- A review by someone who never saw the TV series nor read the manga. 6/25/2014 12:00:00 AM by MartinHafer
Although I love Japanese movies, I haven't seen a lot of anime (i.e., animated Japanese TV shows and movies). That doesn't mean I am not familiar with it--it just isn't something I watch very often. A few years ago, when my oldest daughter was in high school, she drug me to some anime conventions and got me to watch a few series with her, such as "Death Note", "Azumanga Daioh" and "Sergeant Frog"--but I am certainly no expert on these shows nor the printed version, manga. So, when you read my review, it is NOT coming from a rabid fan--and from what I read, rabid fans of the original TV series and manga "Black Butler" were not especially pleased by this movie version. So, for you lovers of the original "Black Butler", this review might not at all be very helpful--I'm just a guy watching a movie who has no basis for comparing it to the original.
From what I've read and learned from my daughter, the original show featured a 12 year-old boy as the protagonist. However, here he is now 17 and a girl--and, oddly, posing as a boy in order to maintain the family title and estates. Additionally, instead of being set in Victorian times, the movie is set today. I am pretty sure these are not the only changes, but these are a few of the obvious ones.
The back story is that years ago, someone murdered Genpou Shiori's parents. Genpou serves the Queen of the West and is one of her secret force, The Queen's Watchdog. Their job is to serve their queen and ruthlessly pursue anyone who threatens her or her kingdom. As I mentioned above, she is posing as a young man and goes by the title 'Earl'. Assisting the Earl is his/her faithful servant, Sebastian. However, Sebastian is no ordinary fellow...he's a demon who does anything she wants--including killing the Queen's enemies. It seems that when Genpou Shiori's parents died, the boy sold his soul to the Devil in order to gain the services of this demon in order to assist in his quest for revenge--an obvious variation on the old Faustian tales.
The film begins with the pair on a mission to infiltrate a gang involved in the sex slave industry. Not surprisingly, Sebastian uses his amazing powers to wipe out the entire gang...but armed with only a butter knife!! ?? This and several other fight sequences within the film are insane--full of incredible action and which will keep you on the seat of your pants. However, what follows is not all action--in fact, in places the film can be quite talky and full of unnecessarily dull and complicated exposition by the baddies. When the film is in high gear, it is clever and intense. But, when folks start explaining things, then I felt as if I should take a shot of No-Doze! The plot that follows is amazingly cool and disgusting. It seems that there is some serial murderer who has so far made eight ambassadors turn into mummies!! One moment, they seem normal and the next they are bleeding from their orifices and the next they look like beef jerky! Obviously something horrible is afoot and it's up to the Earl and Sebastian (as well as the clumsy yet amazing maid) to save the day.
So is it worth seeing? Well, it's not bad and I mildly enjoyed the film. As I mentioned above, the show did have portions that were just too talky and I also disliked how many times the film backed up to show you what REALLY happened--this seemed like bad writing because it was used so much. But, it's tough not to like Sebastian and the process by which folks became mummified and how is amazingly original. Not a must-see film but worth your time.
- Judge yourself, but I liked it... 7/1/2014 12:00:00 AM by skipper_de_best
Now a review by someone who has read the manga and has seem the anime series.
It is a good and exciting movies. most scenes are retrieved from the anime, but have also given a new spin on each scene.the main character is different from the anime and the time-line is in the present.
I have heard some people say, that they find this a bad movie and it gives the anime a bad name. But I disagreed with them. I watch the whole movie and i wasn't disappointment.
I say, judge this movie in your own way and don't listen to others. I did like it and i gonna watch it maybe 2 a 3 times again in the future.
Greetz, Skipper P.s. Sorry for my bad Engish...
- Very cool West-East near future action movie 1/5/2015 12:00:00 AM by the_wolf_imdb
Please forget the opinions of manga fundamentalists. To quote the Black Butler, "their opinions slightly fuel my wish for killing". They are not alone on this world and these movies are made for more general public who do not have encyclopedic knowledge of the respective fictive universes. So their fundamentalist dismissals of movies based on this argument are totally off the mark.
I have seen the Black Butler movie for the very first time and I have kinda liked it. Of course, there is an incredibly complex storyline that makes the Japanese stories hard to follow for us, the plain West village folks. It might be a hard thing to swallow for some but it is worth it.
The story is actually a near future sci-fi fantasy crime movie. Even though this might seem to be bizarre, it is actually very cool. The plot is somewhat familiar for the Westerners as it builds on the West culture. The uneasy relationship between the "master" and "servant", that is somewhere between the love and the hate is also very interesting. The "master" might seem spoiled and much more powerful "servant" might seem cold and cynical, but the ending is really powerful.
Forget the critics. This is very "above average" drama, a crime movie and a somewhat bizarre love story. Pretty much unforgettable experience. And yes, the opening sequence is one of the most amazing combat scenes I have seen: If you meet a well dressed butler with a butter knife asking politely for something, you should not laugh at him. You should not!
- Enjoyable Near-Future Action Film 8/2/2014 12:00:00 AM by alisonc-1
After witnessing the murder of her parents, Shiori Genpo sells her soul to a demon, Sebastian, in return for his help in avenging their deaths. Since only boys can inherit the large company her family owned, she quickly assumes the identity of a boy, Kiyoharu, pretending to be her father's illegitimate son, and grows up in the magnificent grounds of her family estate, aided by her now-butler, Sebastian, a rather clumsy maid and other household help; as Kiyoharu, she takes on the family title of Count and is the head of the family's toy business empire by the age of 17. But she has never given up her search for the killer of her parents. In her other role, as a "guard dog of the Queen" (who rules the Western world), she is investigating a series of mysterious deaths-by-sudden-mummification. With Sebastian's help, she narrows the search to an invitation-only night club, but when she herself receives such an invitation, more than her own life might be on the line....
This is apparently based on a famous manga, also called Black Butler, which has received a number of treatments in the past, but this is the first big-screen, big-budget version. I'm not familiar with the manga, so I can't say whether the film is faithful to its source material, but as a film, it stands up well on its own. There's lots of action (both martial arts style and gun play), some very funny moments and, at the end, a quite reasonable set-up for a sequel. I don't know how well it's done in Japan, but at Montreal's Fantasia Festival, it was definitely a crowd-pleaser!
- Confused and Convoluted 7/28/2014 12:00:00 AM by 3xHCCH
"Black Butler" is a beloved manga that my daughter and friends liked very much. So when a movie version came out, they were all excited to go see it. I have not read the manga "Kuroshitsuji" yet, so I felt I needed to see the film first myself before she does to see if it is okay for her age group. The local film classification board had rated it R- 13, but they had not been entirely consistent the way they classify films per appropriate age.
The beginning narration sets the film in a near future time, when the world was divided into East and West. The West was headed by a Queen who sent her "watchdogs" to keep her enemies at check.
In such a world, a "Demon's Curse" killer is going around killing diplomats by some sort of gruesome instant mummification process. Alarmed, the Queen chooses an orphaned aristocrat, Earl Genpo Kiyoharu, as her "watchdog" to get to the bottom of this matter.
The young Earl has under his service a butler of many skills, Sebastian, who does whatever his young master wills him to. It turns out that Sebastian's talents are because of his demonic nature, for which the Earl will have to pay for with his soul.
I believe that this film deviates much from the book by making Kiyoharu to be actually a girl Shiori pretending to be a boy in order to secretly exact revenge on her parents' killers. This also made it possible for a love angle to develop between master and servant, which of course was not in the original manga. The original setting in the manga was Victorian England, but here we only get the Victorian-looking grand manor and colorful gardens of the Genpo family instead.
The opening sequence alone where Sebastian takes on an entire warehouse full of gangsters only with his butter knife sets the incredible whimsical tone for the whole film. There would be violent fight scenes, murder scenes, death scenes, as well as scenes of drug abuse, and the disturbing demonic subplot, which would automatically make this film rated R-16 in my book. In between these violent scenes though, the film's momentum dips a lot with long talky explanatory scenes.
The acting department is on the campy side. The lead actors playing Sebastian and Kiyoharu are both androgynous-looking which seems to be the current rage among the younger generation. There was even more campy acting from the actors playing the clumsy maid Lynn and Kiyoharu's guardian, his Auntie Hanae. All the one-dimensional villains they faced also come from the same school of exaggerated campy acting.
Overall, this is a confused film with a rather convoluted plot which did not have a clear direction that it wanted to take. If we were to only judge it with this film, it does make me wonder what those fans of the original manga loved in it. This film alone is occasionally entertaining anyway but it most probably could have been done or adapted much better than what came out now.