Anime Review: King of Thorn Movie

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 1/27/11)

Anime Review:
King of Thorn Movie

What this is about: I made the promise that I would review every new subtitled anime show (excluding blatant yaoi and/or porn) released during the Spring, Summer and Fall 2010 seasons, so now I am going back to review a handful of shows that I missed over the past few months for one reason or another. This time around, it’s the King of Thorn Movie, which has its theatrical release on May 1st, 2010, but only recently available online in subtitled format.

tl;dr review: Volunteers go into cryogenic deep freeze to avoid world-ending plague; wake up in the middle of a bad pick-em-off-one-by-one horror movie/video game.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Spoiler-Free Summary: A mysterious plague that turns people to stone threatens humanity, and a group of volunteers enter a state-of-the-art scientific facility to go under cryogenic hibernation for a hundred years to avoid certain death. One minute they are falling asleep, the next they are waking up in an abandoned building filled with thorn-covered vines and dinosaur-like monsters. With only a handful of survivors, they must now make their way out of the castle into an uncertain future — only to discover the truth of their situation is much more fantastical than they could have ever imagined.

My Thoughts: I had fairly high expectations heading into the movie, not only because it had largely been reviewed positively online, but also because it is the creation of Yuji Iwahara, who also created the delightful Chikyuu Misaki manga. Starting out as a science fiction mystery with very heavy Sleeping Beauty allegorical overtones (okay, OKAY, we get it already, stop beating us over the head with it!), it soon turned into a by-the-numbers survival horror show (a la Resident Evil) as the comically-mismatched survivors (who are little more than walking-and-talking horror film stereotypes) are picked off one by one trying to make their escape. I felt more like I was watching someone play a video game. *Sigh*. There’s a few unexpected twists along the way as we learn things are not as they first appear, the plot turns from boggling to confusing to don’t-even-try-to-figure-it-out-it’s-not-worth-it, and one major mindfuck of an ending as well. None of which I can really go into without spoiling the show, other than to say I was somewhat unimpressed.

Movie Final Grade: C – Disappointed, a bit confused and unsatisfied. Certainly you could do much worse, and after the slow-moving introductory half hour, it kicks into an action-packed high gear until the end, so if you’re going to watch this you won’t be bored. However, word has it the manga that this movie was based upon is somewhat more palatable.

Final reviews for a handful of Spring, Summer and Fall 2010 shows that I haven’t covered yet: Honey Tokyo, Strong World: Episode 0, Nanami Madobe Windows 7, Queen’s Blade: Utsukushiki OVA, and Mazinkaiser SKL

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