Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie (review)

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The title means “King of Games,” and beyond the clear aim of getting kids to separate their parents from cold hard cash in exchange for the real-life Yu-Gi-Oh game cards for which this is a blatant advertisement, the film is thoroughly incomprehensible. On the plus side, it is the funniest film of the year, full of such outrageously overblown dialogue as “Obelisk the Tormentor, show him what true power is all about!” and such bizarrities as its hero, high-schooler Yugi, looking like he gets his hair done by Sonic the Hedgehog’s stylist. In this world — where strategy-card-game tournaments are as popular as soccer and the top players are rich beyond the dreams of geeky avarice and own things like dragon-shaped private jets — Yugi trumps all comers with his seemingly invincible “god cards,” invoking the ire of his nemesis, Seto Kaiba. Ninety percent of the film consists of these silly gamer boys whipping cards out, mocking their opponents, and wallowing in power fantasies, which are animated us for in full manga glory, all sharp-edged dragons and round-eyed evil fairies battling to the death… or at least to zero life points. Oh, and there’s some nonsense about Yugi having awakened the very naughty Egyptian god Anubis, loosing him to wreak havoc on the world or something. Nubie was meant to be slumbering for all eternity, but, as the narrator reminds us, “eternity isn’t forever.” Sitting through this utterly insane flick comes close, though.

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