Sailor Moon the Movie

Yes, it’s yet another Sailor Moon fan film! Actually, this is one of the earliest movies to have entered into production (at least it started releasing info earlier than the others). I think the first time I saw a trailer for it was in 2011, maybe 2010. Despite that fact, however, it was beaten to the punch by both Sailor Moon the Movie (Independent Short) and Dead Moon Circus, which both debuted ahead of it. Part One of this movie debuted on YouTube in November; no real word on Part Two yet:

Thus far the movie is mostly a remake of the first season of the English version of the anime with a few lifts from the live-action series. Since this movie has had a much longer gestation period than either of the two I’ve shared before, I had some higher expectations for it and in some ways they were met. I like the actresses who play Sailors Moon and Mercury. They capture the essence of their characters and bring a charming vitality to the roles. I appreciate that MaryBeth Schroeder doesn’t shy away from portraying the extreme familiarity bordering on obnoxiousness that is definitely part of Serena.

I was less impressed with the script, though. The story is very much a melding of the first and fifth episode of the anime in which Serena and Amy become Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury, and there are a few elements which are handled rather clumsily, mainly the Dark Kingdom and especially the Rainbow Crystals.

Do you know what they are? Well, the script doesn’t really tell you, so hopefully you do; otherwise they’re just some Mineral MacGuffins and the villains have a pretty unclear motivation or intent.

Really, the inclusion of the Rainbow Crystals is questionable anyway. Since they were an invention of the anime to help pad out the story for more episodes, including them in a condensed movie version seems ill advised, and their hasty introduction makes them seem like an afterthought. They’re mentioned, the bad guys already have more than half of them, and they have something to do with another crystal and/or gathering energy. A script supervisor or some revision over the lengthy production period probably would have helped their inclusion to be much less awkward.

What the extensive time spent on the movie has helped, however, are the visual effects which are really pretty good for the most part. When the movie tries to imitate the anime’s stock footage for transformations and attacks it’s pretty disappointing, but when it shows the effects of the attacks on the real world it’s very effective. Also, the digital scenery is incorporated very well and looks like a good deal of time and effort went into it.

Overall, it’s not my favorite of the fan films and with how long it’s been in production I’m less forgiving of its incomplete status, but it is fun. This one is definitely made for fans, and the enjoyment comes from seeing familiar characters and scenes portrayed in a new medium, rather than from any new ideas or thematic approaches to the story.