Words: Desmond “Neo” Childs
The less children on-screen the better
I guess after watching the 16th installment, I sorta came to a realization about the last half dozen films in the movie series: The quality is somewhere below an actual theatrical film, and just a tick above a television special. And the resulting experience neither “wows” the audience nor does it disappoint; at least on the most basic level of entertainment. There’s the typical mysteryConan Edogawa and company encounter. The story continues to play out, with several clues strategically dropped along the way for the audience to sniff out. And when the second half of the movie kicks off, the pace does pick up. However, there is something noticeably lacking in key parts of the movie.
Where’s the real suspense?
Mind you, the danger that the threats in this movie pose, are veryreal. Real adult threats. In a family-movie, a plot centered around a spy giving away hyper-sensitive Intel on a US-funded Sonar system doesn’t sound like it would hold the interest of children. That is until you consider that the intended audience of children are Japanese. I’m not necessarily suggesting this film is too high brow in it’s content for an American child to comprehend and enjoy; but there is a distinct patriotic flair underlying the entirety of the picture.
Private Eye in the Distant Sea is a tribute to the Japanese navy
In a franchise where many of the core characters are below the age of 20; many of them are mature beyond their years. Heck, Conan Edogawa and Heji Hattori are two 17-year old, genius detectives. Ran Mouri is highly proficient in karate. And even her pal, Sonoko Suzuki is a teen anxious to become an adult. Why should that matter? Because when a movie starring a genius-level detective feels more like it was made for an older audience, there is an inevitable disconnect with a younger audience. Yes there are a handful of children in this feature, but the movie often sweeps them to the side in favor of the more grown-up espionage and murder plot. The two kids integral to the entire picture, are Conan and another little boy who has been kidnapped. And honestly, the less children on-screen the better. Most of the time, the kids would appear to unintentionally block Conan from where he needed to be, or they would wander into an area of the giant, navy vessel they had no business being. So in other words, they were being kids; relegated to being nothing more than observers of the action and then later, to ramp up the emotional factor to get the audience to weep along with them.
The movie itself was a solid experience albeit one better suited for a 4-part episode run on theanimeseries. I liked getting to see Ran fighting to protect the little boy, and there were some choice scenes involving Heji and his girl-friend (Friend that is a girl, of course) Kazuha Toyama. I won’t spoil it, but fans of the pair will get a decent return toward the end of the film. The series lead, Conan Edogawa was in classic form, which may or may not be good news for fans of the franchise who would actually like to see him struggle to solve a case for once. I will say, for all intents and purposes, that the last fifteen minutes of the film felt a bit tacked on and was easily the least believable of the film. I guess the power of love will always win the day, am I right? Here’s looking forward to the next regular film in the series which should drop sometime next Spring. But before then, we get to see our favorite little detective in a rematch with none other thanLupin the 3rd. My body is ready, is yours?