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Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie
2004 - PG - 90 Mins.
Director: Hatsuki Tsuji
Producer: Naoki Sasada
Written By: Lloyd Goldfine, Matthew Drdek, Norman Grossfeld, Michael Pecoriello
Starring: Dan Green, Eric Stuart, Darren Dunstan, Wayne Grayson, Scottie Ray
Review by: Joe Rickey

Power to Anime.
Yugi is a young boy on a mission. His goal is to tinker with and eventually complete a challenge of his grandfather’s deemed the millennium puzzle. After much in the way of hard work, he successfully completes the puzzle; leading to an ethereal connection forming between himself and an ancient pharaoh. This connection aids Yugi in his favorite card game, “Duel Monsters,” until another ancient being called Anubis enters the picture. This being has decidedly evil intentions as it helps Kaiba, Yugi’s arch rival. It then boils down to which team has more will and outright determination; who wants to win more?

‘Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie’ is a pathetically thin attempt at a feature length movie based on a card game with origins similar to that of Pokemon; itself spawning numerous films. For one, the plot is paper thin, coming across as a simulation of the card game done with the style of Japanese Anime. Not only that, the plot, which may interest die-hard fans of the franchise, is about as entertaining as going to the dentist and getting a root canal.

The screenplay by committee never even seems to feel the slightest obligation to get the audience to care one bit about any of the characters. For instance, we learn next to nothing about Yugi and he is supposed to be the main character. Maybe I am asking too much from a project that is really nothing more than a way of deepening the pockets of executives while reinforcing the presence of the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand name. Heck, the game doesn’t even lead to much in the way of action, just more talking.

Then there is the atrocious dialogue, if you can even call it that. I mourn for the actors forced to spout inane dialogue about how their on-screen persona is about the use such and such powerful, magic-ridden attacks. These attacks are called something even more inane, usually comprised of multiple syllables.

Compounding problems is the fact that even the animation is subpar. It lacks detail; the characterization and use of color is very poor, and there is a void of the smoothness one expects from an animated film in this day and age. Perhaps all this has something to do with the fact that the film was completed and released in its home country of Japan more than eight (!) years ago.

‘Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie’ is a market driven entity, there is no doubt about that. It just so happens to be one sorely missing any sort of emotional hook, any semblance of an interest-grabbing element for those not among the converted. Therefore, its audience is severely limited and even those who like the game are probably better off just playing the game themselves instead of forking over money to view a poorly animated version of the event.
Movie Guru Rating
Unwatchable.  One of the worst of the year.  Skip it.
  0.5 out of 5 stars

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