This is the fifth Naruto movie, made after the initial high spirited continuation was saturated and the show entered a state of slow pacing and full of fillers phase. Once again the excitement was over and the audience started to drop it for the second time. Even the directors seemed to have lost their will to make something exciting and just created this as basic as possible. The budget is still quite high but there was no work given on making interesting battle choreographies, while all the characters act rather bored and distant from the viewer.
I must admit though that this movie has a very different feel from the previous ones. There are no henchmen that need to be defeated fro example, just generic faceless mooks with fancy technology. And the main villain’s motives were left hidden for the most part, making the main objective of the film to be hidden from the audience. So in this regard the movie was much closer to a war drama or a mystery adventure than a bunch of teenagers kicking the crap out of each other. This made it feel more mature as an overall. The problem here is that Naruto was never mature and the target audience never expected it to be. They just wanted to see cool magical ninjas doing lots of exciting stuff and instead got a rather uneventful movie with some anti-war messages and a blurry sinister plan towards the end.
There was a major hook for the fans to see the movie though. The trailers mentioned that it will feature the return of Gaysuke, the real protagonist that is, who was absent since the first movie. They even tried to tie the events with the main series in a very subtle way by making Orochimaru to be in need of a scroll some doctor in this film has. It seemed like a good marketing trick and normally it should have worked. Yet to the most part it didn’t. Why?
EVERYONE IS SO WEAK AND STUPID! Seriously, all the elite super powerful ninjas you were watching for so many years doing all sorts of epic stuff, in this movie they feel like they are average people who can’t even move fast or fight properly.
- The invading ninjas are not using ninjutsu to the most part. They are using technology, which is so off with the rest of the setting. We are so used to see magic hand seals, gained after years of training or after a horrible experiment was done on them, that this is just stupid. They all look like mass-produced robots instead of specially trained stealth spies or assassins. Not that the evil underlings in the other movies were any better in terms of personality but at least they had a face and each one of them had a unique style of fighting. But these guys? They all look the same and fight the same and don’t even have a face. Hell, even the villains of the second film had faces and unique abilities, despite NOT being ninjas and STILL using technology. Thus they are completely generic and booooring from the first second.
- Konoha is invaded so easily by the aforementioned ninjas that is plain stupid. I mean you have this huge organization of spies, scattered throughout the world and NOBODY could see and inform the village that a dozen huge battleships are heading their way? In the previous movie for example a soldier informed the others with a messenger pigeon. They also have hounds, frogs, and a thousand other scouting animals that can even be summoned from afar. Hell, they have a magic barrier that senses the tiniest person entering and informs the rest of what has happened in seconds. So seeing Konoha being trashed so easily is not only lame but also contradicts what we have seen so far in terms of security.
- Seeing Konoha getting trashed stopped being dramatic after the tenth time they did it in a filler arc. It was dramatic when it was done in-story during the Chuunin exam or when Pain invaded but they used the same hook in so many fillers that it lost its dramatic tension. So what if thousands died from the attack? So did ten times so far and nobody seems to mind at all. Konoha must have a population of over one billion to excuse all the casualties going unnoticed.
- So our heroes go to the offense and go on a mission to find the enemy’s base and destroy it. Which is a reasonable thing to do… if they were doing it right. Instead of jumping from tree to tree, which is a trademark of the show and which allows them to cross huge distances in a matter of hours, they WALK towards the enemy or use riverboats. THIS IS COMPLETELY BS! Where are all the cool stuff they could do before?
- Another case of how weak and useless everybody is, is the scene where Naruto is poisoned by the bite of a fish. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? He has a mountain worth of chakra inside him that heals him in an instant and all of a sudden he can’t recover from a simple bite? Not only that but Hinata who can see and control chakra regulation, as well as Sakura who is a professional healer could do absolutely NOTHING to help him. THIS IS COMPLETE BS!
- And then a trap is triggered and someone gets killed with them standing right next to him. COMPLETE BS! We had seen them a hundred times having lightening-fast fast reflexes and saving people in a fraction of a second but now they can’t even run fast before it is too late.
What is even worse is when they really ARE using superpowers. It still looks completely crock.
- Although Sai’s fight with the flying ninjas was very cool, the way their ships were eventually defeated was completely anti-climactic. Somehow Shino’s bugs infiltrated them and destroyed them in a few seconds. LAAAAME!
- Gaysuke’s plan to defeat the main villain was also anti-climactic. All he did was throwing a few tiny sparks to cut his chakra circulation. LAAAAME!
- Then Naruto falls from a very high altitude and is saved by Jiraya who placed a frog to work as a trampoline that would stop him from crashing. Which would be cool if he was present in the film from the beginning and had foreseen and planned it to be as such. HE JUST CAME OUT OF NOWHERE!
What is even worse than even that is how all other characters besides Naruto (who is needed to provide his shallow idealism and final Rasengan on the enemy EVERY SINGLE TIME) are completely useless to the plot. They were useless before of course but now they CAN’T EVEN DO THE BASICS! They don’t even fight. They don’t even have a place in this whole mess.
- What is Sakura and Hinata doing in this film? They did absolutely nothing! They didn’t fight, they didn’t heal, they didn’t even offer some sort of service other than the tired jokes of Sakura hitting Naruto and Hinata blushing.
- What is Gaysuke doing in this film? Yes, he is looking for a scroll but was he important to the story? Hell no, he was there as fan service. Naruto did all the work as usual and Sasuke only managed to ruin the final battle with his cheap tricks.
- The main villain was a completely boring idiot and his plans made no sense at all.
- Zero-tails? Seriously? ZERO-TAILS? Not only it looks goddamn lame but it was so easy to defeat as well.
- That tomboy chick was also useless. Not to the story but because she felt like a sexualized and boring imitation of all the other emo kids Naruto was aiding in previous movies.
So in a few words the whole movie is anti-climactic and makes everybody to feel useless and stupid. It is completely unlikable and one of the worst additions to the franchise.