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Sayonara Jupeta

Bye-Bye Jupiter
Jupiter Inferno / Operation Jupiter / Sayonara Jupiter

Japan 1984
produced by
Sakyo Komatsu, Tomoyuki Tanaka (executive) for Kabushika Kaisha, Toho
directed by Koji Hashimoto, Sakyo Komatsu
starring Tomokazu Miura, Dangely Diane, Miyuki Ono, Rachel Huggett, Paul Tagawa, Kim Bass, Marc Panthona, Irwin Ron, William H. Tapier, Akihiko Hirata, Masumi Okada, Hisaya Morishige, Andrew Hughes, Jean Karcewski, Leonard Krause, Taiga Mori, Tatsuya Okamoto, Nobushi Takeuchi
screenplay by Sakyo Komatsu, based on his novel, music by Kentaro Haneda, special effects director: Koichi Kawakita

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD!

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Our solar system, the 2100s: Eiji (Tomokazu Miura) heads a mission to turn Jupiter into a second sun, to give light and energy to the outer planets, to make them inhabitable for the population of the earth that has long gone out of bounds. Of course, there's a cult back on earth, the Jupiter Church led by singer Peter (Paul Tagawa) that's of the opinion that Jupiter is to be left alone, and it regularly sabotages Eiji's mission. Interestingly, one of the core members of the Jupiter Church is Eiji's girlfriend Maria (Dangely Diane). Then a black hole is discovered heading directly for our sun, and hitting Jupiter in its path. So now a new plan is deviced, to blow up Jupiter to change the black hole's trajectory to avoid the sun to be swallowed up. Of course, the Jupiter Church is against this as well and intensifies its acts of sabotage, so much so that Eiji pays Peter a visit to ask him to stop - but Peter doesn't seem to understand, or want to understand for that matter. Anyways, a ring of space vessels that are to explode the Jupiter is set up around the planet, and of course, a quartet of Church members infiltrates one of them to blow it up ahead of time to deem the mission a failure. And of course, this mission is led by Maria, and of course, by mere coincidence they choose the very vessel Eiji's on. Maria and company almost succeed, too, but ultimately it all culminates in a shoot-out during which Maria realizes her love for Eiji is greater than for the Jupiter Church's cause, and the both of them stay behind on the vessel to make sure it explodes at the right time, even if that means letting their own lives in the process.

 

Now one thing, the special effects in this movie are pretty first rate for its time, and a far cry from what you've come to expect from Toho science fiction movies, especially of the giant monster variety - excerpts of one of which, Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster, are actually shown on a television one of the characters watches. And also in theme, this film is much more serious and sombre than what has come to expect from Japanese science fiction - and that's one of the problems of the film, it's maybe too serious, lacks any kind of relief. The other problem is, it stuffs too many topics in its already hefty 130 minute running time, topics that could all easily be made into their own movies, but that are only hastened through it his one. That said, the film's still worth a glance, it's intelligent - despite the science by now being pretty out of date -, it's well crafted, and again, it features great effects work. It's no masterpiece, but interesting in the best possible way.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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written by
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