Transform Into Everything

The running gag throughout all Ultraman series is the government-run forces uselessness in defending Japan. They fail, Ultraman saves the country. Ultraman Orb takes the idea and runs with it, turning the taxpayer funded VTL into an inefficient, doubtful, barely-there team. In this movie, the VTL doesn’t even appear aside from their leader.

Even at this level, where superheroes do incomprehensible things to fight giant monsters (likewise doing incomprehensible things), Japanese entertainment continues to reflect the nation’s post-Fukushima incompetence. The savior in Ultraman Orb: The Movie is Ultramen, teaming together. Yet the main driving force is a group of tech savvy teens (the SSP) able to understand what’s happening, dealing with this on their own. The VTL sit around doing nothing; it’s the people who save themselves.

While no different than Ultraman Orb’s companion TV show, there’s certainly more of everything

Ultraman Orb: The Movie isn’t that serious though. Adopting a campy tone, most of this story aims for laughs. Two alien monsters share a conversation bemoaning shaved ice’s identical flavor, and a haunted house is less ghost horror than genre parody. And the villain’s goal? Turn the entire planet into crystal to suit her vain ideals (and make everything beautiful before humanity destroys it all).

In the back half, Ultraman Orb: The Movie turns into an overlong action scene. Explosions and lasers keep coming, the series’ marketability catching onto the card battling fad. Calling on various forms, the peacekeeping Ultras merge via these cards, sure to sell packs and the plastic props to activate them. The result is something that captures kids at play, pretending to be whatever comes into their mind, and makes about as much logical sense too.

Wacky as this is, the color array, miniatures, and destruction look fantastic. While no different than Ultraman Orb’s companion TV show, there’s certainly more of everything. Pinching nostalgia, a classic Ultraman actor makes a cameo (and a save) for added fun. Comedy makes the message digestible, and in case that bored anyone, the kitchen sink approach during the 40+ minute finale (in a 70-minute movie) will make those misgivings a buried memory.

Video

While not as sharp as Ultraman Geed: The Movie, the US Blu-ray release still offers sensationally clean, clear video. Other than one brief instance of banding, compression doesn’t cause issue. Neither does noise, helped by the typically bright tone. That allows detail to thrive. The lower budget composites hold their own. Give the effects team their due, along with the miniatures.

When needed, black levels do provide density. A trip through space and a few seedier locations matter. Mostly, contrast is creating depth, brilliantly white as laser attacks stretch across the screen, then nuanced as explosions send out flames.

Between the loud costumes and action, saturation excels. It’s colorful bliss, high in variety and intensity. Ultraman Orb: The Movie doesn’t take rest periods either; it’s non-stop.

Audio

Stereo effects hardly factor in, or maybe there’s so much going on, the separation is lost. Regardless, the mix is clean, handling music, fighting, and dialog simultaneously. Decent low-end performance acts in response to monster steps or attacks.

Otherwise, it’s straightforward and TV-like

Extras

Nothing.

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Ultraman Orb: The Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Over 70-minutes, Ultraman Orb: The Movie moves from smart social comedy to a lengthy battle designed to sell toys.

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