Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Naruto Shippuden the Movie: The Will of Fire

An old shinobi from the Leaf is collecting kekkei genkai users in order to create the perfect body for himself and initiate the Fourth Great Shinobi War, and the last ninja he's targeted is Kakashi and his sharingan. Kakashi has decided to sacrifice himself for the sake of the village, but Naruto, Sakura, and Sai disobey orders and make chase to save him, while Shikamaru leads the remainder of the Konoha 11 as they attempt to halt Naruto's pursuits. Everyone gets their chance to shine in The Will of Fire, which truly does feel like one of the more honest and faithful adaptations to Kishimoto's story.

In some respects, having so many characters showcased feels like it shouldn't work, especially within the confines of a 90 minute movie. Yet, they really do balance things out and give most everyone their fair share of screen time to really show their stuff. And it's not only the Leaf ninjas, they even include the Sand shinobi here, and we get to see a surprisingly awesome rematch between Naruto and Gaara. In fact, all of the fight scenes in this movie are really creative and filled with clever moments, but of all the characters showcased, no one comes out of this thing looking better than Tenten. Seriously, she's a freaking beast here! But yeah, probably the most neglected character in the main series has the most impressive feats in this movie, and as I mentioned in my Bonds review, that's one of the things that actually make me really appreciate the anime sometimes.

But not only do the characters get a chance to show their stuff, but their actual portrayals are pretty much on par with their canon selves as well. There's no overly and obnoxiously goofy Naruto to be seen here. And even with his added screen time, they didn't go overboard making Shikamaru arrogantly smart, like they sometimes do in the anime.

Another cool fact is that, of the shinobi that our main villain has already collected, three of the character designs were actually conjured up by Kishimoto himself, and were used as characters that he revived during the canon Fourth Shinobi War (though the abilities they posses in canon are completely different from the movie's portrayal). So that's pretty neat, and like Road to Ninja, the fact that Kishimoto was actually somewhat involved with at least some of the production of this particular movie probably plays a big role in just how solid it turned out in the end.

However, it's not all perfect, though what I'm about to cover really is pretty nitpicky. But there are some continuity errors that can get annoying, where characters will be wearing cloaks in one scene, only for them to disappear and reappear seemingly at will from scene to scene. And the movie ends with a really lame and forced gay joke that just comes out of nowhere and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. But honestly, outside of that, there's really not much to rag about against this movie.

The story is well written, the characters are well handled and well balanced, and the action is top notch stuff. And while this movie really does drive home its themes, unlike previous efforts, they manage to avoid a lot of the cheese in doing so this time around. This movie really is one of the more solid ones, and definitely something that fans of the series will be able to enjoy.

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