20th Century Boys DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 6.0
Video 7.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features   0.0
Audio 6.0
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 110
Classification:
 MA15+
Reviewer:
Hannah Lee

6.0


20th Century Boys
(Trilogy)

Most Japanese manga have a highly entertaining and engaging quality to their storytelling methods. Never afraid to experiment or take surprising turns, the same can be said about the intricately constructed trilogy of Twentieth Century Boys that projects the still images of a comic book onto the screen. Spanning the three films is an amalgamation of humour, serious notions regarding authoritarian governments and childhood friendships, and science-fiction style technology that have the ability to spray viruses and brainwash large communities. There’s a lot to handle, and the multiplicity of characters and important events can be a little overwhelming at times with four hundred and thirty seven minutes to get through, but Twentieth Century Boys proves to be entertaining enough to watch in its plot and its efforts to be original.  

Kenji (Toshiaki Karasawa) is an unlikely hero as an adult. As a kid, he had more than enough potential to save the world and change it with his love of rock music, but as time passed, such dreams became fantasies of the past as Kenji finds himself working in a convenience store, looking after his sister’s baby daughter. With news stories talking about a mysterious blood-draining virus affecting different countries all over the world, and disappearances happening right next door to Kenji, things take a dramatic turn for the worse as a increasingly powerful religious cult brings his childhood stories of world destruction into reality, headed by a childhood friend who calls himself… well, “Friend”. By the year 2015, Kenji’s niece finds herself living under Friend’s authoritarian regime that heralds new and dangerous potential for the destruction of mankind. And as the whole world begins falling under Friend’s power, it takes a unique band of heroes to overcome his oppressive rule. But whether they’ll be able to succeed against such great odds is as uncertain as Friend’s real identity.  

Playing with time, mysteries and open-ended conclusions, it is clear that Twentieth Century Boys makes the effort to be original and exciting. Having said that, some of these unconventional storytelling techniques used throughout the trilogy make it difficult to follow the story with ease, and can confuse the viewer due to the constant travelling back and forth in time. Similarly, the trilogy draws on overly sentimental music that doesn’t quite fit with the visual direction (which seems more suited to the Sci-Fi TV genre than film), making the films feel jarringly inconsistent as the audience is swung from humour to seriousness and back again. 

Nevertheless, the Twentieth Century Boys trilogy has a plot that is essentially compelling and exciting to watch. The films experiment with editing and often produce interesting effects that heighten tension or dramatic climaxes, propelled by the disturbing ideas of global domination and the complexities of childhood traumas and friendships. With special features that provide insight into the making of the trilogy, cast interviews and alternative endings, all three chapters of Twentieth Century Boys are uniquely different in their own right and do well in sustaining an audience’s interest right to the end.






 
 



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