Ultraman is a long-standing tokusatsu (Japanese superhero) show. This film is a crossover between two iterations for the character from the late 1990s. Although I’ve seen some Ultraman, the storyline of this film was difficult to follow. From what I can gather, each Ultraman series follows a different “ultra-being” from the “Land of Light.” In Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna (the respective series on which this film is based), the ultra-being is deployed by a pseudo-military organization called Super-GUTS.
Super-GUTS sends Ultraman Dyna to the moon to fight some monsters sent by an evil alien race known as the Monera, hideous CGI creatures straight out of Butt Ugly Martians.
Ultraman Dyna is unable to defeat anything the Monera throw at him, and one amongst the ranks of Super-GUTS is revealed to be controlled by them. They soon gain power over Super-GUTS’s new battleship, Prometheus, as well. Ultraman Dyna and Super-GUTS are backed into a corner, so what are they gonna do? Resurrect Ultraman Tiga, of course.
Once Dyna and Tiga team up, the Monera join forces and form Queen Monera, a more traditional man-in-suit kaiju monster. The two Ultra-beings quickly wipe the floor with Queen Monera, though, and the world is safe once again.
This film has so many “homages” to Star Wars, it’s ridiculous. From the music to giant space battleships flying over the camera, to a war room scene almost identical to the one in A New Hope, the whole Super-GUTS team has George Lucas’s dick all the way down their throats.
Like many modern tokusatsu shows and films, Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna relies too heavily on very primitive, bad CGI, and not enough on what makes this stuff entertaining in the first place: practical, stop-motion or man in suit effects. Those effects are fun to look at, and the process for creating them is fascinating. Once you’ve seen the documentary on the Jurassic Park DVD, you know how any CG creature is created, and it’s boring. Tokusatsu is one of the final frontiers of practical special effects, and it’s sad whenever they rely on new, more “state-of-the-art” digital nonsense. I weep.
Still, when you do get traditional effects, Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna is a blast, even if I’d recommend other tokusatsu films, like the genuinely good Kamen Rider ZO or the absolute insanity of Gaoranger Vs. Super Sentai over it.