Naruto Shippuden: This movie is the fourth movie to be released in the franchise. Shippuden for me was a great way to give the series a refresh, which got rid of the filler treatment and started to follow a structured story line. It’s based 2 ½ years after the Naruto Universe – where we have all the main characters that have matured, they are more powerful and the stakes are higher. Studio Pierrot has done a great job on this movie – giving the franchise the stylish revamp it deserves with slick production values and solid story that reflect this.
The story begins with a group of evil medical ninja’s – lead by their leader Yomi, who’s number one aim is to release a powerful demon called Moryo who has the power to take over the five great nations. Once Moryo gets released in spirit form his first act is to get rid of the priestess of the Land of Ogres, who has the power to seal him and in the meantime send out his terracotta army to start destruction of the surrounding nations. Naruto and the team (consisting of Sakura, Neiji and Rock Lee) have been given the mission to protect and escort the high priestess Shion to the Land of Ogres where Moryo’s body is located. The priestess has visions of the future and her latest premonition is simple – Naruto is going to die, and nothing can change his destiny! The team then set out on their action packed journey to stop the evil of Moryo. Will Naruto survive this battle or will the premonition come true?
I really enjoyed this movie, it’s the same formula that we’ve all seen before – with Naruto’s triumph over evil – but it still manages to draw you in with the interesting characters and a story that shows a lot of heart. I found Shion a really interesting character as she starts off as a snotty nosed priestess and you have the perception that she doesn’t really care about anyone besides herself. But as the story progresses you see the true Shion shine, she’s been in a similar situation as Naruto, living a lonely life – bound by her duties. Once Naruto learns about Shion’s troubled life, he relates and connects with her (much like he did with Gaara). We also have the theme of fate and changing one’s predicted destiny, which was well done and certainly added emotion throughout the movie.
The production values were fantastic with a touch of CG for the terracotta army and background effects – which weren’t great, but didn’t distract you too much from enjoyment. Soundtrack as with most Naruto series/movies was very energetic and mixes nicely with the scenes. The battles in this movie are awesome – The one that steals the show for me is a high paced battle between Rock Lee and Setsuna, where we see Rock Lee use his fourth and fifth gate techniques, which don’t have much effect – but before hope is lost – Gai’s chocolate bon-bon (alcoholic chocolate) sets Lee into drunken fighting mode to stand victorious.
Before watching this film – make sure you’re familiar with Naruto before you dive in, otherwise I don’t think it will make much sense. But, if you are an avid fan of the series you are in for a ride.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.