I read Doraemon intensively when I was young. The story of a cat from the future helping a really pathetic boy change his future was a fascinating one, along with all the gadgets that he had. I used to imagine how my life would be if I had those gadgets as well and would do anything to have a faithful friend like Doraemon. Doraemon's manga used to litter my home, and I bought its spinoff series as well, from the tale of Doraemon's brothers to the long stories. I was a pretty hardcore fan alright.
When I heard that they're adapting the comic into a 3D animated movie, I had my doubts. I wondered how they would adapt the long standing story into a less than two hour feature length film, and stay true to the original source material. So I was not really keen to watch the movie, despite the blue cat being a large part of my life. But a turn in events caused me and the girlfriend to wind up in a cinema showing the movie, as there was no other better alternatives than Doraemon.
I must say, watching the movie was perhaps the best decision that I have made in the entire week. Not only do the movie stayed true to its original source material, it managed to give a new breath to everyone's beloved robot cat without alienating new audiences as well. Even the girlfriend, who never watched or read Doraemon before up until the movie, said that she enjoyed the movie very much.
The movie distilled the gist of the entire plot into Nobita's quest to change his future by marrying Shizuka, with the help of Doraemon. It adapted several chapters from the manga and put them together to form a coherent storyline, as well as adding some new aspects to Nobita's personality that have not really been shown before. The film also did a pretty good job at explaining how Doraemon's programming forces him to help Nobita and how eventually the programming forces him to leave.
The storyline itself is very simple but yet entertaining, and the movie passes on so quickly before you know it. There are a lot of funny moments involving Nobita's antics that would leave audiences laughing but the real pull of the entire movie was the emotional moments between Nobita and those around him. I have never teared so much in a movie theatre before until I watched this movie, and I must say that there are a lot of moments in the film that would keep your eyes moist. Coupled with the comedic moments, there were several times where I found myself both laughing and crying at the same time.
It's a really down to earth film filled with childhood memories for me, as you watch the characters in Doraemon come alive in a most authentic way possible. The movie certainly filled me with nostalgia, capturing the events of Nobita's life succinctly up to the point that he got married, while not trying to sound too cheesy and cliche.
However, I guess my only complaint of the movie was the ending of it. The ending to the franchise was never really addressed by Doraemon's original mangaka, and I had hoped to see how the film would attempt to address it. I half expected a bittersweet ending, one similar to this fan made ending, but I was sorely disappointed by what the filmmakers chose.
Instead of going with a realistic but sad ending, they decided to play it safe and copied one of the chapters already in the manga, (the one with the truth potion, if you know what I am talking) thus making it a unrealistic happy ending. Which never really answered the question of how Nobita parted ways with Doraemon and grew up to become the adult that he is. I pretty much liked the part before they threw in the happy epilogue, which could have made the film much more realistic and truthful. I guess they had to appeal to the children with a happy ending, which was kinda sad.
Basically we are nowhere farther from where we started in the quest to conclusively end the series. I'd said stick to the fan made one, which is still the best in my opinion.
Still, the entire movie itself is a great entertainment for fans and non-fans alike. There are plenty of light hearted moments and as well as tear jerking ones, and it makes for a good movie for families or even couples to watched. The film captured the essence of Doraemon truthfully, while adding little snippets to it that kinda complete the universe. I must say that the filmmakers did a really good job in adapting the entire series into a short movie, without making it too boring or too complicated.
I would give the movie a 10/10, but because of the disappointing ending, I would just give it a 9/10. It's definitely a movie worth catching, if you're a fan of the series or animes in general. Bring lots of tissues though, because tears will be shed.
P/s: I have a question that have been bothering me for the longest time. If Nobita's descendants come to the past to change his wife, wouldn't that erase them as well, since they are not born from the same woman? And wouldn't that effectively eliminate the presence of Doraemon as well as a result? Aha! Paradox