Bionicle VII: Sea of Darkness (also known as Bionicle 7 and Bionicle Ignition 2: Ruins of the Lost in Europe) is a 1987 Vlokuzuian sci-fi action tokusatsu film. It is the thirteenth Technic Heroes installment and the seventh Bionicle installment.
The film starts straight after the events of Bionicle VI: Island of Doom, Ryota Maximino, Akita's father hires the six teenagers as the workers of the MURC (Mahri Underwater Research Centre), near Abeta.
13 months later, the Mask of Life's descent ends in the deeps of Mahri near the MURC, an underwater basement. Upon sight, it becomes an object of interest to the people who are working for MURC as well as the Barraki; six former warlords sent to the Pit (a prison that sits on the lip of the city) after their crimes as part of the League of Six Kingdoms.
But after the Pit was damaged in the Great Cataclysm, they escaped into the surrounding ocean and were mutated by its mutagen waters. Believing the mask can change them back so they can rule the Kingdoms once again, the Barraki battle one another for possession of the Ignika.
Meanwhile, the Toa Inika continue their descent through the stone cord where they battle Vezon and an army of murderous Zyglak. Upon reaching the depths of the sea, the Mask of Life transforms the heroes into the water-breathing Toa Mahri - complete with new masks and weapons and fought for their lives against the 300-foot-long Venom Eel. Meanwhile, Youta was killed by the enlarged Gadunka.
The team engages in combat with the Barraki and their aquatic Rahi armies upon arrival, but in the midst of the battle, Matoro is imprisoned in the Pit by a robotic Maxilos guard that reveals itself as Makuta Teridax, who possessed the robot after his essence followed the Toa through the stone cord.
He informs Matoro that Mata Nui's life can only be saved if the Toa shatter the cord, and although not trustful in the villain's words, he relays the information to his teammates. They agree and evacuate MURC members from the secondary basement before proceeding to destroy the cord; sending one of Mahri's islands plummeting into the ocean and demolishing MURC's secondary basement in the process.
But by the time the Toa Mahri retrieve the Ignika, Mata Nui dies. Believing there's still hope, Matoro - the one person who can touch the Ignika without becoming cursed - races towards a hole in the seabed with one of the Mahri's former islands before it descends to close it, leaving his team to continue battling the Barraki.
Once in, he falls through a waterfall in what resembles a large cave and hears a voice from inside the mask telling him to put it on. In doing so, Matoro learns of the Ignika's history and how to use it to resurrect the Great Spirit.
Now knowing it is his destiny to sacrifice himself to save the universe, Matoro uses the Ignika's powers to teleport the Toa Mahri back to El Kadsre and make them amphibious before the mask turns his body into pure energy that saves the Great Spirit. Meanwhile, the Maxilos body that Teridax inhabited is found badly damaged after a ferocious battle with the Barraki's armies and is so presumed dead. Mata Nui has been saved but remains asleep.
- Antanico Matsushita as Akita Maximino/Jaller
- Goro Yukimura as Hiroshi Yoshimura/Matoro
- Sandra Ozlins as Danny Ripley/Hahli
- Phillip Stringer as Leo Terrell/Kongu
- Zlata Lugnov as Irwin Davey/Hewkii
- Talon Winter as Wilson Harshal/Nuparu
- Garnet London as Pridak
- Hideki Takahashi as Ehlek
- Terrence Nash as Carapar
- Zeke Simpson as Kalmah
- Zinoviy Vasilyev as Mantax
- Kenta Hisakawa as Takadox, Vezon
- Minoru Hayashi as Ryota Maximino
- Kichirou Ito as Yuuto Maki, Premutated Pridak
- Kouki Hashimoto as Nik Nakahara
- Cal Gardener as Bristol Trent
- Ryota Ružička as Hikaru Kato, Teridax
- Marcel Casey as Dekar Hamilton
- James Earl Jones as Hydraxon (voice)
- Doug Jones as Hydraxon (costume)
- Jurou Yamashita as Takuya Yamaguchi
- Vendelín Černý as Aden Aylmer
- Sandra Harper as Teresa Donalds
- Qasim Amjad as Chinasa Opeyemi
- Ayumu Takahashi as Hachirou Oshiro
- Gregory Ayers as Maxwell Coupe
- Saburo Yamauchi as Yuota Francis
- Arata Tachibana as Souta Minami
- Rick Sowards as Nathanaël Philips
- Georgie Roderick as Bruce Willhelm
- Deven Elliott as Lenny Jon
- Misaki Fujita as Mitsuko Mori
- Minato Ueda as Seong-Jin Fukui
- Miguel Ferrer as Daren Elvis
- Willem Dafoe as Layne Stanley
- Sho Nakajima as Ryo Watanabe
- Yuudai Fujimoto as Souta Yamamoto
- Taro Yamada as Fred Tamashi
- Eric Stoltz as Frank Harriett
- Hideki Hamasaki as Jiro Fujioka/Tahu
- Jonacus Reinder as Adam Jullen/Kopaka
- Yasi Tanaka as Hana Fujioka/Gali
- Sylvester Jalen as Andrea Hashimoto/Lewa
- Hank Jeroem as Mick Kendal/Pohatu
- Dean Norman as Jarrod Baxter/Onua
- Christopher Berger as Turaga Vakama
- Vaughn Nathans as Turaga Nuju
- Maja Prebensen as Turaga Nokama
- Mervyn Cropper as Turaga Matau
- Akira Yamaguchi as Turaga Onewa
- Noach Irwin as Turaga Whenua
- Haruka Yukimura as Toa Lesovikk
- Shichirou Yamasaki as Nocturn
- Shouhei Fujita as Karzahni
- Arata Oshiro as Axonn
- Harve Bachchan as Brutaka
- Marvyn Atkinson as Zaktan
- Lorne Fear as Hakann
- Alger Black as Avak
- Jerrold Spence as Vezok
- Takara Maki as Thok
- Max Fairchild as Reidak
- Jepson Macías as Davey Stewie
- Ryuichi Sakamoto as Rin Mishimoto
- David Gale as Makuta Icarax
- Yoko Mizushima as Roodaka
- Danica Reynolds as Helryx
- Osamu Ueda as Yuuki Maeda/Norik
- Ken Fujita as Hibiki Oshiro/Kualus
- Kazue Fukui as Yumi Koizumi/Gaaki
- Hayato Nakano as Sota Yamasaki/Iruini
- Takahiro Hisakawa as Jiro Kimura/Pouks
- Tarou Kawaguchi as Shiro Nakajima/Bomonga
- Merit Hongo as Akira Hall
- Eldon Timberlake as Josh Nelsen
- Jayden Phillip as Johnathan Knight
- Paden Albinson as Aric Irving
- Deon Scrivener as Gerald Sands
- Ryota Holt as Go Hawkerson
- Isamu Himura as Kenta Kato, Triangular
- Minato Maeda as Miyu Kato
- Hitomi Abe as Etsuko Kato
- Sunan Atitarn as Masaru Kato
- Yuzuki Maki as Masaru Kato
- Naoki Takenaka as Sachiko Kato
- Zhong Ma as Suzu Kato
- Jon Ebne as Reynold Brent
- Rin Yamaguchi as Kuro Yoshimura
- Shizuka Matsushita as Minoru Yoshimura
- Brodie as Sammy
- Kimberly A. Gere as MURC employee #1
- Brock Baker as MURC employee #2
- Stéphane Archambault as MURC employee #3
- Halil E.P.B. Gumar as MURC employee #4
- Missy Jones as a dancer in the jazz club
- Andrew Kayos as a MURC security guard (uncredited)
- Carman as the jazz singer (uncredited)
- Hiroto Sasaki as Taro Maeda (cameo; uncredited)
- Steve Dahl as the dance party MC (uncredited)
Filming of Bionicle VII: Sea of Darkness lasted from May 3 to August 26, 1986. Despite the film taking place in underwater and in the underwater basement, the movie was almost filmed entirely in Studio 3 of the El TV Kadsre Television Centre for the inside and underwater scenes, while the outside scenes are filmed in Abeta and El Kadsre City. The underwater backgrounds were shot in the southern Arito Sea via the submarine.
To film the underwater scene, cosplayed actors were tied in belts, connected with ropes painted in the color where it matches the color of the chroma key. In the final shot, the ropes and belts were removed. Three colored chroma keys were used in the movie, were lime green, blue and red. The Rahi, submarines, any sea species, and the scene where the core collapse in the movie was CG animated by CiGiWOW, while the Turaga are animated by CCGG.
The film was premiered at the 41st Abeta Festival on June 1, 1987, while the film was released in theaters in the Vlokozu Union on June 15, 1987. It was released internationally in July 1987. Theatrically, the film was accompanied by the El TV Kadsre short, The Magic Portal.
The film was released on VHS, TVD, and Laserdisc in November 1987 while the extended version was released in January 1988 as part of the Technic Heroes Extended Pack and alternate version, released in October 1990. Bionicle VII: Sea of Darkness was the last Technic Heroes movie to be released on Betamax and the only Technic Heroes film to be released on EVD. The film was first released on DVD on June 15, 1997 and a Philips CD-i version of the 1997 release was also made. It was released on VHS and Laserdisc in the United States on December 1987 by Vestron Video.
Lionsgate re-released the film on DVD and Blu-Ray in the United States under it's revival of the Vestron Video label in 2018
A DVD release contained within a birthday card was issued by El TV Kadsre Home Entertainment and PartyPlannerz in 2015.
They are differences between the original and European version of the movie. In the original, the song in the dance scene is Holy Word by I'm Talking and the credits song is Face Me by Rinava while in the European version has some scenes in the movies that were swapped and the dance scene is Cccan't you see by Vicious Pink while the credits song in the European version is Crashed, the another song from Rinava.
|Golden Mantis Award at the Abeta Festival||Pasi Peure||Won|
|Top prize at the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Film Festival||Nominated|
|VAC Award for Best Film||Won|
|VAC Award for Best Young Artist||Naoki Takenaka||Won|
|VAC Award for Best Voice Artist||Christopher Berger||Won|
|1988||Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay||Sung Gim||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor||Jurou Yamashita||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Costume Design||Susumu Bramley||Won|
|Academy Award for Best Visual Effects||CiGiWOW||Nominated|
In December 1986, El TV Kadsre launched the website for MURC, used to promote the movie. MURC's official website is just in the simple professional-style design. There was four links, Home, News, Staff and About Us, if the cursor is in one of those links, the Barraki logo can be shown for the split second. If the viewer is on the website for 1 minute, the picture of the Barraki would be shown for the split second. MURC's website was shut down in June 1988 and was redirected to El TV Kadsre's official website.
The film received positive reviews from critics. Bionicle VII: Sea of Darkness was one of the most memorable Bionicle films behind Quest for the Masks, Bionicle IV, Bionicle VI, and Bionicle VIII and it grossed more than Bionicle VI: Island of Doom, grossing $912 million at the box office in 2 months, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1987 unlike Bionicle VI, which only grossed at $767 million. The film holds a 61% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film was somehow criticized for focusing mostly at MURC than the Barraki and the Toa Mahri.