Sunday, 19 March 2017

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment

Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment

The annual Kamen Rider summer movie: A chance to tell a standalone adventure with a slightly more extravagant budget than the series can allow. Sometimes it’s a chance to add additional characterisation or development to elements that the show didn’t have time for, and sometimes it’s a chance to tell stories in strange new worlds or parallel universes. And sometimes it can even be all of the above, which is certainly the case with Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment. Released as a double bill feature with Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger the Movie: The Heart-Pounding Circus Panic!, The 100 Eyecons is the third theatrical outing for Kamen Rider Ghost – preceded by Movie Wars Genesis and Kamen Rider 1.

The cast celebrate Kanon's birthdayKamen Rider Dark Ghost

While celebrating Kanon’s birthday, Takeru Tenkuji and his friends are attacked by a group of different coloured Necrom soldiers, led by the mysterious Kamen Rider Dark Ghost. After pursuing their attackers, the group arrive in a strange new world inhabited by famous figures from throughout history. They later discover that Dark Ghost is in fact Argos, Alain’s long presumed-dead brother. Attempting to gather the 100 Eyecons, Argos plans to use their power to turn everyone on Earth into ghosts.

As the team rush to stop Argos from putting his scheme into motion, Makoto has his own demons to face as he is reunited with his father Daigo Mukami. With his own Eyecon and the ability to become Kamen Rider Zero Specter, is the father who abandoned Makoto and Kanon friend or foe?

The giant EyeconTakeru meets the Heroic Damashiis

It’s always great to see a Kamen Rider production step away from the city into the great outdoors, so The 100 Eyecons immediately gets off to a wonderful start with its largely rural setting – moving from a small village into fields, forest, mountains and waterfalls. It’s locations like these that made Kamen Rider Hibiki such a pleasure to watch, and with the added benefit of high definition visuals like these look even better. And on top of a bigger budget for location shooting the film also goes all-in on the technical element – featuring plenty of CGI sequences (nice to see someone remembered the Ghosstriker Iguanas existed) and big spectacle fight sequences. Undoubtedly this is the best Kamen Rider Ghost has ever looked – vibrant, colourful and explosive. A good tokusatsu movie should always push this element to set it apart from the accompanying show, and if nothing else The 100 Eyecons has pulled this off without a hitch.

ArgosDaigo Mukami

Comparatively the actual plot of the film is a fairly simple affair, basically amounting to an evil version of the titular Rider carrying out a larger and more sinister version of the item quest Kamen Rider Ghost originally centered around. The addition of the historical figures as actual characters is a nice touch, even if most of them are either done largely for comic relief or a far cry from their real-life equivalents (looking at you Darwin). The biggest problem here is that the movie focuses on characters that could have really done with having more relevance in the show outside of “here’s a random mention/cameo because we have a movie coming up”. This especially relates to Daigo, as Makoto felt like such a non-character most of the time that having a weighty plotline that wasn’t just “evil clone” would have benefitted him a great deal. The same applies to Argos, who works wonderfully as the antithesis of Takeru and his ideals despite them sharing similar origins and methods. While it all fits comfortably in the movie regardless, at the very least a bit more namedropping would have been nice to make him feel like a bigger part of Alain’s family affairs. But even then, despite his link to the Ganma Prince Alain’s involvement in this film is minimal at best.

Things get a little strange towards the climax though, as Argos’ plan descends into both nonsense and outright contradiction of events from the very beginning of the show. For a movie that’s otherwise tried to tie itself so closely to the series it comes across as rather odd, and gives way to an ending with zero emotional impact because it’s exactly the same thing that was done numerous times there as well. It doesn’t feel like a spoiler to say “Takeru dies”, because that’s happened so many times in the course of Kamen Rider Ghost that at this point it feels almost like parody. Still, once again the visuals completely make up for the story’s shortcomings here – particularly the final battle between Mugen Ghost and Kamen Rider Extremer.

Kamen Rider Zero SpecterKamen Rider Extremer

With a name like The 100 Eyecons it shouldn’t be any surprise that this is a film that goes a bit overboard on the movie-exclusive forms and Riders, with a total of six new individual Riders and two exclusive forms. It’s not worth getting too excited about the number of new Riders though, as only one of them is a completely new suit – the others being variations of Ghost, Specter and Necrom. While the likes of the Dark Necroms and Kamen Rider Zero Specter are fairly forgettable, Dark Ghost plays a much bigger part in the film. Despite being a fairly basic repaint, black and white is a colour combination you can’t really go wrong with – arguably making the Dark Ghost suit look a lot better than it perhaps deserves to be. That isn’t to say 100 Eyecons is completely devoid of creativity though – the Darwin and Napoleon Damashiis are both great additions to the growing range of Parka Ghosts, Napoleon particularly with its wonderfully campy hat, cape and shoulder tassles combo. But the main event is Kamen Rider Extremer, an imposing (if poorly named) suit that works much better as a dark parallel to Ghost’s Mugen Damashii than Dark Ghost does to Ore.

After a couple of years of uncertainty it seems the summer movies are also back on track with regular cameo appearances by the next Rider, as Kamen Rider Ex-Aid appears here just as Ghost did in Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future. It’s a short but nonetheless sweet appearance by the 2016-17 video game-themed Rider, with his portrayal remaining pretty much in character with that of him in his own series. It’s always fun to see these Riders in almost a “prototype” stage, and this time it’s done through the various video game text bubbles looking a little different from how they do in the show now.

Kamen Rider Ex-AidEx-Aid fights

All things considered Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment is a fairly solid film outing for what many would consider a below-mediocre series, scoring high on the visual element but sometimes lacking when it comes to the finer plot details. The parts in dire need of expansion are things that really should have shown up in the series proper, and thus it’s hard to tell if they’re inclusion here is a fault of the movie or a fault of the show itself. Either way this certainly comes out as one of the more notable parts of Kamen Rider Ghost as a whole, and despite not quite matching up to the previous year’s Surprise Future definitely stands above the likes of Gaim’s Great Soccer Battle and Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land.

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Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD from CDJapan. This release is Japanese with no English subtitles.

1 comment:

TF RyuShin said...

Good review, bro. This is one of the review that I have been waiting for the long time. Yes, I totally agree that this movie is really enjoyable to watch. Not as great as Surprise Future, but at least much better than Wizard or Gaim's one as you said. To be honest, the most disappointing part about this movie was the fact that Takeru "died" again... Not only that, the ending scene felt so abruptly rushed and made no sense at all. I think that without having the whole Takeru's body plot, the movie would have ended much better or at least not confusing like this. Another bad part about this movie that I could get that the pacing issues. Having three Riders needed to be focused each made this movie felt so cramped and full. Half of the movie resolves around Makoto's problem with his dad. But, it ends up shoving both Takeru and Alain to the side where they should have given more focus. You would feel this in the last 10 minutes where it was so rushed like hell.

One thing that I want to share that I have watched a video review of this movie and the reviewer said that this is actually Ghost's most horrible element. Well, he said that the whole Makoto's dad plot felt so sour, especially in the climax where Makoto actually admired and forgave his father so easily and it didn't make sense at all. Alain's participation also so minimal despite the fact that he is Argos' brother. The reviewer also said that the Eyecons' plot also a bit let down since the movie didn't explore much about it and only acted as a comic relief in the next half of the movie. One thing that actually same was, yeah, everyone will agree that Argos could replace Adel in the series much better and the fact that the ending was a bit let down and disappointing.