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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 October 2012
This is a very disappointing film about a great and eminent man and leader of men. Life and achievements of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet of Japanese Imperial Navy from August 1939 to April 1943, deserved a much better film than this sugarcoated propaganda.

The film is not entirely without merits. In its first half it shows very accurately Yamamoto, in his quality of Deputy-Minister of Navy and later Commander-in Chief of Combined Fleet, as a very lucid adversary of Japanese imperial expansion. Yamamoto indeed objected both against the war in China in 1937 and the joining of Tripartite Pact, feeling that those developments would cause an unavoidable conflict with United States - a war which he knew pretty well Japan had only limited chances to win. In taking very openly this stance he put his life at great risk, but never changed his mind. His courage and moral integrity were never in doubt and by insisting on this aspect this film does a good job.

Yamamoto as caring husband, loving father and loyal friend is also well shown in the first half of the film. His insistance on modernisation of the fleet and especially its carriers and planes and also his strict refusal of suicidal missions are also truly described. Finally, his correct appreciation of disappointing results of Pear Harbor attack, Nagumo's early retreat and moral effect of declaration of war delivered AFTER the attack took already place, all those elements are true and they are well shown.

If only this film could have kept this quality level for all its duration, it could be an excellent and precious thing. Very SADLY, the second part, beginning as soon as attack against Pearl Harbor ended, has hardly anything to do with history any more and is so abysmally bad, that it ruins the whole film.

It is since a long time an established consensus that past the first stage of conflict (after the triumphant Indian Ocean Raid in March and April 1942, not shown in this film) Yamamoto completely mismanaged the war - but you will not see ANY of those enormous errors in this pretty long film. You will certainly not see anything about the big mistake which was sending of only three carriers, divided in two groups, for operation against Port Moresby, allowing therefore Americans to engage them at battle of Coral Sea which was a bloody and messy draw, particularly costly for the Japanese.

You will not see anything even suggesting how terribly bad was Yamamoto's battle plan for the Midway campaign, which made certain that admiral Nagumo would have to fight Americans with only four carriers out of eight available. In order to absolve Yamamoto of all responsibility, this film prefers to blame some mysterious "secret" orders received by Nagumo from some unidentified official (most probably Admiral Nagano, Chief of Imperial Navy General Staff) before the battle.

Even worse, this film shows Yamamoto as a monument of stoic calm when during the battle of Midway he received news that "Akagi", "Kaga" and "Soryu" were hit and burning - in real life Yamamoto moaned in grief and almost collapsed, before suffering a complete meltdown during which he issued lots of completely absurd orders. Possibly the worst amongst those orders was the one sending four heavy cruisers (Cruiser Division 7) to shell Midway, without any air cover. After a couple of hours Yamamoto finally recovered his sanity and cancelled his orders - but it was already too late... As the result, heavy cruiser "Mikuma" was sunk by American planes with the loss of 700 men from her crew and her twin, "Mogami", was crippled and lost 90 more killed...

Things get even worse for Guadalcanal campaign, which was abysmally mismanaged by Yamamoto. His tendency to divide forces and his refusal to commit most of his battleships (and especially his hoarding of "Yamato", "Musashi", "Nagato" and "Mutsu" for some unspecified future "decisive battle") led to the situation in which Americans, who in autumn 1942 in the Pacific still were weaker than Japanese, could become STRONGER on the Guadalcanal front - and as result they won this long and bloody campaign... But you will not see even a hint at it in this film...

Yamamoto's death on another hand was shown rather skillfully and truthfully. It is also a moving scene, as it should be...

There are other weaknesses in this film. CGI's are not very good and especially "Yamato" is shown in a very disappointing way. Battle scenes are rather pathetic and the way battle of Midway is shown is simply ridiculous. Actor playing admiral Tamon Yamaguchi looks 20 years too young - and definitely nothing like this gifted and brave commander looked in real life. Yamamoto never seems doing any real work or giving any real military orders - he just naps, plays some Japanese board game, eats sweets, jokes with his men and occasionally hugs little girls (I almost expected him to get a puppy or save some kittens from drowning...).

Dialogs in second part of the film make frequently no sense at all, but it may be partly because of weak English subtitles, which are by the way full of errors - at Midway we can hear about fighters being armed with torpedoes(!), we hear names of warships which never existed, etc.

So bottom line, I believe that this film is a failure and is unworthy of such a great man. Because even if admiral Yamamoto proved to be finally a rather poor strategist and an even worse tactician, he certainly was a courageous and noble man and he deserved to be shown in all his human complexity, with his strengths and flaws. Instead, makers of "Admiral" opted mostly for a sugarcoated, worshipping hagiography - and as result they failed to produce a good film.
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on 5 February 2015
I had this movie before and I consider, although full of praise to Admiral Yamamoto, it lulls you you believe that the Japanese Navy was a happy group except the likes of Admirals like Nagumo Well that being accepted it is a first rated movie in the Japanese language on one man's life story. It is not effective both in the story or the effects (the obvious computer graphics in 'The Admiral') to 20th Century Fox's 'Tora Tora Tora' but, I think it is more to the point than say Charleston Heston's acting of 'Midway'. A ranking of 4 stars need to be given.
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on 23 May 2016
This tremendous Japanese film (with English subtitles) tells the story of the pragmatic and thoughtful Admiral Yamamoto as he is forced against his better judgment to take Japan in to Pearl Harbour, and the Battle of Midway. It's a film that covers a fairly wide sweep of history, and provides an insight, rarely available in the west, into the Japanese view of WW2. The actor playing Yamamoto is splendidly understated, and portrays the admiral as the sort of chap you'd be very pleased to have as a favourite uncle. The film is perhaps a tad overlong, but then it has a lot to say. Overall, it's excellent, and I'd say much more than 'just' a war film.
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on 28 December 2015
I brought this because it sounded a intresting film , but im sad to report its not a film at all, its more documentary ,which im not a big fan of ,there's very little in the way of anything you could call cinematic , and because of its 'talky' structure it feels very leaden to watch . Thats a shame because its acted very well and the CGI is beautiful ,but very little of it.

If you think Tora,Tora,Tora only made from the Japanese perspective ,but not so much action, than then thats about where this is. What i would like too see is this story told more from one of the 'little' people who took part in it rather than an all incompassing over view , CGI is the ideal tool for WWII action film making , i mean the models of T,T,Tora, were nice and the lack of 'other ships' in films like the Cruel Sea just can't be excepted anymore .I saw an interview with one of the pilots from one of the Japanese carriers once , i think it might have been on 'the world at war' and he told of what he saw when he returned from hes mission at the battle of Medway and saw his carrier on fire and he had to ditch into the sea ,he later got picked up, but the poor guy was in tears remembering it years later , thats the sort of film making id like to see more of or maybe someone could re-make The Dambusters with CGI sequences cut into the 50's classic , i still wince when the water is thrown into the air with one of most unreal effects ever made.

Some day a really good WWII film will be made , this isn't it.
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on 14 April 2016
An amazing film. It has subtitles in English but it does not detract from the film at all. Some fantastic scenes. A deeply touching portrayal of the personality of Admiral Yamamoto. For anyone interested in the history of the Second World War then this is a film not to be missed.
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on 8 June 2015
I liked it. I thought the acting to be good. On the negative side I thought it idealised a little too much the Japanese Navy and its famous Admiral, and it never once mentioned any of the very many atrocities Japanese Navy personnel were undoubtedly involved in during World War II, but, nevertheless I liked the film.
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on 30 November 2013
This movie was very well scripted and put together.The lead actor, Koji Yakusho, put in a great performance as Adm. Yamamoto, and put a softer face on the man, and the navy, that attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbour. I would say, that this is one of the best war movie that I have ever seen.The directors ability to present the political climate in Japan during the pre-war era is brilliant. This movie is a definate "must see" for all war buffs.
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on 21 March 2014
This is one of the movies I have on my list of films to see that are unlikely to make it to TV. I was intrigued to experience a Japanese war film on that most scandalous disaster (for both sides) event of WW2, Pearl Harbor. This has I think been done to death in other films and on TV but seldom from a non-US view. Key to that operation, which emulated in part the famous RN FAA action at Tarranto with Swordfish from RN carriers, was the planning headed by the subject of this movie Admiral Yammamoto. It is incidentally a tad confusing when he is aboard the super-battleship with a similar name.
So I watched all 2 hours and 20 minutes of it but there are no extras much so we cannot find out much about the making of etc.
Whether this is worth your time I cannot tell. For me it is another box ticked but I shall not return to it.
As another reviewer has pointed out the first half is watchable and stays within the facts. After Pearl the story seems to depart from what I had read about in books and seen in other coverage. And of course students of WW2 will know the upshot so it comes as no surprise.
OK, they tried to convey a larger-than-life character from recent Japanese history so this would be a big ask in a movie context. If you want to know the truth of this man and his career I suggest you buy a biography but this is as some have said, not so much warts and all but rather overly reverential. OK some men came come to serve their country in its direst need but they seldom make perfect contributions, IY was no exception. Sadly the film makes him look like a kindly gent, sad even. A victim. Of course this is nonsense and does him a disservice. What would have happened to him after the war were he have survived I hate to think.
He was one of the chief architects of the "Day of Infamy" and therefore in effect one of the baddest of the bad guys. Assassination of enemy leaders is nothing new and like today our own chiefs will seek out the key men and take care of them. I think Yammamoto knew what his fate must be and here the movie does convey his life fairly well. But it behooves us to be as clear as we can as to who are the heroes and villains of war, perhaps the distinction is relative, perhaps it is more marginal than we think.
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on 8 February 2016
Excellent Japanese movie covering Yamamoto's involvement in pre war politics & his opinion that Japan could not win a protracted war with America.
Good battles scenes & a good recreation of his final fatel flight to visit the front lines to boost morale.
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on 23 March 2015
Good character piece on Isoroku Yamamoto, head of the Japanese navy during WW2. Also potrays succintly the stuggles he and the navy
had with the militarists in the government. The film plays out very well the dilema between loyalty to country and opposition to ultra nationalism.
Highly recommended.
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