Case Closed Movie 4: Captured in Her Eyes (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Detectives are being shot around the city as revenge is the prime motive from an old case.

What They Say
Half-pint detective Conan Edogawa has solved plenty of crimes, but this time it's personal! There's a killer on the loose, and the targets are none other than the boys in blue. No cop will be safe until the boy wonder cracks the case. But there's just one problem. Only Rachel has seen the fiend in action, and the shock of a witnessing a murder up close and personal made her forget everything she ever knew and everyone she ever loved. With his dream girl square in the sites of a homicidal maniac, time is running out for Conan to unlock the secret of what was captured in her eyes!

The Review!
Audio:
Case Closed’s theatrical movie gets a nice bump up for its English language presentation which has a 5.1 mix encoded at 448kbps. The original Japanese language is done in stereo which appears to be what it got when it made its theatrical engagement back in 1999. The audio really doesn’t stand out much here which isn’t a surprise as it is for the most part a dialogue and suspect feature which only has a few areas that give it standout moments, such as a particular swelling of music or an action sequence that allows for a bit of placement to it. By and large the dialogue is clean and clear though with its standard forward soundstage presentation that doesn’t have any problems to it, though you’ll find the English language side simply sounds a bit louder and maybe a touch clearer when it comes to the dialogue.

Video:
Originally in theaters in 2000, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Case Closed has always had a particular look to it from the TV series and that has translated to the theatrical features as well where it has a grainy and murky look to it. The transfer here has a fairly average bitrate overall and it keeps from blocking or showing other problems, but it’s the kind of feature that’s likely never to look really great. It’s a generally clean print and there aren’t any serious problems such as break-up or cross coloration and colors are generally pretty solid if you discount the film grain side of it. It does have a very natural film look about it which is very appealing and while it’s not a gorgeous transfer that you’d want from other films, it is one that fits perfectly with this material.

Packaging:
Case Closed utilizes the original theatrical artwork, darkened a fair bit though, which provides four quadrants around Conan’s face which has a reflection of the killer. Each of the sections has a good piece of artwork to offer that brings in something key to the show itself and it has a good dark look to it without coming across as too childish or cartoonish. The layout is pretty decent with the English language logo along the top, which is the same as the TV, while placing a straightforward text subtitle below it with this particular movie title. The bulk of the cover is given over to the appealing artwork with the clean look of the characters and their particular style which does stand out from other shows. The back cover adheres to what we saw with the TV series releases, though a bit less brown since there is artwork of Ran along the right side instead of the brown folder we used to get. The few shots from the show are decent as it showcases the various cast members and the summary eases out enough of the story concept to get you interested in it. The bottom has the cute graphic breakdown of his gear which he does use in this feature while the rest is the basic production information and minor technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design keeps it very basic as it utilizes the cover artwork zoomed in a bit in order to set the mood for things with a minor bit of music playing alongside it. The artwork looks good and the menu version of it looks a bit cleaner and brighter than the cover version does, but it is pretty basic with no frills associated with it. The navigation along the bottom is quick and easy to use as it’s just the film and some unrelated trailers on the disc outside of the actual chapter and language selections. With little here, it’s quick and responsive and easy to set up though I do continue to wish FUNimation’s discs would read the players presets when it comes to the language options.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the Case Closed TV series doing so well in Japan at this point and the success of the first three movies, it wasn't any surprise that a fourth one would get greenlit as well. While the third movie was fairly expansive with its plot and all that was involved in having origins in Russia with the Faberge eggs, this one keeps it all much smaller and more personal, without having the kind of overly involved plot. Captured in Her Eyes does have a fair bit of involvement to it though, but it doesn't have quite the scope that the Last Wizard of the Century did.

What helps to set this movie apart a bit is that it spends a lot of its focus on Ran, a character that's always present and has some good moments, but often times feels like she gets lost in the shuffle of things. That's actually true of a lot of the characters that orbit Conan's life, but sometimes it feels like she gets an even shorter end of the stick than others. Her relationship with Kudo is one of the key points to the franchise and we get a nice revisiting of one of their dates when he was as normal a guy as he could be. They're an unusual couple in some ways but it's very easy to see how they'd get along so well and enjoy each others company. The separation they're going through is one that plays out in fun ways at times, but it mostly comes down to Conan trying to not hurt her while Ran spends her time wondering where he is and being frustrated by the occasional call she gets from him.

Captured in Her Eyes keeps us pretty firmly in Tokyo for the story as Conan and the junior detectives league find themselves witness to a murder in broad daylight. While walking through the city, they note a detective that stops into a phone booth to make a call as Conan points him out. It turns bad when a mysterious gray figure steps right up to him and shoots him cold. There are few Conan adventures that don't have at least one dead body in them and this is no exception as the detective kicks over soon enough, but not without providing an initial clue for Conan to follow later on. What Conan does learn after getting this called in and dealt with is that there are other murders of detectives that have happened and there's a larger mystery at work here.

Where it becomes really personal is at a wedding reception that's filled with a lot of police officers that Kogaro and his family are attending, even Ran's mother. An attack on one of the detectives there, Detective Sato, goes horribly wrong when Ran is caught up in it and she ends up seeing the detective shot in cold blood right in front of her. But not without catching a glimpse of the face of the person who is responsible for it. The situation is so traumatic however that she passes out and loses her memory of self. That in itself is bad enough but now the killer sees her as a loose end to be dealt with and Conan sets to saving her before she's targeted again. The case of the killer and his motivation obviously gets explored and it's a bit convoluted as it revolves around a police case that went badly and wasn't properly resolved, even including an issue with the superintendents son.

It's not that the actual murder mystery story is bad, it's just that it's not really the focus of the movie in the end. Much of what makes the movie good and fun to watch is the relationship between Ran and Conan as Conan still obviously loves Ran and is intent on protecting her. There's an amusing revelation about the kind of relationship they have at the end which made me smile, but it's the bulk of the film that works the best. Seeing Ran without her memory uncertain why Conan is helping her provides a good emotional tug, as does seeing Conan working so tirelessly to protect her. And seeing others such as Kogoro knowing that they have to keep Conan out of the loop because he'd get involved in things that would be a problem. The relationship between Ran and Conan ne Kudo is really nice done here and makes the movie work as well as it does.

In Summary:
Case Closed movies can go a lot of ways but I found myself really enjoying this one a lot, and not so much because of the murder mystery itself. There's almost always someone dying in any Case Closed story and there are plenty of fascinating ones, but the ones that spend time dealing with the core cast of characters more than the guest cast tend to be my favorites. Ran and Conan really reinforce their relationship well here as well as painting a bit more of the picture between Ran and Kudo as well. I've liked the Case Closed world overall and the movies have some good moments, but this is a movie that worked better than the others because of its focus and has left me feeling very positive about it, even with the weak and somewhat convoluted and fairly uninteresting murder mystery.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
MSRP: 19.98
Running time: 105
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Case Closed (Detective Conan)