Title: The Promised Neverland
Original Title: 約束のネバーランド
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Hirakawa Yuichiro
At Grace Field House, life couldn’t be better for the orphans! Though they have no parents, together with the other kids and a kind “Mama” who cares for them, they form one big, happy family. No child is ever overlooked, especially since they are all adopted by the age of 12. Their daily lives involve rigorous tests, but afterward, they are allowed to play outside. There is only one rule they must obey: do not leave the orphanage. But one day, two top-scoring orphans, Emma and Norman, venture past the gate and unearth the horrifying reality behind their entire existence: they are all livestock, and their orphanage is a farm to cultivate food for a mysterious race of demons. With only a few months left to pull off an escape plan, the children must somehow change their predetermined fate.
This movie is basically a summary of the first series of the anime, only with real actors instead of animated characters.
The fact that is a full season condensed in two hours of movie (roughly half the time if we consider a single episode to last more or less 20 minutes) makes it seem a bit rushed and it ends up depriving some of the scenes of the needed timings and pathos.
Another thing that I really didn’t like is their choice for the actors being the protagonists. Ray is the only one that seems to have the right age, while Emma and Norman are blatantly some adults taking the parts of children that are eleven years old. They try to make them look younger using bigger props and scenarios but the effect doesn’t work really well.
However some of the actors are really on point! Gilda is basically identical to the anime and they have chosen the perfect actress to portrait Mama! She is even scarier here than in the anime!
For Sister Krone the thing is a bit controversial as they did choose a Japanese actress to portray here when in the series she has dark skin. The expressions of the actress are on point with the ones of the character in the anime but here they have an effect that is diametrically the opposite: instead of passing off as a sketchy, negative and creepy character in the movie she acts almost as a comical relief.
Apart from what I’ve already said, the movie is really good and very faithful to the story of the manga! This was the selling point for me! I’m sincerely hoping for a sequel, accurate to the manga as this first one, that will “fix” what the second season of the Anime did to this series.