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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Yu-Gi-Oh! - The Movie
Yu-Gi-Oh! - The Movie
Warner Bros. // PG // November 16, 2004
List Price: $27.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Tribbey | posted November 8, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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THE SHOW

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a popular trading card game where opponents duel with monster, spell and situational cards.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is a 90-minute advertisement for the card game, and a halfwit's guide on how to play it.

Think of it as an instructional video for would-be Yu-Gi-Oh competitors, and not as a form of entertainment, one devoid of any joy or intelligence. It's better for everyone involved this way.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, which had a brief run in theaters this summer, assumes the audience has seen the TV series before. Players duel in "Duel Monster" arenas that bring their cards to life, fighting each other until one of the players runs out of life points in the game. Young Yugi is the baddest of all the players, who has the help of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and his God cards.

In the movie we learn that the game originated in Egypt, when players used real demons and magic in battles to the death. An evil force that's been sleeping awakens, and draws Yugi into a fight for his life against his old card-playing nemesis, Kaiba.

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie starts plodding along to the fights from the opening minute, trying, in 30 minutes, to cram A)The source of the game, B)All character introductions, C)A grandfather's fears about an Egyptian curse, and D)Yugi's rough life being the top "Duel Monster" player, because everyone wants a crack at him.

The first part of this movie hurries from one "plot" point to another, because it's not really about Yugi, or his friends, or that grown man named Pegasus who drinks white wine spritzers: It's about the rare "Pyramid of Light" card, which you can own right now, by calling Yu-Gi-Oh's! 1-800 number. Operators are standing by.

Sell, sell, sell, that's what Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is all about, because an hour of this movie is dedicated to Yugi and friends shouting "I'll play my 'Sorcerer of Dark Magic' card, which trumps your 'Blue Eyes Shining Dragon' card" (But that's only if the face down card isn't the "Reverse of Reverse" card, which can be bought for $2 at your local card store).

Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie has a PG rating, but it's not entirely suitable for kids younger than seven or eight: Some of the monsters are scary, Yugi takes a knife in the back at one point, and there's a good amount of ... regurgitation. And there must be a scriptwriter looking for a job somewhere. Between the "But you forget about my trap card!" and "I will sacrifice my two monsters for a NEW monster!" chants, a good chunk of the dialogue is just ugly.

Lines like "imponderable conundrum" and "postulating a new winning stratagem." Were the creators laughing while at work, thinking about the puzzled looks that would appear on all those kids' faces? Maybe they were winking at the adults in the movie theater: "Hey, we know, it's imponderable that there's 60 more minutes of this."

Maybe the creators felt guilty toward the end, because they threw in a quick and dirty lesson in how friendship can overcome all obstacles. Thanks, guys.

There are other trading card games with TV shows and movies - Pokemon, .hack//SIGN, MegaMan - and each have their rabid fan base; the Yu-Gi-Oh! fans are likely going to enjoy this movie no matter what.

Me? I'll take Rounders and poker any day of the week over this stuff.

THE DVD

Video

Well, it's not ALL awful. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie is a pretty decent looking DVD, if a bit bright. Few noticeable defects, other than the movie itself. Night never looks very dark in this movie, but lots of eye candy is presented in the second half, when it's one prolonged battle scene. "Giant Masked Beasts" and wild-looking characters appear as you'd expect in a magic-type arena. Sometimes they look odd floating inches above the floor. It's pretty cheap animation you're looking at, but ... I feel .... compelled .... to buy ... a "Watapon" card ... for $6 on eBay.

Audio

Someone, please, punch the guy operating the jukebox. The audience is constantly bombarded with the most cheesy rock and cheap horror house music you can find. Oh, it sounds decent on surround sound, no lies, but who wants to hear this? The sounds in the battle arena are thumping, but many of the ambient noises outside of the fights are rushed or nonexistent.

Extras

Special features include Warner Home Video previews, a Yu-Gi-Oh Monster Challenge interactive memory game, which is as simple as the movie itself, two music videos and a Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie trailer. The memory game has the player remember three sets of three monsters. And every one of the monsters has an actual card, which, of course, can be added to your own personal collection.

Final Thoughts
Yu-Gi-Oh The Movie is for the game players only, but playing with those cards has to be more enjoyable than sitting through 90 minutes of dreck. Rent it if the kid begs you for it and won't let up. Otherwise just go buy him one of the toys instead. It should shut him up for a while.
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