The director could easily have been James Cameron or Clint Eastwood. Or even Spielberg. The CGI is stunningly accurate with every single USN bird having the correct squadron markings, weathering, etc. Like Cameron, the film has a FARGING ENORMOUS set of the battleship where you can feel the sheer size of this ship. The gun positions, gear, etc, are all highly accurate. Our "hero" is part of the crew of a triple 25mm AA mount and everything was researched to the Nth degree. The film is 100% time period. In other words, there's no one running around with a 1990's hair cut or modern shoes, etc. The actions of the cast are exactly as they would have been during that time.
The film is not a history lesson nor is it an apology. In fact, it's not an excuse either. "How" or "why" Yamato is at war is irrelevant. The Americans are neither demonized nor justified. It is a fight between two adversaries. How the adversaries came to be fighting each other is touched upon but again - no apologies are made nor are any excuses made. The film does not want your sympathy nor does the film want to escape blame. It is clear that the decisions being made are Japanese decisions. Tons of survivors were interviewed and the dialog reflects the reality of that final mission. Again, there are no apologies nor are there any "woe is me, we are victims" being said. The officers understand the crew's frustrations and several key questions most of us have regarding "why" sane men would willingly go off to war are answered.
The answer is digested by the crew and hopefully by you the viewer, as well. Like Titanic, there is survivor's guilt by the hero. Like Saving Private Ryan, the final battle is as graphic as it can be. There's reality. The Charge-Of-The-Light-Brigade mentality is evident as hand-aimed anti-aircraft guns attempt to fence with hundred mile per hour aircraft. No punches are pulled and there is no intimation that our hero will knock plane after plane out of the sky and save his ship. In fact, the futility of the day is discussed by all, prior and during the attack. It really is target practice for the USN and again, the American pilots are not portrayed as heartless round-eyed devils but "fellow warriors meeting us on the battlefield."
The savagery and speed of naval combat is evident in the filming. Death comes quickly to those destined to meet it. Near misses kill as bloodily and savagely as direct hits. Five hundred and one thousand pound bombs make a mess. I am reminded of the final scene of SPR where Tom Hanks fires his pistol in vain at the Tiger tank. The crew of Uchida's triple 25mm fire their last rounds and each man stays at his post. The film debunks several myths of the final battle that I'll keep secret. On a scale of 1 - 10 I rate the film a 67. Like Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, it is an eye opener. I'm warning you now...the film is also a tear jerker. All in all tho, it is time well spent.