clowkitty: (Citan-sensei  *sigh!*)
[personal profile] clowkitty
I succumbed. I bought the dvd yesterday and watched it last night. My thoughts, something of a mini-review, are behind the LJ cut (to avoid spoilers for those who've not yet seen it).

If you liked the movie, be warned -- Overall, I'd give it a C. It's not the most horrible thing I've seen, but it is not a movie I'd recommend anyone going out to buy, unless you are a die-hard Yu-Gi-Oh fan who doesn't really care if the movie breaks its own canon.

First off, I was underwhelmed by the art. It is obviously CG and looks more like an American cartoon (flat, limited use of shadows and slightly hyper use of color) with unimaginative direction as most of the shots are straight on, full face with almost no use of interesting angles.

The music is similarly lackluster. There seem to be a few attempts to remind one of the standard themes in Yu-Gi-Oh, but the themes never quite resolved so I found myself becoming irritated. There are two (I believe) lyrical songs that are okay.

The story. Actually, the premise of the story is very cool -- the idea that when the Pharaoh locked away the power of the Shadow Games in the Millennium Items he also locked himself away in the Millennium Puzzle, for the purpose of locking Anubis, the god of the dead in Egyptian mythology away too.

And as the rather pedantic narration in the beginning informs us, the Millennium Puzzle was never to have been solved.

The dichotomy of the Pharaoh (Yami, which means "dark" or "darkness" in Japanese) being sealed away in the Millennium Puzzle (which all of us know is in the shape of an inverted pyramid) and Anubis being sealed in the amulet-like upright form of the Pyramid of Light, representing good and evil respectively, would work if Anubis were an evil god.

(I know very little of Egyptian mythology, and yet I seem to recall that Anubis, though he is the god of the dead and the underworld, was not evil. Rather, I believe he was more of a guardian of the dead. If memory serves the god who was supposedly ultimately evil in Egyptian myth is Set.)

Well then -- even putting that aside, why, when Yugi solved the Puzzle, did ghostly Duel Monsters appear (including an evilly fanged Kuriboh) and threaten him until the Pharaoh appeared and told them to "Begone!"? Is the movie intimating that the Duel Monsters themselves are intrinsically evil components of the Shadow Games?

Again, allow me to put that disconcerting thought aside to move on.

The characters --

Mai, Rex and Weasel have visual-only cameos.

Yugi is still Yugi, maybe a touch dimmer and more naive than usual, but not too far out of his usual character. Yami -- well, overall his character in the movie is nothing special, except that the dialog calls for him to roar lots of lines. *grin* I'm a fan of his voice actor, so Yami roaring lines makes me happy. ^_^

Grandpa shows up a lot to help set the stage (by translating hieroglyphics) for Anubis to arise.

Joey and Tristan - In the movie, you could refer to them as JoeyandTristan. They do everything together and for the most part are relegated to bodyguard (for Yugi) and "street punk" status. They give Joey a fair number of idiotic lines to utter as well. Tristan suffers from idiotic line syndrome too, but for some reason, perhaps the voice actor's delivery of the lines, I found myself laughing at them.

Tea is Tea is Tea is Tea is Tea. Which means she delivers sappy lines about friendship with more earnestness, conviction and sincerity than anyone else. In the key scene, her spirit is drawn into the Puzzle where our three heroes (Yugi, Joey and Tristan) are making a stand against a bunch of mummies so she gets to deliver her sincere, sappy lines while floating angelically over the boys' heads (complete with glittery sparkles! I wish I were kidding!). Then Anubis zaps her soul fully into the Puzzle forcing her to fight the mummies too. (I almost cheered for Anubis when he did that!)

Kaiba - I'm not a huge Kaiba fan. However, in the series he is reasonably complex and motivated by believable convictions. For some reason, the movie portrays him as psychotically fixated with diabolical monomania on the idea that he had to beat Yugi at all costs to reclaim his crown as "king of games". The movie emphasizes this to the point where Kaiba's intelligence, skill and elan are mashed flat. Let me put it this way: Mokuba nearly got crushed by a card Kaiba played and Kaiba didn't even care. I'm not even certain he noticed. Does that sound like the "true" Kaiba to anyone?

Mokuba - Pushing buttons and setting machines to run, Mokuba is Kaiba's pint-sized butler as usual.

Anubis - Thankfully, only a movie character. Anubis is the usual evil, gonna-destroy-the-world, having more improbable tricks up his sleeve kind of boss monster that populates second-rate anime and video games so prolifically.

Pegasus is the only character who actually manages to sparkle. The movie is set after Pegasus lost the Millennium Eye, but that doesn't mean Pegasus is not still a contender, so to speak. If Kaiba had been anything like his tv self, the scenes and duel between Pegasus and Kaiba would have been a true delight. Still, Pegasus receives better treatment than any other character in the movie and he has some of the best lines.

The duels/monsters - It's Duel Monsters, so there've gotta be duels and monsters. Far fewer than could have been done in the span of a movie, and most of the duels are seen only as snippets that make it seem almost like watching a high-lights reel from the show. Kaiba and Pegasus' duel (predictably) features Toon World and Toon monsters for example. Joey duels for maybe two minutes. The movie saves all its dueling energy for the pivotal duel between Kaiba/Anubis and Yami.

And then it manages to break just about every rule of dueling there is. A turn or two after Yami sacrifices Queen's Knight, King's Knight and Jack's Knight (properly) to bring forth some high-powered monster, Kaiba just willy-nilly summons a Blue Eyes White Dragon to the field with no sacrifices. Then, he proceeds to Polymerize it with the other two Blue Eyes to create his tiresome Ultimate Dragon, then, attacks Yugi's monster, then, attacks another of Yugi's monsters. All in the same turn!

I haven't played the game, but I do pay attention to the duels on tv. Isn't a monster supposedly not able to act for a full turn after being summoned by Polymerization? And then, after a monster attacks, aren't they unable to attack until the next turn (unless some magic card is played which wasn't the case in this duel)?

The Sorcerer of Dark Magic is quite cool, completely too powerful for the game unless pitted against the equally unbalancing Blue Eyes Shining Dragon. The Egyptian god cards are almost an afterthought, though they were the force that finally helped Yugi win after an utterly weird duel with Anubis himself.

And I guess that's it.

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December 2004

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