- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2004

Children’s movies fall into two basic camps. Films like “Shrek” (2001) and “Toy Story” (1995), while not aimed directly at adults, can delight young and old.

This year’s “Clifford’s Really Big Movie,” by comparison, is strictly geared for younger minds, and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that.

“Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie” drops into a small subset of the latter group — a film experience that’s all but torture for anyone over the age of, say, 12.

The film, inspired by the trading card game and anime phenomenon, treats the core components of storytelling like unwanted houseguests.

It’s all about promoting the brand, and it would be far preferable to watch an hour and a half of an Old Maid tournament than the disappointing card tricks here.

A droning prologue purportedly lets those new to “Yu-Gi-Oh!” play a little catch-up.

While our hero Yugi (voiced by Dan Green) is beleaguered by the fame his superior card playing inspires, a long-slumbering evil is about to awaken beneath the sands of Egypt.

Those two forces are destined to cross when Yugi’s longtime rival, Seto Kaiba, wins a new set of cards from the effete, wine-spritzer-slurping Pegasus and prepares for a revenge duel with Yugi.

Who knew trash talking, heretofore chiefly reserved for the basketball court, could be extended to playing card smackdowns?

Those battles, played out with some imaginative creatures, sound exciting on paper.

Consider a giant reptile beast rising from thin air and striking out at a gargantuan robot, all based on what card the player draws. It’s the stuff little boys dream of, cinematically speaking.

Instead, these skirmishes are played out with phlegmatic explanations that make virtually no sense and rob the clashes of any thunder.

“Yu-Gi-Oh!” is beset by the kind of stilted narration reserved for bad science fiction and worse anime. All but the youngest of minds will feel chafed by the ponderous explanations and crude vocal performances.

The “Yu-Gi-Oh!” craze began as a Japanese comic book from artist/writer Kazuki Takahashi and soon crossed the globe via the animated series, video game franchise and trading card contest.

From the evidence of “The Movie,” “Yu-Gi-Oh!” has now been adapted for one medium too many.


WHAT: “Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie”

RATING: PG (Scary combat and monster sequences, mild flatulence humor)

CREDITS: Directed by Hatsuki Tsuji. Written by Michael Pecoriello.

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

WEB SITE: https://yugioh.warnerbros.com/


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide