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Know the subject first.
on July 18, 2010
First, I lived in Japan for six years, was in the U.S. Navy, toured the Battleship Mikasa and two U.S. Battleships, and read Admiral Yamamato's biography.
I ordered this DVD with the PBS Nova DVD, "Sinking the Supership", which re-uses some of the footage from this film. I'd also read the Wikipedia entry on the Yamato a few times.
With that background and a little knowledge of Japanese, I was able to watch this movie; I thought the CGI was cheap; the whole ships shakes when a small shell hits, but the ship doesn't roll in the sea, or even list when the ship makes a fast turn.
The star of the show, at least for me, was the English subtitles: "By 1941, Japan controlled Hong Kong, Singapore, Formosa and the Filipino." About every two minutes, the words on the screen are the opposite of what's going on in the movie. I wondered if they'd sail to Okinawa by way of Denver.
The character "Uchida" (right-hand face on the cover displayed here) looks like a Japanese double for Sean Penn. When he barks one-syllable orders in combat, he sounds like Sean Penn, too!
If you liked the movie "Pearl Harbor", this is for you. If you preferred "Tora, Tora, Tora!", I'd suggest the Nova DVD "Sinking the Supership".