When Ultraman first hit Japanese televisions in 1966, it was the biggest thing around. Literally. And for over 55 years, the franchise has been a nigh-perennial installation. But, save for seasonal spinoff films, most fans won’t have seen the giant silver-and-red hero on the big screen. That is, until last year’s Shin Ultraman, from Shin Godzilla director Shinji Higuchi and writer-producer Hideaki Anno. It was a major hit in Asia, and played the festival circuit in the west. I saw it; I loved it. Twice. Now, thanks to Fathom Events, fans in the United States will get to see the movie across the country.
And to celebrate the movie—which will screen subtitled on January 11 and dubbed on January 12—Fathom has given us an exclusive clip of the first three minutes of the movie. If you don’t think you’d get much kaiju action that early on, you are very wrong.
I love the first three minutes of this movie. It perfectly sets up everything you need to know, while at the same time giving existing fans a fun reference. You see, prior to Ultraman, Tsuburaya Productions had a show called Ultra Q which was about three humans investigating various monsters and supernatural occurrences. It’s a great show. The jaunty music we hear in the opening of the above clip is the Ultra Q theme, and the monsters we see, like Gomess and Peguila, all debuted in that series.
From there we learn that, to battle these kaiju, the Japanese government launched the SSSP, or S-Class Species Suppression Protocol. This small group of intelligence experts learn about and find solutions to the many monster problems. They are the heroes of Shin Ultraman even before Ultraman himself appears. It’s great stuff.
Much like Shin Godzilla, Shin Ultraman looks at how government and bureaucracy deals with the unfathomable. It’s not quite as cynical as the earlier film, but it’s no less satirical. And what’s better than a fun special effects adventure that holds a lens to the silliness of government red tape? Plus they directly call out how kaiju only ever seem to attack Japan.
Tickets for Shin Ultraman can be purchased at Fathom Events or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters participants are subject to change). Please contact your local theater for individual safety precautions.