Star Blazers movie will save Earth

Fighting with the Gamilons, they won't stop until they've won. Or at least until they hit multiplexes. The seminal 1970s Japanese animated series Star Blazers is set to blast onto the big screen.

Benderspink, the production company behind American Pie, The Ring, and A History of Violence, among others, is readying a big-screen adaptation of the animated space opera. The company is teaming on the film with the current rights holder of Star Blazers, Josh C. Kline. So far, no writer, director, or actors have been attached to the project.

The series, which was called Space Battleship Yamato in Japan and renamed Star Blazers for the US, premiered in 1974 and 1977, respectively. The story of Star Blazers was similar to Battlestar Galactica.

In the year 2199, space baddies the Gamilons irradiate the surface of the Earth, forcing the remaining humans underground. The humans receive a message from a distant planet offering help, so they build a powerful space warship using the old hull of the WWII battleship Yamato (in the US version, the ship's name was changed). The new space battleship sets off across the galaxy to save Earth, along the way encountering a lot of hostile aliens and the like.

In the 1990s, two resurrections of Yamato were attempted. In the first, the former Japanese holder of the rights was moving forward with a sequel series, called Yamato 2520, when his production company went bankrupt. At another time, the Walt Disney Company bought the rights for a live-action remake. A script by Tab Murphy (Tarzan) was completed before the project was shelved.

The real battle ship Yamato is a fascinating symbol to the Japanese of the possibilities, and hubris, of man.

Built in 1941, the Yamato and her sister ship the Musashi were the largest battleships ever built, and symbols of Japanese engineering prowess. WWII marked a pivotal shift in warfare, with victory going no longer going to who controlled the seas but to who dominated the skies.

In 1945, US forces invaded the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. The Yamato was sent to lead a suicide misson, called Operation Ten Go, to inflict as much damage as possible on the US fleet. US aircraft spotted the Yamato 200 miles from Okinawa, and the bulk of the Japanese fleet was destroyed before ever reaching US forces.

Countless books have been written about the ship's brief life, and in 2005 a big-budget Japanese movie was made called simply Yamato.

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