Medium Spoiler Warning
All That Glitters Is Gold And So Is Everything Else
One Piece is back in theaters with the 13th film in its cinematic franchise, One Piece: Film Gold. This is the 3rd movie in the series where Oda Eiichiro, the creator of One Piece, supervised overall film production. Oda’s helping hand definitely shows in the writing. Film Gold feels closer to a short One Piece manga arc than it does a movie. Anime Movies often have a shallow setup, writing the plot to just be framing just to watch the protagonists do cool things against excessively strong villains. Film Gold avoids that common pitfall for the most part. Everything in this movie stands on its own, and not just because the Straw Hats Pirates exist in the world.
Gran Tesoro Is My Gold Standard
One of the most impressive things about Film Gold is its setting. We’re brought to the mobile city of Gran Tesoro, a glitzy, gold-covered, casino island. It’s basically the Las Vegas of One Piece, and it wears that title very proudly. The entire city’s DNA feels laced with a sense of extravagance. This sensation is best expressed in the film when The Straw Hats ride a golden car across Gran Tesoro, powered by a group of turtles spinning the engine. There are normal cars and automated engines in One Piece. There’s no need to outsource this task to turtles, but it was done anyway. Gran Tesoro values style over quality 100% of the time.
Gran Tesoro’s excessive nature sets the tone for the rest of Film Gold Everything from characters to events at least matches its level of extravagance. I would have loved to explore the city a bit more than what the runtime offered, but what we got was an incredibly fun location. It helped that Gran Tesoro’s populous was packed with cameos and small speaking parts by non-Straw Hats from the main series. Seeing cameos everywhere helped sell the idea that Gran Tesoro was a popular resort that exists in One Piece’s world, rather than just a set piece.
Golden Sun, Golden Fun
As a whole, Film Gold was just a really fun movie. Boy, oh boy did I laugh throughout this movie. Film Gold seamlessly copies the goofy, slapstick humor found in One Piece’s main story, although the movie takes itself far less seriously than the main series. There are multiple 5-10 minute segments devoted to just being goofy and telling some good old fashioned comedy. Film Gold also features multiple character bits which become running jokes. The bits were usually welcome breaks from the tension of Film Gold, but at times they were a little overbearing. Some of the film’s comedic portions undercut scenes that felt like they were supposed to be dramatic or tense. While I appreciated the jokes, I wish a little bit more was spent developing the movie-only characters’ backgrounds, rather than giving them quirky jokes.
Gild Tesoro Needs To Show His Work
Quite a few of the movie-only characters felt lacking in their backgrounds, despite bits of their past being alluded to. A big victim of the movie’s lack of background filling was the film’s villain, Gild Tesoro. Similar to the city itself, Gild was introduced in a very extravagant way. We first meet him as he’s serenading the inhabitants of Gran Tesoro. When we next see him, Gild attacks a subordinate for speaking out of turn. These two incidents cement him as both ruthless and just as flashy as his city. Unfortunately, that’s all we learn about him until the final act. Gild was very underutilized throughout the film.
When we did learn about his past, it added dimensions to his character. Gild’s history was mostly implied, rather than explained, which isn’t especially useful for a one-off appearance. It was interesting to see the parallels between Gild’s previous oppressors with how he currently presents himself, but this wasn’t nearly expanded upon enough. I found a lot of potential for Gild to be compelling, but because of the lack of solid information, I’m unsure how much of its headcanon versus fact. If there was even two more minutes devoted to building Gild up, he would have been amazing.
Rubber In A Bottle
While Film Gold flounders a bit with creating a complex villain, it flourishes as a One Piece story. It presents a very fun environment to explore with even funner running jokes. I wish it could have focused a bit more on its narrative at times, but I always felt engaged to the film itself and enjoyed what it did do. I recommend this film to any One Piece fans out there. Film Gold definitely does it’s job correctly and with a ton of cameos that any fan will squeal from. The whole adventure feels like it could actually be an arc in the main story. Non-One Piece fans may have a bit harder time enjoying the journey, but I’m sure they’ll find it fun nonetheless.
Amount of fun had watching this film - 8.5/108.5/10
Character backstory development - 6.6/106.6/10
One Pieceness of story - 9/109/10
City extravagance - 8.3/108.3/10
Last modified: February 21, 2017