At the opening ceremony of the WSG (World Sports Games) Tokyo Games, a sports festival held once every four years, it is announced that the world’s first vacuum superconducting maglev with a maximum speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour will open. While attracting attention from around the world, top executives of large companies are kidnapped from the party venue where WSG tournament sponsors gather. Conan moves toward a solution and eventually finds a connection with the WSG abduction case that occurred 15 years ago in Boston, USA.
Japan is celebrating the upcoming World Sports Games in Tokyo. The world’s first vacuum-tube super-conducting linear train is built with the latest Japanese technology and timed to coincide with the WSG opening ceremonies.
In-depth review free of movie 24 spoilers This is my first review here and English is not my first language, so I did the best I could!
Glad to visit again my hometown’s cinema (Girona, Catalonia) after corona outbreak and watch this film dubbed in Catalan, my mother tongue. Finally, a Detective Conan film is released almost worldwide the same day it opens in Japan! Public in my movie theater was about 50 people and 90% was over 16, being the other 10% children accompained by their parents.
Overall, this is a solid movie compared to the last ones. It revolves around a good case (for being a modern Conan movie): FBI, murders, kidnappings, Olympics, and thousands of people at risk. Animation is top-notch and a lot of important characters are shown working together -this blockbuster is a must-watch for any Detective Conan fan, but it has some drawbacks for people new to the franchise or Detective Conan adult fans looking for a good mystery film.
Script: story, case, characters and tone
Before saying anything about character or main story development, remember: this is a Detective Conan film, a side story to the main plot (the manga). It is not supposed (as of today) to deliver anything else than “fanservice”, so there is no character development affecting the main series.
About the case, it’s not the best nor the worst in the franchise, just average: people seeking their own justice in relation to tragic events that happened a few years ago… using violence and in the context of the Olympics. So the case is not really special, but the way the characters work together really is. In fact, it’s their interaction to solve the problems what I like the most about this movie: it feels natural to see how they work and relate together. Conan’s relationship with Ran and Ai’s partnership (and jealousy), Akai family collaborating together and the FBI people also working in a serious incident as a team, and even Kogoro worried about his family and the kids. There is a lot of good character fanservice, showing some of the best dialogue and interaction bits of the franchise in a long time (specially for Ai and Sera). The only one I felt missing was Heiji: almost all famous characters are there and part of the action is outside Tokyo, so I was expecting him for a small cameo that actually never arrived. Also, I’m glad they cut on Shonen Tantei screen time a lot compared to other films, thanks to this fact the most important parts of the film feel more adult and serious compared to the beginning.
Overall film pace is accelerated but well directed, with short emotional moments well mixed in-between the never-ending action sequences and some humour scenes to break the ice (Yumi or Ai nail it).
It follows the modern blockbuster way of doing cinema: action, action and more action with just a few minutes between the sequences leaving some time to the audience to relax and prepare for the next action sequence to come along. This kind of film, on its own, is not actually that bad… until you realize this was supposed to be a Detective Conan film, not a one starring Tom Cruise and his stunts. For me this is a drawback: less time spent in deduction and investigation and more in stunts and car chases means cases in newer movies are not as complex or attractive to solve for the viewer as the older ones.
The overall tone of Detective Conan anime and films, in my opinion, was better when the series was starting back in the 2000s. Newer episodes and films don’t have genuine dark moments and plots, they are really childish in this aspect. Just take a look at the new Moonlight Sonata remake: sure, people die and there is a reasonable amount of blood, but psychological dark moments are either missing or taken in a light way (like the dinner scene in this movie, when Kogoro is worried about his relatives). Even the manga is getting lighter, so I think it’s impossible for a show airing Saturdays at 6 PM, a family-friendly time slot, and well-known by both kids and adults in Japan, to change this aspect as of today, because of business issues.
However, this leads to some sequences too childish to be enjoyed by adults and some too difficult for small children (who will basically enjoy Conan’s action scenes). It’s different from a Pixar movie, where an adult and a child can read the same scene with different complexity levels for each: here you have only one -very- fluctuating level.
This film could have been a lot better if it had been directed only to +14 or +16 fans (like Marvel does). A darker atmosphere (or more mature at least) would have suited this movie a lot, maintaining humour but reducing sequences for kids. But knowing they’d lost a lot of public and revenue, they opted to create a weird mix between adults and kids films. And the result is disappointing. The intro scene and the technical explanations about MAGLEV trains and liquid helium explosions are aimed to adults (even if the superconductor graphics look childish), but child-friendly moments (like Genta acting like a dog, the kids having fun in a Kamen Yaiba show, the Agasa quiz or the final train scene) make adults think why are they watching this immature film -nostalgia factor wise. Hence, it’s a movie difficult to be fully understood outside the main action scenes for children but also awkward for adults, as it feels it is not serious or mature enough to be taken seriously and considered a good action and mystery movie. It’s in the middle of nowhere.
Also, some Japanese language and cultural jokes or the Agasa quiz are difficult to translate from Japanese. I hope knowing the next movie is going to be released around the World they write a more global-relase-friendly script.
Finally, the ending trick is weird as hell: I hate the impossible action endings we are given with every new film. I bet someone in the production comitee was like “Why don’t we think bigger? And we ended up here: what we see in this movie is totally crazy, neither possible in our real world or in the Fast&Furious films. Like the ferris wheel or the giant surfing board in older films, it’s absurd. I know current Conan films relate more to Fast&Furious, James Bond or Mission Impossible than to Agatha Christie’s Poirot, but down-to-Earth final scenes would improve A LOT Detective Conan’s films: endings that could be replicated in real life would make this films more mature and more suited for older fans.
Download Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet (2021)
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