Having enjoyed this movie, there are still some rather glaring issues, at least for me, and I had to go into a different mindset, as with all Detective Conan movies, because if I didn't, I probably would have been much more "upset" after watching it.
So this movie essentially amounts to being a "fanservice movie", and that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I do believe that while the story and character progression can feel rather cliche (because it is), I think that at the very least it's executed well and the movie has enough to offer in terms of solid enjoyment.
First of all, I think the route that the movie takes is a bit different for Detective Conan, and I've actually wanted to see a movie like The Darkest Nightmare for quite some time. That is, a Black Organization movie without some underlying mystery completely unrelated to the plot. That's what this is, and despite it being predictable because the movie isn't canon (since we can all see how it's going to essentially end), it's still nice to see the movie not get bogged down by a sub-par mystery plot.
Because it's not a typical Detective Conan movie, and this will be a huge turn off to many fans... that being said, most the movie mystery plots have been extremely lackluster for the last several movies, so I think this is a nice fresh of breath.
This also gives us an opportunity to see certain scenes we would have never ordinarily seen in the manga, since drawing a lot of action would take far too many panels/pages, and Gosho Aoyama tends to keep things mostly on the more "logical" side. It's nice to see some outlandish action once in awhile, permitting it doesn't transfer over into the manga (Kaitou Kid vs Makoto case *cough*)
The plot of the movie is rather cliche. The focal point is not so much around the "main cast" but other characters, predominantly our female movie character lead, as well as Bourbon and Akai.
Curacao, has obtained a NOC list, outing Riesling, Aquavit, Stout, and Bourbon/Kir as spies, but before she is able to relay information regarding the full list, she is branded an amnesiac.
Conan, Ai, and the rest of the Detective Boys find her in an amusement park after washing up, and for a small portion of the movie they are walking around with her, and she slowly gains her memories back through the course of this movie.
Naturally the status quo must be maintained so nothing regarding Bourbon/Kir happens, and Curacao dies at the end of the movie, despite regaining her memories since the DBs apparently had a large impact on her and she wanted to save them. This was a given since nothing "important" can really happen in something that is not manga-canon. (I can't even consider it a spoiler, anyone who has followed the series to this point should have seen it coming a mile away).
Of course, they, at least for awhile, try to shroud Curacao's identity from us, and I do have to say it was quite a genius idea to build off of the Rum hype and try to treat her as a suspect, but it's really only something that's going to fool gullible fans.
I also think that it's a bit cruel to tease the "first appearance" of such an important individual and only have them appear by a masked voice, which was also to be expected...
And to go on a little bit of a rant here... I think it's a terrible idea to introduce 3 spies and to quickly kill them off. Even though it's non-canon, the amount of BO spies in the series at least compared to known "antagonists" isn't much of a difference, and to have a code-name to me has come across as being an "important" member. This makes the BO out to be rather incompetent, much more so than they've already shown to be, even if that is all for the convenience of the plot.
Anyways... nothing special about the plot. It's very generic, to the point where I don't even really have much to say about it. The movie itself has a lot of redeeming qualities, so let's get on to that.
Art and Animation: 9/10
Judging from previous movies, I have to say the Darkest Nightmare, mostly, looks quite stunning for a DC movie. It has solid art all the way through, and the animation is very pleasurable to look at, especially when there needs to be good animation. It doesn't come across as cheap, which is more that can be said about DC's current anime art, which can look absolutely horrendous.
Character designs for the throwaway BO members certainly made them feel like throwaways, but I feel that the character design for Curacao was very acceptable and she has one of the better designs we've seen, much better than Irish from M13...
There were not really any moments where I felt that the art was mediocre. The setting of the amusement park is rather colorful, and the palette in general was much more pleasing to look at. Even down to the character clothing choices, I felt that this movie really had some good art to look at, that is if you are a fan of this rather dated style. It all comes down to personal preference...
Gosho's keyframes also looked quite good, and it was nice seeing Jinpei Matsuda, even if it was an extremely random return. It's always nice trying to spot them, and thankfully they didn't stand out too much. This was another point that showed me truly how nice the art was.
One last bit... I really liked the intro. It was a good stylistic change and I'm glad they did something different. It was nice to look at, and I probably enjoyed this simple recap/introduction more than I should have.
Having watched the Korean DUB, and not the Japanese, I will probably change my review up as I see the "official" release.
The OST was a little better than average in my opinion. DC soundtracks have been rather abysmal for the last several years, and there were certainly some good tracks here, but in the end it did feel repetitive at times, and not a lot of really unique music came out of it. That being said, of the good tunes, they certainly had some memorable ones, notably the pursuit scene, fight scene, and even a rather "James Bond" esque tune that played when Vermouth was in the cafe. The soundtrack was good, it just wasn't anything more than that...
Sound effects for this movie were quite nice as well, though I have to say that nothing really shined, it was just felt a little plain, but well placed.
One of the absolute best things about Detective Conan's anime is the voice cast. It has one, if not the best voice casts in anime, and many notable and praiseworthy CVs. I can't really "judge" the performance seeing as how I haven't seen the Japanese release, but I can guarantee it'll be nothing short of amazing.
Again, nothing special, since the focus of the movie is around Curacao, and she has a basic 180 turn in personality. No matter what you do, when you introduce a character that you know is going to die by the end of the movie, you can't try and produce a sob story or a death for dramatic effect. It doesn't work, at least for me...
Maybe because it was inevitable I really can't fault it, but the motivation seems a bit weak, but who knows how strong her ties to the BO really were. The quick scene with Vermouth, Rum, and Curacao strapped to the table may have just been there to help illustrate this.
Akai and Bourbon's characters were handled rather well, and it was nice to see the fight scene, something that likely won't ever happen in the manga. Was the grudge brought up at all? I don't think so, but Bourbon's hatred towards Akai was captured quite nicely here.
Ran, Sonoko and Kogoro could have just as well not been there at all this movie and it wouldn't have made a difference. That's a minus for me, as I do like seeing characters portrayed like the "old days", since recently the movies like to introduce their own characters and only focus on Conan.
With such a large cast, this is forgivable, since you can almost wonder at times, who isn't in this movie?
It's a solid fanservice movie. It's paced well, it's great to look at, the music is nice, and the character performances are all there. Was it predictable? Sure, but it was nice to see such a BO centric movie. While I will say that they are far more ostentatious than they should ever be (much like M13), it was fun. I had fun. That's what matters in the end. I don't think you have to "turn your brain off" or anything of that sort, but I do think that given the movie's concept and how otherworldly it is for this franchise, you have to go into it with a different mindset... and if people still bitch after being given what they've asked for for several years, I really don't know how they can be satisfied...
The Darkest Nightmare delivers. It has a unique premise (but only for a Detective Conan movie), good art and animation, and is all around fun to watch. There will certainly be some replay value for this one.
The story and characters are nothing special, so if you're not a fan of Akai or Bourbon, or didn't get invested in the whole Curacao debacle, I can completely understand why someone might not like this movie.
Perhaps an 8/10 is a bit high seeing as how the movie has a rather shoddy and generic plot, which should be one of the most important things to look at, but I think proper execution for a concept that has been so overdone can make all the difference. Did it have proper execution? That's up for debate, but seeing as how I consider myself rather picky and was expecting much worse than what we got... yea, I think it was good.
Give it a go at the very least. It's one of the few Detective Conan movies that I endorse, but I also recommend being somewhat caught up with the plot to fully understand what is going on.