Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow keeps the general flair of the series without getting too caught up in stuff like fight scenes. In the latest entry of the Naruto saga of films I have been reviewing here, this one takes place before all of the previous spotlighted films. In a nutshell, Naruto and his squad are assigned the task of guarding an actress during the filming of her latest movie. But like all Naruto characters, this actress has some skeletons in her closet and it was only a matter of time until her past catches up with her. I thought this movie would be much better. It had a very good first half, which was followed by a very lackluster second half. I am not too big of a Naruto fan anymore so maybe my lack of enthusiasm has jaded me towards the source material. Nonetheless, my biggest complaint about anime is that 95% of it is extremely derivative as if it’s all drawn from the same general template then modified slightly. Unfortunately Naruto is guilty of this sin with a definite lack of originality about it.
Naruto will likely appeal to a younger audience who haven’t already seen this same story played out dozens of different times in other anime. Quite honestly these films don’t get more adult oriented until later on, but I felt it was important to showcase this film as it is a stepping stone into the universe. The music is directly as it would be if one was watching an episode, but this actually helps as it allows the familiar viewer to know what is about to happen. If you love Naruto, you’ll love the movie. It’s like a regular Naruto episode, only longer.
Soon after reaching the Land of Snow, the ninjas are attacked by the bad guys, who happen to be after the hex crystal, a six edged pendant worn by an actress. The plot begins when it’s revealed that Kakashi may know these enemy ninja and has been to this land once before and that the actress Fujikaze is actually Princess Koyuki Kazahana, the rightful heir to the Land of Snow’s throne. Since this is a movie it should be expect that it is made better than the series. The production values are clearly better than the animated show, and the colors seem brighter and more vibrant.
Still, like I said earlier, this movie leaves behind most of the things I hate about the TV series and was actually rather enjoyable. But did I like the movie? Eh, not really. Naruto fans are sure to enjoy it, and since they’re the target audience, I guess the film achieved its goal. This movie had a real plot, characters I could care about and identify with, great battles, and a real sense of visual style and color. It’s just too bad I wasn’t that interested in it.