The feature subtitled "The Empty Battlefield" is comprised of recut episodes of Gundam Seed (2002), with some bits of new animation--a practice that goes back to the original Gundam series (1979) and the first three features. This film includes material from the first 20 Seed episodes, or about one-third of the series.
In the year 71 of the Cosmic Era (rather than the "Gundam Saga" timeframe or the "Alternate Universe"), Kira Yamoto accidentally becomes a mecha pilot when he stumbles onto the top secret Strike Gundam during an attack on his home satellite-colony, Heliopolis. Although the war is technically between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, it's really a conflict between the human "Naturals" and the genetically enhanced "Coordinators." The movie and the broadcast series offer the ingredients of a classic Gundam saga: a reluctant warrior, a masked enemy general, and an old friend who tests the hero's loyalty. Cutting the running time so substantially moves the action along a breakneck pace, but leaves little time for character development. Director Mitsuo Kukada uses CG to choreograph some very snazzy mecha battles, in space, within Heliopolis, and on Earth, often with a fine disregard for the laws of physics. (Rated 13 and older: violence, brief nudity) --Charles Solomon
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