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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beyblade - Fierce Battle
Beyblade - Fierce Battle
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // Unrated // March 22, 2005
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted April 17, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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In a nutshell: Spinning tops battle for world domination.  (No really, they do.  And they have magic powers too.)

The Show:

Beyblade is one of those TV cartoons that are based on a toy line, in this case Hasbro's Beyblade battling top toys.  A popular series in Japan, the cartoon has been imported to the US where it is currently in its third season.  Popular enough to warrant a movie, this 2002 film from Japan has now made its way across the Pacific with the DVD release of Beyblade the Movie: Fierce Battle.

Beyblades are little spinning tops that can defy the laws of physics.  Competing teams of kids battle these tops to see who can push their opponent out a a ring first.  I haven't seen the TV show that this movie is based on, so I'm not sure if the kids are controlling their tops with some psychic powers, but they can talk to the tops and tell them which way to move.  In one scene a player commands his 3" top to jump about 30 feet in the air, and apparently gritting your teeth or screaming will make your top more powerful.  Oooookay.

As this movie starts, Tyson, a member of the Bladebreakers team, wins the Beyblade world championship.  Before he can revel in his victory though, a young upstart kid named Daichi breaks into the ring and challenges him.  They battle, and Tyson is victorious, but Daichi wants a rematch.

Tyson and his teammates go on a much needed vacation, and Daichi follows them to their island retreat.  Not one to give up easily, Daichi pesters Tyson for a rematch over and over until he finally agrees.  They don't get a chance to finish their match though.  In the middle of it, four dark spirit Beybladers interrupt the battle and steal Daichi and his Beyblade.  Turning Daichi to the dark side (to borrow a metaphor from another movie), they plan to use him release five powerful bit-beasts and destroy the world.  So it's up to the Bladebreakers to Beybattle the dark spirits and decide the fate of the world.

At least I think that's what's going on.  This wasn't very friendly to new viewers.  No one ever really stops to explain just what in the Sam Hill is going on.  I watched this with my two sons, aged 9 and 12, and they were more confused than I was.  Because we didn't know what a bit-beast was, or the rules of the game, a lot of the movie didn't make sense.

Someone who is more versed in the world of Beyblade may get more out of this movie than I did, but I found it mind numbing.  I wasn't expecting a lot of characterization or a complex plot, but I was hoping for a movie that had some sort of internal logic to it or at least had a fun story.  I was left scratching my head too often.  (How did they get back into that cave after it caved in?)  This movie of battling tops just seemed stupid.

The DVD:


Audio:

The only audio track on this DVD is a nice sounding 5.1 English dub.  Though the original soundtrack isn't included, the dub sounds pretty average.  There wasn't any audio defects, but the soundtrack didn't stand out either.

Video:

This movie is presented in full frame, and apparently it's a pan and scan job.  There were a couple of scenes where two people were talking, and only one was on the screen.  Several of the shots looked cramped also, which leads me to believe that it was originally shown with a wider aspect ratio, though I wasn't able to confirm the OAR.  In any case, most of the kids that are watching this movie probably won't notice it.

Aside from that, the image looked really good.  The colors were bright and the image was sharp.   Digital defects were at a minimum, with even aliasing being very minor.

Extras:

This disc also features a 6½-minute featurette that has Daniel De Santo, one of the voice actors for the series taking viewers on a tour of the BBA, (BeyBlade Association) Headquarters where they get a peak of the next Beyblade toy release and see how the anime is dubbed.

There is also a 13-minute Bayblade Championship featurette.  It is hosted by Daniel De Santo again, and shows clips of several Beyblade tournaments.  Something only the most ardent fan would find this interesting.

Final Thoughts:

The biggest problem with this movie is that they don't take the time to explain what was going on.  Even getting past that, the plot seemed a little ridiculous.  Three inch tops battling for the fate of the world?  Fans of the show might want to rent it, but everyone else should Skip It.

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