One Piece Film: Gold Review: A Delightful Romp

“One Piece Film: Gold” is an entertaining romp that appeals to both hardcore fans and the uninitiated alike.

Based on the “One Piece” manga and television series – “Gold” sees Captain Luffy and his crew arrive at the city of Gran Tesoro, a haven for the underworld painted in gold. What follows is an adventure that is great ride while possessing a deceptive level of depth in some of its themes.

Tesoro, the Spanish word for “treasure,” not only serves as the name of the setting, but the name of its lavish leader who is the film’s antagonist. And at first he may seem like Gold Member on steroids; however as the film progresses, certain key scenes highlight the strengths of the movie as a whole, which is complimenting over-the-top action and characters with flakes of drama that keep the audience engaged.

Going back to the plot, “all that glitters is not gold,” and the same holds true for Gran Tesoro. The city may have waterfalls of gold and seemingly happy residents, but they are all trapped by Tesoro because of their crippling debts – being that it is a casino run by a god king, saying “the house always wins” may be an understatement and the same goes for Luffy and his crew.

After losing a wager, Luffy and the gang must figure out how to defeated Tesoro and his followers to free themselves and the entire city. In Gran Tesoro, whoever falls for ruses loses.

The action in the film is constant. During its two-hour runtime, there are few breaks between large action set pieces, when there is a moment of brevity; the story begins to reveal itself. In this land of excess, the cities people are chained by debt and Tesoro’s rule whose own tragic origin sets up an exhilarating third-act.

Because “One Piece” has aired 750 plus episodes, there is no plausible way you can fit a quarter of that history into one film and that is okay. It is okay because “Gold” works as a singular story, one where Luffy’s will power and ambition is on full display while Tesoro acts as the perfect villain for the man who wants to be King of the Pirates.

Another surprising aspect of the film is how it is “One Piece” meets the “Ocean’s” franchise, it even takes some visual cues from films as the crew plots to take Tesoro for everything he’s got. It is a clever nod that fits perfectly considering the Gran Tesuro is essentially a giant casino with an arrogant king – not far off from Andy Garcia’s character in the “Ocean’s” trilogy.

All in all, “One Piece Film: Gold” is a delightful ride with enough thrills and drama to fill its runtime. Wonderfully paced and executed, it earns its theatrical release. Fans of the series should enjoy the film while people with little to no knowledge of the franchise will find “Gold” is that treasure they were looking for to dive in.

“One Piece Film: Gold” is set for a limited theatrical release Jan. 10-17.

Theater info can be found here.

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