Adorable, familiar, same formula, but absent the fun and tear-jerking magic that makes the classic Doraemon feature films great
After the release of Stand By Me Doraemon (2014), it was assumed that we would see more the classic episodes being remade into 3D from then. But that didn’t seem to be the case as no followups to that have been announced apart from the upcoming 2D anime remake of the first feature film, Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan (1989). So before either one of that, here’s a new but generic new gen feature film that doesn’t even try to be nostalgic.
Well, we all know him, loved him, grew up with him — it’s Doraemon, the iconic cat robot from the future created by the late Fujiko Fujio. Along with the usual bunch namely Nobita, Shizuka, Suneo and Giant (Big G), they have this sudden obsession with space heroes and plan to make their own film featuring themselves as the protagonists. This might have been an attempt to relate to the YouTube era today but it’s not done in the most imaginative way. I recall how excited and fun it used to be whenever the characters do something such as this, like when Suneo shows off his new toys before Doraemon comes up with even greater stuff, but somehow, this film was not able to capture that same magic.
Like most (if not all) of the franchise’s standalone films, the group meets a new guest character, stumble into a problem faced in another world, time or dimension, decide to help and Nobita goes from zero to hero. This time it’s Aron, a Teletubbies-cum-mouse-looking alien from a faraway planet where its people are getting scammed by space alien pirates into giving away the energy source of their planet. To help Aron save his planet, the characters have to become actual super heroes. This is where it becomes really tough for the film as it has placed itself to compete with the likes of Disney’s Big Hero 6 (2014) and Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004).
Old Doraemon gadgets as well as new ones such as the Burger Director are featured to assist the characters in this adventure. Although it’s a gadget from Doraemon’s pocket, the Burger Director is pretty much another guest character. It’s probably as adorable as the Minions are as side dishes in the Despicable Me franchise but it’s also a device for the convenience of the lazy and uninventive writer to end the story. Come on, it’s time to step it up, or at least come up with a more creative plot while keeping the same old formula if they really have to. I strongly believe there’s so much more they could have done with such a franchise if they’re willing.
With the lack of real heart and effort, Doraemon: Nobita’s Space Heroes is not even as fun, emotional, humourous and morally defining as the other films in its own franchise. Simply put, it’s partially funny and mostly dull with nothing really new to offer. However, I can’t speak for the much younger audience. Actually, do kids in this new modern era even know Doraemon at all?
What I would’ve named the film: “Doraemon: Let’s Pretend You Haven’t Already Seen All This!”
Malaysia censorship: I believe there’s absolutely nothing to censor. Shizuka’s panties are definitely seen quite constantly by all the characters in this film, but never in the angle that’s shown on screen. She also bathes with clothes on.
Second opinion: My girlfriend also felt that it has very familiar plot and lacks of the magic that the classic Doraemon feature films had.
Verdict: I might have enjoyed it more if we’re still in the 90s, where I was still below 12 years old.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: Family anime
Running Time: 101 minutes
Director: Yoshihiro Ōsugi
Scriptwriter: Higashi Shimizu
Cast: Megumi Oohara, Wasabi Mizuta, Arisa Mizuki, Mamiko Noto
Malaysia Release Date: 15 July 2015 (GSC International Screens only)
Local Distributor: GSC Movies
Production: Shin-Ei Animation