Lupin the Third is one of Japan's most iconic manga/anime characters, loved by millions. His second live-action movie adaptation opens on Saturday, and one of the first reviews for it is brutal.
Japanese movie critic Yuichi Maeda, who is a well-known yet controversial critic in Japan, recently gave the movie a piddling 3 out of 100 score in his online review. In Maeda's opinion, the movie's biggest flaw is that it's simply trying too hard. Writes Maeda, "The exhibitionism of the movie, 'Isn't this action cool?', 'Isn't this pose cool?', 'This line', 'This costume', 'This (etc)' all feels extremely forced. And more importantly, not one of these things is cool at all."
Making a movie adaptation is a difficult process that when done well is amazing, but when done wrong is often amazingly terrible. Directors are forced to straddle the line between realism and faithfulness, and going too far in either direction will alienate movie-goers everywhere.
As seen from the trailer, for Lupin the Third, the filmmakers seemed to go for a stylistic, "cool" movie that, in the eyes of Maeda, completely backfired. "The minute you try to make everything 'cool,' everything becomes cheap instead." Maeda writes. "Even for mundane conversations, scenes with characters just walking, or any minute situation, having the music in the background creating drama is like watching a porno movie and [the characters] seem like porn actors."
Maeda's review pretty much tears the movie apart, going so far as to state, "Lupin the Third is a deep-pocketed franchise with many possible different stories, however, the 2014 Lupin the Third has almost none of the 'Lupin-ishness' found in previous pieces. If you give a big budget to people without any sense, you end up with an outlandish movie. This is a good example of that."
Maeda's is not the only opinion trickling into the internet as early premiere viewers have begun posting their own comments online. The results appear widely varied across audiences with some positive, calling the movie an enjoyable time to be had to the whole family, while others negative, wishing that Japan would put a stop to the terrible live-action adaptation trend that has been going on through the years.
As with all reviews, Maeda's is his opinion, and should be taken more with a grain of salt than as gospel (For reference, he gave the latest Ruroni Kenshin movie a 65, Godzilla a 55, and Edge of Tomorrow an 85). The enjoyment of a movie is a subjective thing and what someone thinks is the bane of their existence could be another person's holy writ. Whether you'll enjoy a movie or not is up to you. That is if a negative review doesn't convince you not to see it in the first place.
Lupin the Third hits theatres in Japan on August 30. Kotaku East's own Richard Eisenblis will be reviewing it next week.