When it comes to a long-running series like Naruto, most reviews would begin with a brief history lesson; detailing it’s expansive lineage starting from 1999, but seeing as this movie marks the end of the series that started me on my personal journey to becoming what I am today and, hopefully, what I will be in the near future…I feel as though it deserves more than just a basic history lesson.
Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is the series that singlehandedly inspired me to want to both write comics and write about Japanese culture as a whole. It was the very first Manga I ever read, it was the first Anime I ever watched (knowing that it was indeed Anime), and it was the first piece of fiction to make me understand that we each live different lives that lead us in different directions, all of which are guided by our own choices. In the series, this was referred to as a “Ninja Way“, and I think that, without it, I would have never been able to make it to where I am now.
Thanks to Madman Entertainment, us here at SnapThirty were given the chance to experience Masashi Kishimoto’s self-proclaimed creative pinnacle; Boruto: Naruto The Movie, which has been released in theatres across Australia, albeit for a limited time only. Boruto marks the end of Naruto’s journey towards becoming Hokage, but what it sees is the start of Boruto’s journey as he discovers his own Ninja Way; one unlike that of his Father’s but one that is just as admirable. Boruto: Naruto The Movie is a true representation of the series as a whole, as well as that of Masashi Kishimoto’s creative journey, and we few are lucky enough to have been able to experience it on the big screen.
With Naruto as the Seventh Hokage, Hidden Leaf Village is planning to host the Chunin Exams to train new shinobi from the village and from five of their allied villages. Among the entrants are Sasuke’s daughter, Sarada, who adores Naruto, Mitsuki, an exceptionally talented yet mysterious shinobi… And Boruto, Naruto’s son who shows great potential, but despises his father.
Sasuke who’s been on a mission in another dimension appears before Naruto to warn of a strange impending danger he has sensed. Shrouded with an evil aura, Momoshiki and Kinshiki appear during the Exams and attempt to assassinate Naruto with the Rinnegan. Boruto is petrified and unable to do a thing while Sasuke guards him. As Naruto steps in front to shield them, he smiles faintly and disappears in front of Boruto.
An inconceivable foe lies in wait as Sasuke, the Five Kage and Boruto with a determination of steel, charge into another dimension! – Madman Entertainment
Boruto: Naruto The Movie wasn’t necessarily a single Naruto film despite the fact that it was indeed a standard feature-length production. Story-wise, it featured a handful of branching arcs that all came together at the very end, not in a natural way but in wuite a forceful way seeing as the enemies of the film were properly introduced halfway through and went on to steal the show. At the very beginnimg it seemed as though this was going to be a movie solely about Boruto getting the attention of his father who has been buried in his role as Hokage for as long as the young man can remember. While, in the end, this particulat issue is resolved, I felt as though it was sonewhat forgetten during the lead up to the finale of the film. The second story arc revolved around Boruto and his team during the Chuunin Exams wherein which the titular character cheated his way to victory, ultimately to be found out by the Hokage hinself. This storyline was present only as a very thin connection to the antagonist of the film who used stolen Shinobi techniques to turn the tides of battle. The third, most predominant, story feature was that of the antagonists appearing within Konohagakure with the sole mission of sapping Naruto of his immeasurable Chakra, like few have done in the past.
While the first half of the movie was an utter delight, throwing back to the golden age of Naruto wherein which it was as much about overcoming yourself as it was about overcoming your enemies, but then quickly turned into what Naruto has become in modern times; a Dragon Ball Z-like series with unimaginably extravagant action sequences that introduce new fighting styles and techniques from characters who have never done such things in the series’ past. While the beginning of the film featured the same vibe as the original Chuunin Exam Arc, the latter parts of the movie was made up entirely of what I would call modern day Naruto’s bread and butter; mindless Ninja carnage without the necessary context.
Thankfully the film’s overall visual presence was absolutely awe-inspiring. From the very first minute to the very last, Boruto: Naruto The Movie exerted a presence of almost limitless animation budget, making it the greatest-looking Naruto film to ever be released, hands down. Despite the fact that the final fight scene of the film looked more like a high-budgeted Tokusatsu production than that of a classic Naruto battle, the animation quality made it east to enjoy by not giving you even a second to think about just what the hell is going on. Though it didn’t necessarily fit, it looked absolutely amazing, and it proved to be, for a lack of better words…fun!
I was hoping that, for what is meant to be the final Naruto movie, the production crew would add some classic Naruto songs into the soundtrack for the film. Now I’m not necessarily talking about the theme songs or anything along those lines, I’m more referring to character-specific theme songs, and fight tracks that were present throughout the series. It would have been utter magic to hear Naruto’s original theme song in the background during a fight between Boruto and, let’s say, Shikadai…but that never happened. Regardless, the soundtrack for the movie was quite enjoyable. In true Naruto style, most of the music featured were heavy rock trcks peppered with some traditional Japanese sounds…apart from the track played during the final combat scene which was out of place seeing as though it was…electronica bordering on dubstep. Strange. As far as voice acting goes; all your favorites make a return as their respective characters and continue to perform admirably. The nee characters, like Boruto and friends, all feature fantastic voice talents, but there was one downfall, and it was the film’s antagonist who had a maniacle laugh that simply made him sound lethargic.
Fact is, despite all that I’ve said…this movie was wonderful! It had things for all Naruto fans: Those of you, like me, who’re fans of the Chuunin Exam arc and classic Naruto storylines will find exactly what you need in this film, but so will those of you out there who enjoy where Masashi Kishimoto took the series as it reached it’s end. It also happens to feature unparalleled animation quality and a voice cast of veterans who each know how to bring the best out of their respective roles. Of course, I would liked to have seen certain things, most specifically is more callbacks to the start of the series, but that’s only because I love this series so much. Boruto: Naruto The Movie is a classic Naruto film written in the style of Naruto Shippuden, and, you know what? It was pretty damn good.!