Aramaki (“Appleseed”), this is a glorious marshaling of state-of-the-art technical expertise that boasts topnotch stereoscopy, but the portentous script is too nerdy to cross over to the mainstream. Fans of the original 1970s manga-turned-cartoon “Harlock” and younger anime buffs, however, will wolf this down at home and in a number of key offshore markets.

While the pic revives the situation and main characters from the manga by Leiji Matsumoto, which inspired Toei Animation’s TV series (known as “Albator” in Francophone territories, where it was a huge cult hit), the emphasis of this update is much more on post-millennial gloom and environmental anxieties, rather
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