Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: VIZ Media
MSRP: $24.92 US
Running Time: 94 minutes
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
It’s an older Naruto but the story is the same.
If there’s one thing Naruto fans know its that the Naruto movies aren’t the best way to introduce newcomers to the spiky haired ninja’s adventures. It’s not to say that all Naruto movies were horrible, it’s just that they all seem to follow the same formula without showing even the most dedicated Naruto fan something new. Naruto Shippuden The Movie is the first movie in the Naruto Shippuden series and while its has its good moments, this is still more of the same.
The movie begins in the most interesting way … a battle between the older and still impulsive Naruto and what looks like a dragon ends with Naruto getting impaled. Soon, news of Naruto’s death begins to reach the Hidden Leaf Village as he is buried with Sakura and his closest friends present. Of course, Naruto’s death is a vision of a lovely young girl who just so happens to be a Priestess of the Land of Ogres. Just what this vision means isn’t clear to the girl, well, not yet anyway.
Meanwhile, a Dark Medical Ninja by the name of Yomi orders his four shinobi followers to attack a shrine where a very powerful demon named Moryo has been sealed away. The four shinobi make quick work out of the shrine guards thanks to a highly concentrated injection that significantly intensifies their chakra and Yomi manages to resurrect the very demon lord that can destroy the entire world. Of course, only one thing stands in Moryo’s way and that is the same young Priestess of the Land of Ogres. With her out of the way, Moryo can once again rise for good.
Word is sent to the Hidden Leaf Village that the Land of Ogres is in trouble. Lady Tsunade calls upon Naruto and Sakura to join with Neji Hyuga and Rock Lee to escort the Priestess who is the only one who can perform a sealing ritual that will trap Moryo once again. As they get the Land of Ogres, though, Naruto and the other encounter the four shinobi that pull off some impressive moves. Naruto also meets the Priestess who turns out to have the same spoiled and indifferent personality of just about every other character Naruto has to save in all the past movies.
The Priestess Shion is a spoiled brat, indeed, but a part of her doesn’t want to see everyone around her suffer such as her follower named Taruho refuses to head back to their village. Naruto can’t understand why Taruho would lay down his life for her but the more Naruto gets to know Shion the more he sees the burden that was placed on her since her birth.
With the four shinobi on their trail, the team decides to make a stand but their opponents seem to possess different types of Jutsu that make them nearly unbeatable. Still, Naruto and Rock Lee decided to make a stand as Rock Lee pulls off all his moves and even uses a bourbon bon bon that makes the young ninja go all-out. Unfortunately, Naruto and Rock Lee’s battle is short and never gets as brutal as it should have been considering the fact that the enemy is powered up.
Meanwhile, Naruto gets closer to Lady Shion who sees that Naruto is sincere in making his own destiny despite the fact that she tells him that he will die. With Naruto and Shion heading toward the shrine and to their fate, the final battle falls flat as Naruto not only takes on Yomi and Lord Moryo but also demon’s Terracotta Army Ghost Army.
The movie rarely displays anything new that we haven’t seen in past movies and familiar characters that show up in the movie seldom have anything to do. Naruto is reduced to simply dishing out a few Rasengans and Multi-Shadow Clone Jutsus. At least the animation if good and if you wait through the ending credits you will not be disappointed.
Naruto Shippuden The Movie isn’t a bad feature film but it doesn’t really showcase the things we love about the anime series in a movie that doesn’t do anything different from past Naruto movies. There are a few redeemable qualities – particularly the great ending credits scene – but even the most loyal Naruto fan can’t help be feel that Naruto certainly deserves a lot better.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
A Dark Medical Ninja takes it upon himself to attempt to resurrect a demon named Moryo but in order to do so he and his followers must eliminate a young Priestess who is the only one capable of sealing the demon away. Luckily for her, the Leaf Village sends Naruto and a team comprising of Neji, Rock Lee and Sakura to come to her aid.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The Naruto movies, although true to series animation, look considerably better than the series and the flashy visual design is simply dazzling. The CG Ghost Army doesn’t look cheap either, which is a good thing.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The English dub cast is present so it’s great to hear the voices from the series but you just have to love the original Japanese voice cast as well. The music in the movie is simply amazing and the songs in the movie are catchy.
There are trailers for other Naruto products but the real treat comes from two of the movie’s songs included in music video fashion. The original Japanese trailer for the movie is also included as well as a movie booklet that includes some interviews with the Japanese cast, the movie’s director and even Kishimoto-sensei himself.
Naruto fans know that the movies aren’t the best examples of how good the series is and Naruto Shippuden The Movie isn’t any different. With an interesting premise but a weak execution, the story seems to just throw the usual assortment of familiar Naruto elements without trying anything different. This is too bad seeing as the movie does its good moments that Naruto fans will certainly appreciate.