Twentieth Century Boys

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Twentieth Century Boys
You’d think that adapting Naoki Urasawa’s 24-volume manga saga into a trilogy of live-action movies would mean losing a lot of detail along the way, but the problem with this first celluloid instalment from film and TV director Yukihiko Tsutsumi is that it’s not compressed enough. While the eponymous T Rex number introduces a group of high schoolers during the early ’70s, much of the story subsequently unfolds near the turn of the millennium, when the old pals reunite to investigate a sinister cult.

Could the organisation’s reclusive leader be the same strange kid they wouldn’t allow to join their gang all those years ago? And did they really foresee the destruction of Tokyo by a giant robot in a book of sketches they drew at the time? The answers are pretty obvious, but the movie buries us in repetitive exposition and redundant flashbacks long before we get to the moderately spectacular finale. The ideas are fun, there are some striking design ideas (the villain’s commonplace-yet-freaky mask), yet the clogged storytelling just doesn’t make enough of them. Shame.

By: Trevor Johnston

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Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Cast: Toshiaki Karasawa
Etsushi Toyokawa
Takako Tokiwa