One Piece Film: Gold is the latest movie from the popular anime/manga franchise. It is a thrilling ride even for newcomers.
I am not too familiar with One Piece since I have not been able to watch Cartoon Network in my house for several years now. However, I am happy to say that newcomers will be able to pick up and understand One Piece Film: Gold quite easily. It has a standalone story so you don't need to have prior knowledge of the franchise to enjoy it.
Essentially, One Piece is about a band of pirates named the Straw Hats and they consist of a diverse mix of characters. Luffy is the main character, but you also have some females and even a skeleton by the name of Brook.
The chemistry between the characters work really well and it feels like every member of the team is valuable in their own right. If you watch Dragon Ball Z, you may notice that Goku and Vegeta seem to hog the glory with the rest of the characters not doing much. Here in One Piece Film: Gold, everyone gets equal screen time and play key roles in the movie.
Another thing I like about this movie is that the story is not linear. Basically at the beginning of the movie, the Straw Hats visit a luxurious cruise ship called Gran Tesoro. Gran Tesoro is pretty much just a huge version of Las Vegas with gambling, racing and other fun activities.
I never watched any of the trailers for this film, so I didn't know where the story was going. The unpredictability of the story is this movie's biggest strengths. At the start of the film, I thought I was watching a comedy, but then the characters realise something is not right about Gran Tesoro and then the action and suspense starts.
There is not a dull moment in this movie and the pace is perfect. As I said before, this film has a mix of comedy, action and a little bit of drama. The main characters are all likeable and even the main villain has a little backstory. The only part of the film that really drags down is maybe the main climax. It's not bad, but it feels a little too long in my opinion.
Visually, this film looks gorgeous as it uses 3D animation to show how grand the location of Gran Tesoro really is. The gold in this movie looks so shiny and the camera work does a good job of showing us just how big everything is. The 2D animation is also great and a nice change of pace from the 3D animation you always see in Hollywood movies.
Overall, One Piece Film: Gold is a real run ride and it's a highly entertaining movie. I feel you can still enjoy this movie even if you have never watched the anime series before. Even non-anime fans will love this as it has a mix of everything.
The movie will be out on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia and New Zealand later this year. In North America, you can catch the film in cinemas nationwide on January 10th until January 17th. More details can be seen by clicking here.