Terra Formars (Blu-ray release 2016-9-2) is a live action adaptation of a manga, about a team of men and women who battle human-form, highly evolved and excessively strong, deadly and murderous cockroaches on Mars, by undergoing a high-risk surgery and taking injections to obtain bug-like superpowers.  Although reviews of this movie are bad, at least it’s significantly more watchable than the disastrous live action Attack on Titans.

This live action movie consists of materials from the first volume of the manga, and corresponds to the two-episode 2014 OVA which act as a prequel before the 13-episode season 1 anime (2014).  The movie made some changes, the largest change being that the team is now mostly criminals, and some of their personalities are changed as well.  Some changes are stupid – such as not informing the team of the lethal larger-than-human cockroaches when they go out to explore, while others improve the original plot such that certain plot points or transitions make slightly more sense.

The major problem of the movie is that most characters seem to exist just so they can die, not unlike many horror movies.  Although most of them are given some background, the sheer number of team members limit the screen time for each, so the audience does not care about them dying.  For me, this movie works surprisingly like a Kamen Rider show, but with a better plot and without the heroes shouting “Henshin!” while transforming.  It also reminds me of Starship Troopers (1997), which was of course badly reviewed, but I loved it even with its huge amount of stupidity.  Comparing against the average Kamen Rider shows and even worse Starship Troopers sequels, I will declare that even with some flaws, this movie is enjoyable – at least it is not yet another Alien (1979) clone.

Those who are interested enough in the story after watching the movie, can go to watch season 1 (2014) to find out what happens next.

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