A mysterious group of ninjas makes a surprise attack on the Konohagakure, which takes great damage. The nightmare of another Shinobi World War could become a reality. Sasuke, who left Konoha to kill his brother, Itachi, appears for the second time in front of Naruto at an unknown location to prevent it from coming to fruition.
[Note: this is a not-so-serious review, because really, the movie doesn't take itself very seriously.]
I went to the theater to see Naruto with very low expectations, in part because I've seen all the Naruto movies so far, and in part because the average age of the audience in the movie theater was 10 years old. Yes, in Japan Naruto caters to the "tween" audience, and I felt like an old lady sitting in the theater, waiting for the movie to start. I expected the movie to be "The Sasuke Movie" but...actually...I'm surprised to say, Naruto was the cool one in this movie. This instantly made
it the top Naruto movie, in my humble opinion, and had the best fights of any Naruto movie so far. (I'm pretty sure next summer we'll be treated to another one.)
Story --Naruto movies are not known for their great scripts, but this one actually had some nice twists to it. Since one of the first scenes was of a smoldering Sasuke with no shirt on, I expected most of the action to be from him, but lo and behold, Naruto came through pulled some great moves during the course of the story. As there isn't much plot that the summary left out, I'll leave it at that.
Art --Also standard Naruto film style, some 3D, but not as out of place as the last movie (I thought). Mostly done on the ships, and the villain's hideout, which I hereby dub "The Castle in the Sky." The leaf ninja village seemed like it was trying to be Renaissance Italy for some reason though...
Sound --Nothing very impressive, but not at all bad. The voice acting of the movie-only characters was well done, as I normally get annoyed with the movie-only character voices.
Character --Ah, characters. Let's see, we have Sasuke as a less emo version of himself (yay), Sakura and Hinata as the still-useless-in-fights Naruto backups/fanservice objects, cameos by Kakashi, playing the role of a voice-over explanatory narrator, and Orochimaru, playing the bedridden grandmother (Sai, Neji, Shino, and Shikamaru play cameos of themselves). There's also the movie-only character Doctor and his apprentice Amaru, who gets to be the one befriended by Naruto (poor Amaru). Then then there's Naruto, slightly more mature than usual, still getting slapped around as usual, and showing tantalizing hints of becoming more hentai with each passing day...
Enjoyment --This could be high because my expectations were so low, but actually, I maintain that the awesomeness of this anime comes from when Naruto has to face, and/or use, the chakra of the nine-tails. And use it he does in this movie. It was like the Sasuke rescue-arc battle at the waterfall redone, which to me was the high point of the series. Sadly, there was also the Sasuke lipsticked-winged-monstrosity to be seen (I won't even mention the villain's cheesy "released" [to borrow a Bleach term] form), but I could take that when Naruto's busting out multiple rasengan from his clones and destroying everything in sight.
Okay. So initially, I didn't want to watch this movie because anything with Sasuke and Naruto in that doesn't follow the manga is going to get people's hopes up that they're going to be best buds in the end of the series. But if you are a terrifying Naruto fan to the point of salivating at movie trailers, you need to watch this movie.
In all honesty the story is incredibly patchy - it's the average someone trying to destroy the ninja nations plotline with Naruto befriending a movie character along the way - and if you miss a single minute of it, the story will
take a crazy direction you won't understand because you missed a character saying one explanatory line.
Yet do not be disheartened, fellows.
As it goes, about halfway into the usual things we expect from a Naruto movie, things suddenly get extremely kickass. I was actually shocked. It all probably kicks off when Sai shows his moves against the enemy ninjas, then Shino (do not underestimate the bugs), then Naruto in undoubtedly his best fight in any of the movies, then...Sasuke. Like most people, I thought this was going to be a crazy fanservice spotlighted Sasuke movie. It isn't.
Sasuke and Naruto actually end up working together to fight the big scary plot, even if it's for different reasons, and the best thing about the movie is that they retain their personalities from the manga faithfully. Sasuke's arrogance and Naruto's...Narutoness is still the same even in each other's company when they've supposedly just met again after the little Orochimaru hideout incident. In fact, their interaction is so plausible, heart-wrenching and at times amusing in the situation they're in that SasuNaru fans will have a field day complete with picnic and hot air balloon ride.
The sound is good, synchronous with the action and the character themes (Sasuke has a new one that's annoyingly cool and makes you wish he would just trip over a shoelace and ruin his equally cool entrances) are exciting and fit perfectly. The art is comic at times, standard or cringeworthy at others, and so beautiful in some scenes that it makes you want to pause and stare for a second.
So. Despite the initial rubbish story line and flitting between the different aspects of it so fast that you think you're watching an AMV, I have nothing but praise for this movie. I unashamedly re-watched the second half of it two more times. I might go for my third.
There's a bit of action for Shikamaru and Sai when they fought some enemy soldiers while Shino managed to destroy warships with his insects. Other than that, the Konoha ninjas were practically doing nothing. Neji did saved some kids in Konoha during the initial stage of attacks though. As usual, Naruto saved the day, not that I'm complaining since my favourite character is Naruto. However, Naruto's rasengan was weak towards the enemy during the initial stage and he was being punched like a sandbag as he tried to reinstate confidence back to Amaru who was at her verge of committing suicide.
Compared to the previous
Naruto Shippuuden movie, I'll prefer the earlier one's sound track to the current one. I especially dislike the music when Sasuke made his 'cool' entrance with a jazz like music, it almost makes me laugh. Other than that, the other musics are more or less adopted from anime series, like 'Douten', etc. At least there's two music from the previous movie which caught my attention, namely 'Decisive battle' and 'God's Will'.
However, there's more Naruto goodies in this current movie. Naruto made many funny expression and imitation when Amaru's teacher commented he looked like a cat and also when Naruto tried to show Amaru how Iruka, Kakashi and Jiraiya were like. There's also some scenes which make my yaoi blood boils when the Amaru-transformed demon slapped Sakura away to grab Naruto. During Naruto's part when he fought the enemy in the initial stage, there's also parts when the enemy crept up close behind Naruto, slammed him to the throne like chair (see picture) and also pulled Naruto close by grabbing his arm.
Plot-wise, it is as empty as the previous Shippuuden movie when Naruto fights as the only main character, being the only friend to the main female characters in the movies while other Konoha ninjas slutted around, doing little or practically nothing. The absorption of dark emotion of the villagers to transform them into power reminds me of some Inuyasha manga plotlines. The importance of the stolen scroll has also been diminished in the movie, making it more like a vague excuse for the invasion of Konoha which lasts less than 5 minutes.
Don't be mislead by the trailer onlines. Initially, I thought Naruto and Sakura were upset over the absence of Sasuke during the invasion of their village. After watching the movie, it turns out that Naruto and Sakura did not even bother whether Sasuke was involved in the battle at all. In fact, ONLY Naruto and the main villain noticed Sasuke's appearance at the last quarter of the movie. It was after Naruto's meeting and fighting alongside with Sasuke that he told Sasuke he would one day take him back to Konoha (the part was a bit touching as Naruto was, like, prepared to sacrifice his own life to destroy the floating city until Amaru grabbed him in the air and Jiraiya saved them both with Bunta's tummy). Sasuke did not communicate much with Naruto who tried throughout the fighting process to talk to him. Orochimaru was like a sick old granny waiting for his grandchild's return while Kabuto was like his personal maid.
As being hyped up as the movie where Naruto and Sasuke team up once again to fight a villain, it's rather played down more than you think it would be, and is just another plot messy Naruto movie.
STORY: The leaf village is under attack! ...Again... I swear, it's like everyone despises the leaf village in every filler or non-filler arc, and this movie is just another example of that. The plot of this movie is exactly this: Just make up as we go along, because nothing is fleshed out well, events and fights literally come out of no where, and only Naruto does anything of
importance to the plot.
But I'll try my best to draw lines to the imaginary dots, the movie starts out with made up movie village, the sky village, attacking the leaf village by air (Which... They came from the sea) with chakra powered gliders and kunai firing machine guns that may as well have been stolen from the kunai firing train from the first Naruto movie (Or may as well have been actual bullet firing guns, but the technology in the Naruto universe never made any sense in the first place).
And during the weird onslaught, Naruto comes across a little girl and a doctor, who importance to the plot is never made clear until the unexplained events occur. Afterwards, two random groups of the main cast go on to do something, one group goes to escort the girl and doctor to somewhere, and the other goes to where the sky ninjas retreated, which is the sea by the way.
First random group consists of Naruto, Sakura, and Hinata (Which, spoiler, she does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in this movie) while the other group is Kakashi (He does next to nothing in this movie), Shikamaru, and Sai (Who does a lot, but his efforts come up to nothing), and Shino who does the most in this movie next to Naruto, but who's efforts comes up to nothing as well.
Now, I can say without a doubt, if the story isn't why you're watching the movie, then more power to you because the action scenes are great, the animation is a grade up from the tv series, and it has Sasuke, who doesn't really do much and the reason why he's there and his motives is a bit lazy, but fans are definitely going to appreciate his inclusion to the movie.
The humor of the movie is classic Naruto filler slapstick routines, from Naruto being a dumbass to him and the movie character arguing.
But, compared to the other movies, the story is very weak, and events and plot points literally do come out of no where, like if you would to guess what this movie is actually about, you would think it's about something happening to the leaf village that requires Naruto and Sasuke to team up, but no, it's about as deep as saying it's about people fighting each other.
Which is good enough of a reason to watch anyway, if you want to see Naruto tearing shit up then you're in luck, because he tears up a whole castle with several rasengans and the usual movie named rasengans.
But, when compared to the other movies, the plot is very messy or at least, lazy. The movie characters are fleshed out a good bit, but they have no purpose to the overall plot, except when the plot pulls something from out of no where (Like the confrontation with the zero tailed beast, but the plot isn't really about that, I think, the plot never really assures you of it).
It doesn't fall into EVERY trappings of the other movies at the very least, like the cast having to fight the main villains minions before the boss himself, that doesn't happen here, but the whole Naruto gets the shit beaten out of him by a super beefed up super saiyan-este villain who boasts about his new awesome power happens, and then Naruto precedes to the do the same still happens, though this time Sasuke comes in to help for his own reasons, but my guess would be that he was pretty bored just wanted to kill time. And Naruto and the movie character relationship improves as the plot goes along, which happens in every Naruto movie, so there's no real point to get invested in it when it's never going to be canon to the series.
The plot is about as cliched as it gets, but hey like I said earlier if you only want to watch the movie for it's fights, then you won't be totally disappointed.
ANIMATION: It's a grade up from the tv series, but nothing awe inspiring. the fights are cool, but the movie characters look a bit silly.
SOUND: Both English and Japanese voice overs are fine, and the background music is more stock Naruto music, it's as if you're watching a very short filler arc.
+ Cool fights for the naruto fans.
+ Animation is a step up from the tv series.
+/- Sasuke is in a Naruto movie/ Sasuke doesn't really do anything.
- Messy and cliched plot with everything not as fleshed out as it should have been and everything being made up as it goes along.
- Side characters from the tv series do even less than what they normally do.
As a time waster for Naruto fans, it's a decent action romp at least, but you can do much better and if you missed Sasuke being in the movies, then you'll be almost satisfied with that department this movie.