Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial appears to have been filmed entirely in front of a green screen. It could have been made in someone’s basement. There are no sets, just some costumes, a fog machine, and a ton of cheap CGI. It may have a short ingredient list, but so do sugar cookies, and they’re delicious. They’re not as good as chocolate chip cookies, or those Samoa Girl Scout Cookies, but that is a bar so high that only the likes of Kurosawa and Tarkovsky could hope to measure up. In a game of Would You Rather, which would you choose; watching Seven Samurai or eating a box of Samoas? Would you choose Egger’s The Witch over a package of Oreos? Double Stuf? Would you want to “live deliciously” with Black Philip, or eat deliciously with 140 calories per serving? Wow! I think I found a whole new rating system. A Touch of Evil or a plate of lasagna? Porn or Pizza? The possibilities are endless!
Anyway Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial is pretty entertaining, despite its lack of effort. It’s one in an endless string of Ultraman productions. There has never been a time since Ultraman’s debut in 1966 when there hasn’t been some incarnation of Ultraman zapping across a screen somewhere. I’ve seen hundreds of television episodes and a dozen or so movies. Generally, I stay away from anything after the ’80s, but Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial is from 2010, and I’m glad I watched it. I’d say about half a pack of Nutter Butters glad.
Do I really need to relay the plot? The good guys want the magic thing, but the bad guys have the magic thing, so they all fight over the magic thing, but it’s only through teamwork, humility, and self-sacrifice that the good guys manage to win the magic thing. The bad guys get very close to winning the magic thing and laugh maniacally, but in the end, the good guys are triumphant. That’s not the point. The point is that they have really great costumes and they can do super-fancy karate moves while flying through outer space, or a cheap CGI approximation of outer space.
I would like to take a moment to thank the subtitle-generating AI for its descriptions of the soundtrack. It was very thorough. It informed me when the “instrumental music” was “soft”, “martial”, “tense”, “mystical”, “exciting”, “dark”, “dramatic”, “softly dramatic”, “triumphant”, “sad”, “gentle”, or “emotional”. It also informed me about certain sound effects like “grunting”, “booming”, and “blooping”. I’m not sure what “blooping” is, but I have provided a still below.
Some other movie tidbits of note are the flamboyant space pirates. They don’t do much but speak in pirate grammar and wear flouncy costumes, but that is enough to justify their entertaining, if confusing presence. They’re worth half a Snickerdoodle at least. The other fun, little nugget is the two-dimensional people. They live in a giant cosmic mirror somewhere. Like the pirates, they don’t do much in the film, which is a shame, because two-dimensional thought experiments are always fun, but the film just throws them in for color.
In the end, there really isn’t much I can say about Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial. It’s a kid’s movie that uses the time-honored lineage of Ultraman to deliver a Saturday morning’s worth of vapid karate fights and kaiju. It’s a little better than some of the others, but they’re all pretty much the same. I’d say it’s worth a whole bag of Chips Ahoy, but I don’t really like Chips Ahoy. They taste like cardboard.
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