Aug 1, 2019
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Precure crossover movies are a staple of the series. One comes out every year, like clockwork (or two, if you’re Hugtto). For better or for worse, these movies are non-serial to the series themselves and don’t require viewing to get the full season’s story. Miracle Universe is a lackluster title you can safely skip indefinitely.
The set-up of Miracle Universe follows every Precure movie set-up: the girls go about their daily lives for a bit, a monster appears and threatens to destroy some place/someone/everything, the girls fight the monster, status quo returns. This is to be expected, and
I hold no points against Miracle Universe for following the formula of its predecessors.
However, this incarnation was especially disappointing because of the inclusion of one of my most-hated tropes, the “surprise villain with no foreshadowing”. This is a terrible way to structure a story for two reasons: First, robbing a character of honest development robs them of emotional payoff. Second, in a more broad sense, any sort of long-term twist without foreshadowing threatens the disillusionment of an otherwise-invested viewer.
Additionally, the moral of the movie was clear as mud. Is it “learn your place and don’t try to help when other people are better at the task”? Is it “fixing your shortcomings isn’t possible without others”? They’re both contradictory options, yet they seem like equal candidates.
The key visual art and the beginning of the movie are deceptively colorful and captivating, yet...
As the camera rolls on, it becomes increasingly obvious that for every beautiful movie-exclusive animation sequence, there is corner cutting in another scene. This becomes especially jarring in the last third’s fight, where there are lots of questionable extended shots. The girls even suddenly become 3D at one point for no discernible reason. Those particular shots didn’t seem like they’d be particularly worse to animate in 2D compared to the ones in the beginning of the movie, so did they run out of budget?
Not much to say here, because all the good tracks in this movie already play in the series proper. Strange, because Precure crossovers have a good track record for rockin’ vocal inserts. I was expecting a standout track here, too, yet there was none.
Spoilers begin here.
Piton is a terrible and annoying character. His very first scene opens with him giving attitude about his job. Great, our first impression of this guy shows that he’s whiny and lazy at work. A few moments later, he causes an evil blob to be unleashed in the factory (which, as far as we’re aware, is solely due to his not paying attention to his work duties), and runs away instead of trying to contain his mistake, or inform his superiors, or, y’know, normal work responses to a big problem.
As he’s running away, he manages to summon the Precure, who start to fight the evil blob on his behalf, but don’t manage to destroy it. His response? He calls them fake Precure. Yeah, fake Precure, the ones fighting the evil on his behalf, selflessly. The ones people who, me included, are presumably watching this movie for because, shockingly, we’re fans of Precure and not this random chicken. And to top it off, we’re supposed to like this guy, as the movie-exclusive protagonist.
I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s a big character nope for me. His repeated exclamations of “fake Precure” throughout the movie felt insulting as a viewer and as a fan. What little growth he exhibited by the conclusion wasn’t enough to make me feel the slightest catharsis. Not only is he a poor character, but he is a terrible choice for a movie lead and I hope the next crossover writer can recognize that a character like this only alienates the viewer from the get-go.
The villain is similarly bad as well as flat and nonsensical, as I described above. Even the cures can’t save the movie from these two bad characters, as despite being good, compelling characters, all except Hikaru have so little screentime it hurts.
This film is only good for entertaining little kids, if that. Anyone with more media experience than that will find themselves annoyed at the unlikable characters, the senseless plot, and the jarringly corner-cutting animation. These issues make it difficult to suspend disbelief enough to actually immerse in the movie itself.
Overall, this film gets a 3/10. Its problems are obnoxious, and its potential good qualities like its colorful visuals are better experienced in the series proper. I can’t recommend this film, even to a Precure fan.
What did you think of this review?