[This review is also posted on MyAnimeList]
If you thought the Dimensional Sniper was bad, just wait till you watch this. The Darkest Nightmare is the 20th movie of the Detective Conan franchise, and is in my opinion, the worst of all the movies. I’m not just saying this out of spite, or some sense of elitism. I really wanted to like the movie, I really did. Unfortunately, the movie hit so many branches on the way down that I can’t not write about it.
The movie opens with an exciting car chase, with Bourbon (Amuro Tooru) and Akai Shuuichi chasing down a black organisation member with ridiculous physical prowess. After a lengthy and tense chase down the highway, the BO member manages to escape. Injured and disoriented, she makes her way down an alley and comes in full view of a light show projected the amusement park across the river, and promptly collapses after screaming her lungs out.
It was at this point that I was beginning to feel slightly iffy, because what the fuck? The events leading up to that very scene were dumb. That’s right, dumb. Mysteries are one thing, but what just played out on screen seriously needed tremendous leaps of logic. The car chase left me high on adrenaline no doubt, but it was decent at best. Stupid at worst.
But moving on. The magic of the movie had already started wearing off and I was like, what? Ten minutes into the movie? Not a particularly good sign. Still, I bit back the cynicism and tried to give the rest of the movie a fair chance. Needless to say, The Darkest Nightmare proceeded to disappoint me at every turn.
The plot is joke. The movies in this franchise have always been brilliant but after The Quarter of Silence (15th movie), I feel like the movies have really been dropping in quality. One thing I disliked greatly about The Darkest Nightmare (And the recent slew of DC movies) was the fact that it substituted clever writing for gratuitous action. Now, before you start pelting me with tomatoes, keep in mind that I’m not saying action is bad. Far from it. When used correctly, action can bring a movie to new heights. Here, all it does is make the movie even more brainless.
The story wasn’t all that intriguing to begin with, there’s no mystery or subtlety. Zero, zilch. I give the movie props for trying to spin a new perspective on the Black Organisation, but the way it goes about it does more harm to the characters than helps it. There are many many scenes in the movie where the BO characters seem like freaking idiots. If you watched the anime or read the manga, they have always prioritised secrecy over everything else. They’re an elusive bunch.
That’s why Shinichi was ‘killed’, and why he does everything he can possibly think off to keep them off his scent. He realises that they will do anything, kill anyone, to keep their existence a secret.
And suddenly, this movie just goes ‘fuck it’ and has the BO characters go on a rampage that is not remotely secret. What the hell? There is no way, no way they would do what they did in this movie.
Speaking of characters. Remember that BO character Bourbon and Akai had been chasing? Yeah, apparently she’s best buds with the Shonen Tantei. Like. What? I mean, I can understand how she’d ended up being all mushy with them – they’re kids after all – but the actions she does throughout the movie are highly questionable. Even for a person with Amnesia, how she acts is total 180 from the person she really is. And what she does in the ending is seriously dumb.
Even if she did care for the Shonen tantei, I doubt that she would go that far for them. The BO ain’t exactly a sympathetic group of criminals, folks. There’s no heart of gold under the blackened exterior.
The usual characters, Ran, Kogoro, Agasa and Sonoko make their appearance in the movie, but they mattered so little to the plot, other than giving the events a valid reason to occur, that they could’ve been replaced for potted plants for all I cared. I personally find it very upsetting that they were slotted in the way they were. Very two dimensional. They may sound like them and act like them – but they’re mere shells that exist to remind you that yes, this is a Detective Conan movie. In the grand scheme of things, I rather they not appeared in the movie at all.
Animation was pretty much standard for a DC movie, though the action scenes after the car chase scene left little to be desired.
Also, remember the usual exposition we get at the start of every DC movie? It was atrocious, and sucked really bad. The editing was enough to make my eyes hurt, the exposition being said didn’t line up with what was playing on the screen. I get that they want to shake up the formula a little, what with this being the 20th movie and all, but damn. The phrase ‘Don’t fix what’s broken’ has never rung truer.
Overall, I just wish that I could scrub this movie from my mind. This is no ‘Countdown to the Heaven’ or ‘The Raven chaser’. This movie could’ve been good. But it wasn’t.
On a side note, I did a little digging and looked up the director of The Darkest Nightmare, and pretty much found the reason why the movies have been the way they’ve been. Movie 16th to 20th were directed by Kobun Shizuno. Out of the 4 movies he directed, I only enjoyed The private eye in the distant sea, and tolerated The Sunflowers of Inferno. I seriously hope his next movie isn’t as big of a disaster as this one.