20-seiki sh˘nen: Honkaku kagaku b˘ken eiga (20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End)
20-seiki sh˘nen: Honkaku kagaku b˘ken eiga (20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End) (2008)

A burned-out rocker discovers his doom-struck adolescent fantasies are coming true in this futuristic thriller from Japan. Ever since his career as a musician crashed and burned, Kenji (Toshiaki Karasawa) has been making a living working at… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: August 30, 2008
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009
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Critic Score: 33% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: An overlong Japanese sci-fi epic with flashy visuals but a disjointed and frustrating approach to narrative.

Trevor Johnston
Time Out

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.

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Edward Porter
Sunday Times (UK)

We're being reminded of the banality of evil, but that only slightly raises the IQ of Yukihiko Tsutsumi's film.

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Cath Clarke

The original may have sold 20m copies but they should have kept creator Naoki Urasawa away from this script - whole swathes ought have been gutted, making for a very long and unfailingly shallow 142 minutes.

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Anton Bitel
Eye for Film

Tsutsumi...dazzles us with so many balls in the air, so many twists and turns, that there is not enough room left for his characters to develop as believable, interesting people, as opposed to comicbook archetypes.

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Philip French
Observer (UK)

The dramatic premise is ingenious and there are two future lengthy episodes to come. But I was often baffled.

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Justin Bowyer
Empire Magazine

Headache-inducingly convoluted plot and cast of characters but the action and faithfulness to the series is impressive. Be aware that this is definitely a trilogy and the ending reflects this.

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Sean Axmaker

Not quite science fiction and as surreal a conspiratorial epic as you'll find, this dense thriller has a distinctively Japanese sensibility.

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Jon Williams
Little White Lies

20th Century Boys has an excellent pedigree, a huge budget behind it, and a more than competent cast -but it doesn't quite work.

Holly Grigg-Spall

A dry run through of the principle players and scene setting for the real action and adventure to come in installments two and three of this manga based trilogy.

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Flixster Audience Score: 67% Flixster User Reviews
Alexander Wilson
This is a pretty good movie. I've been watching a few Asian movies at the moment and fit right in there. Its a quite clever story that I have not heard or… More
JY Skacto
Yukihiko Tsutsumi gets the honor of bringing the popular <i>20th Century Boys</i> manga to life. As you may have guessed, T. Rex's famous… More
Marcus Woolcott
Somewhere between Twelve Monkeys and It, rests this rather brilliant epic, sic-fi, Japanese thing. And it's absolutely Japanese, from the fight… More