I think I may have been waiting all my life to see Space Battleship Yamato done just like this. The movie is so true to the feel of the 1974 Starblazers I adored as a child, I really got to enjoy both the film and the trip down memory lane.
If you are a fan you will want to check this out!
I'll come clean from the get-go, my experience of Space Cruiser Yamato/Starblazers is a giant mess. Originally aired in Japan as Space Cruiser Yamato, heavily edited, translated and dubbed for the US market as Starblazers, I have seen both and mixed the two up in my head. I use Japanese character names but far prefer the Starblazers canon wherein the Yamato IS the WWII ship, raised, refurbished and sailed off to solve Earths environmental problems by kicking some Gamelon ass. That said, minus forgivable plot alterations to fit the story into a mere 2h 19m, they do a really good job. No one wants to see this film for the story, however.
The special effects are thrilling. HOT DAMN FANTASTIC! I don't care if they could have been better! When Kodai fires the Wave Motion Gun I teared up. There are Youtube collections of just the battle scenes. If you are a fan of the tv show, I think you may be doing yourself a disservice but I've got to say, this is fun stuff! When the Cosmo fighter squadrons go into action, I really get that anime space battle feel but in live action. FUN! FUN! FUN!
Takuya Kimura's Susumu Kodai is appropriately pained as the young leader with serious authority issues. He seems to have mastered bugging his eyes out and mugging for the camera true to the character and genre in ways that I found endearing. If you remember Analyzer 09, you'll likely go bonkers when he assumes his improved robot body! At first, I thought they'd turned him into a smartphone voiced by Ken'ichi Ogata, but Analyzer really gets a good show. Tsutomu Yamazaki's Captain Okita was also pretty much dead on. I laugh every time he gives an order, maybe not the best thing for Earth's last best hope.
I'd also like to point out the costumes seemed plenty accurate to me and the soundtrack pretty much spot on perfect. It certainly led to searching the internet for Kodai's jacket. They are out there.
If you want to experience a really great live action version of an anime classic, Space Battleship Yamato 2010 is probably as close as you'll come. Clearly, I had a great time.