I didn't even plan to talk about this movie now (catching a few words in every three sentences is not good enough), but well, I have some thoughts anyway after seeing it this afternoon. This is done without reading a translation (if one exists), so mistakes are all my own.
I was caught, not exactly by surprise, by the first opening line: mukashi mukashi. (Once upon a time?) Is this a fairy tale, then?
I don't know, but I had my mind set on thinking of this movie as a fairy tale when I first heard that. And I suppose it's a good thing I did.
The red-shoed girl seems like the exact same sort of character I'd seen before. Potential spoilers for the Gaia movie (1998) and the Gaia TV special?: Ultraman Gaia in Hyper Space (too tired to look up its proper name; it's the only Gaia movie out there, though) has a girl character holding a red globe-like thing (maybe a ball; I don't know) coming through time. The difference this time is, I don't think the shoe girl physically (for lack of a better word) brought Mirai from another world to this world. And yes, these girls (well, at least the girl in the Gaia movie) seem cryptic and never answer anything directly; otherwise the movie would be over in five minutes I suppose since everything is easily solved. I'm used to mysterious characters in Ultra series disappearing and appearing when it's convenient for them, though, so this girl doesn't bother me one bit. (Come to think of it, Gaia has at least two girl characters like this; the red globe one, and the one who bugs Fujimiya in the TV special.)
This is not a Mirai movie. Still, unlike the first movie (and I'm aware I'm the only one who thinks Mirai isn't really himself there), whatever little there is of Mirai in this movie seems like the Mirai I know. I must admit I enjoyed those scenes of him trying to greet his niisan-tachi and met with blank looks and out right 'don't know this person' lines. I think my favorite might be (something along the line of) 'I don't have a younger brother' from Dan. Daigo is really dragging Mirai away, literally (but why did he had to take Mirai to visit all four of them when it's apparent Mirai isn't able to curb his enthusiasm at seeing his nii-san???). Still, I had a moment of pity for poor Mirai there: no one knows him in this world and seems like they could live without him, too. That feeling came back when Mebius getting turned into a statue(?) and practically forgotten (even by the camera; after a while, it just stopped taping him). If he's lying down I would understand the neglect (not that I like it), but he's standing right there and overlooked. Also, at the end, apart from Daigo, no one talks to Mirai that I can see. All these remind me too much that Mirai is an outsider practically everywhere.
A little related, perhaps, to the 'Mirai greeting his niisan-tachi' scenes, but, I pity Daigo more when he was trying to rally for help. Everyone seems to think he should have left his days of believing in Ultraman behind. It is difficult to begin with, even if he has been Ultraman, like Mirai, and has simply come to find the rest of the Ultramen. But Daigo, for all he knows, has been living as a normal human being. I think it doubles or triples the difficulty when he isn't even 100% sure of what he's rallying for. (Yes, I think he believes in Ultraman (and the dreams he has), but he isn't yet one in reality, so cannot really speak from the position of authority, of someone who has already experienced being 'Ultraman'.)
Gamu doesn't really seem like Gamu in this movie: he seems oh-so serious. It makes me feel like they could have gotten another actor for him and the story wouldn't really change at all. (I never felt that for the TV series Gamu, though. I wouldn't have liked anyone else playing Gamu there.) Daigo seems more approachable/down to earth in this movie than his TV series counterpart. (I would say Gamu should have Daigo's role of gathering people, since TV series Daigo never seemed that much alive, for all that I like him. But I'm aware that this is a Daigo movie, so...he has to throw the aloof but kind of god-like personality out the window?) Asuka, for what I could make out, seems to have a little more sense than the one in TV series, but it did throw me off a bit to hear Asuka addressing Daigo as 'Daigo' and not 'Daigo-san' like he did in the TV series. Not that any of these really surprises me, though. The three of them had never been brought together in the same show/movie before (the aforementioned Gaia movie doesn't really count, since only the Ultras showed up), so it's probably difficult to decide their personality so that they can co-exist and the storyline wouldn't be changed so much. Anyway, romance-wise, it seems they are all settled, thank goodness. (Hey, bonus, even Fujimiya and Reiko.) I'd wondered about the romance thing when I didn't want to talk about this movie. Now, if only I know what they all talk about in their individual scenes...
I think the personalities of the older guys are probably more intact (seeing that they have been in many crossovers together already), but I'm not really an expert, seeing that I never watched Jack past episode 7 or 8 and only a few episodes of Ace. And it's nice to see their families, too (especially Gou's wife (whose name I don't know, and ashamed to say, haven't caught) and Anne since I don't remember seeing them recently). And hey, I'm happy to have it confirmed that Rena is Hayata's daughter on screen at last. :)
As for cameos, I'm bad with matching faces and names, but I'm sure I'd seen the first oji-san before (one of Miji seijin in Dyna?). Still, there are plenty of easy to identify people and I'm probably not going to be the one compiling their names.
I might get the kids mixed up, but I think the smallest one (who wished to be bigger) was Asuka, the one wearing a cap was Gamu, and the remaining one was Daigo. At a time like this, it would really help me to understand the wishes they made when seeing the falling star (shooting star)????
Randomly, Mirai can apparently travel back and forth between worlds with ease. (I don't like that for far too personal reason, I think, and not really because that ability has no real built-up.) Whether it's a one time thing or an all time thing remains to be seen...probably.
More randomly, why don't I see cell phones on any of the main characters? Granted, I've never really seen one in the various Ultra TV series either, but I'm just thinking that in Kamen Rider series, everyone seems to carry a cell phone. Perhaps a communicator is more multi-functional than a cell phone anyway, but in this movie, where these people are supposedly normal humans and not working for monster fighting organizations, why doesn't anyone seem to have a cell phone?
All in all, I like this movie a lot. Perhaps that might be because I had my expectation set so low. Even the tone mismatched (the first serious half with all the human drama and the more cartoon like second half where the final fight is taking place) doesn't phase me much. (The second half reminds me of the first movie, though, but seems like vastly better special effects. 'Cartoon' isn't exactly the word I want above either, but I can't think of a better one at the moment.) Generally, I think it is very much a visually pleasing movie, if nothing else. (Yes, even that ship; I'm too weird.)
I'm sure I'd forgotten something. Oh well, I think I'll write more when I actually understand the dialogue... (And, yes, I know it's my journal, but I'm sorry if I sound too annoying about wanting to understand the movie. It's no pressure and no hurry for the subtitles. I simply find it frustrating for me personally when I try to learn Japanese and don't have much to show for it yet.)