Xpired

The 50th anniversary Ultraman feature doesn’t convey the enormity of that success. It’s threadbare outside of the cultural blitzkrieg that forms the franchise – Ultraman X: The Movie brings anime, manga, and eastern superhero tropes into its minimalist finale. A story concerning togetherness and respecting heritage is more an afterthought.

A reality TV star becomes the catalyst. His Indiana Jones-shtick leads to him unleash an ancient monster, greed keeping the special, monster-subduing gemstone in his possession rather than where it belongs. In that, Ultraman X: The Movie loosely admonishes Japan’s distance from their own past. The call then goes out to the original Ultraman – still slugging it out in space against villainous monsters – to return, restoring things to normal. What disrespecting past takes away, it also gives back. It’s pleasant, just limited.

There’s little to say about Ultraman X: The Movie

With barely an hour to play with, Ultraman X: The Movie dives into its action headfirst. While Ultraman X the series developed the core Xio team (a worldwide force established to fight giant monsters) the new cast goes nowhere, mere placeholders, gawking at the special effects. In a rare Ultraman twist, the fight extends to other continents too, adding small scale to this brawl. Nice, but hollow given the minimalist context.

There’s little to say about Ultraman X: The Movie. Unlike other modern Ultraman series, there’s no core story to finish; the episodes weren’t serialized (mostly), and therefore, trying to send off Ultraman X in this feature feels unnecessary. Slightly elevated TV production values never look theatrical, and the action no greater than any individual episode.

Fans may as well watch (given the first six minutes pull from earlier episodes, Ultraman X: The Movie barely crosses the hour mark), but to commemorate Ultraman’s origin, it’s pitiful.

Video

A few noise complaints and minor macroblocking  aside (look for a bright red chair briefly to show artifacts), clear imagery maintains consistency. The high-res digital source lets detail pop without fault. Intricate definition draws out facial texture. Wide (miniature) cities look spectacular in long shots; dirt and wear give the practical effects life, even under Blu-ray’s scrutiny.

Multiple times, Ultraman enters a rainbow, crystal-like aura. If any doubts exist as to the color intensity, those moments squash them. Overall, the saturation stays up, fantastic overall. Primaries blossom.

Brightness never lags either. Most of the final battle is set at night, appropriately dense. Black levels do not relent, gorgeously clashing with the bright lasers, explosions, or sparks.

Audio

For what’s only a stereo mix, the LFE brings surprising weight. Monster steps, missiles, and explosions all deliver low-end power, building demolition too.

Both left and right channels find work as the action kicks in. A wide channel split follows the fights well and it’s great to hear the iconic original sound effects when the first Ultraman appears. Both original Japanese (with subtitles, of course) and the English dub are offered.

Extras

Nothing. Note Mill Creek released this as a stand-alone disc, but for only a few bucks more, you can purchase a set that includes the full TV series too. Ultraman X: The Movie’s Blu-ray is the same either way.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Ultraman X: The Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

The send-off for the franchise’s 50th anniversary, Ultraman X: The Movie doesn’t have the spectacle needed for such an event.

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