Thursday, June 18, 2009

How will "20th Century Boys" end? Only 10 people on Earth know...

by Chris MaGee

I saw this story over at Tokyograph before I got laid up with whatever flu/ cold/ bug kept me from the Pow-Wow for a few days. When I first read it I had to chuckle a bit at how in this day and age of internet spoilers, leaked movie files and stills, and general transparency movie studios have to go to such extremes to keep the plot of a film a secret, or in this case the ending of the most expensive film trilogy in Japanese cinema history.

I made it clear in my review of the first film in the "20th Century Boys" trilogy that while the characters in the film are kind of two-dimensional and the plot sometimes turns into a muddled mess it doesn't really matter. It's the not knowing the answers to the umpteenth amounts of questions the film puts forth that makes it so much fun. It was the same kind of formula that Chris Carter used when creating his hit series "X-Files", and only once he actually started to try and explain all the ins and outs of his elaborate conspiracy theory did things fall apart.

Well, with Yukihiko Tsutsumi's final installment of "20th Century Boys" coming out in Japan on August 29th a lot of people are wondering how it will end, but damned if the folks at Toho aren't protecting that little nugget until the lights go down on the first public screenings. Check this out and ask yourself if their strategy isn't just as convoluted as the plot of the films: First off, Tsutsumi and Naoki Urasawa have changed the ending from Urasawa's original manga, so don't go running to the bookstore or online to figure it out that way. Of all the 40 press screening that will take place none will feature the real ending of the film. Two versions of the script were printed, one with the ending and one without and only those involved in shooting the last 10 minutes of the film were given the script with the ending. To add to the mystery the footage for the last 10 minutes was re-edited and re-jigged so that even the majority of the people on set wouldn't know the final ending, which we all assume will reveal the true nature of Friend and his vast conspiracy to take over the world. Toho says that only 10 people, Tsutsumi, Urasawa and a handful of actors, know how "20th Century Boys" will end. Talk about protecting your investment!

All I can hope is that the film stays fun right up until the end, because I'm not holding out hope that it will make a hell of a lot of sense. I guess we'll have to wait until the end of August to know for sure though....

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