Apology To Yu-Gi-Oh! Fans:
After seeing this film, I tried to corner one of my nephews
to explain it to me, but all I got out of it was an attack
from a Lachrymose Clown with special Bunion enhancements.
So I'm soldiering through this review largely in ignorance
and 100 fewer life points.
wasn't supposed to happen," a narrator intones three times
in the first five minutes, "but after five thousand years,
it did." So incoherent is this introduction to Yu-Gi-Oh!
The Movie that I'm still not exactly sure what it
it is the return of ancient monsters in the form of a card
game. Perhaps it is the awakening of an arcane evil determined
to play that shadow game to destroy the world. Perhaps it
is the young teen Yugi's bizarre hairstyle, or the fact
that none of his opponents seem to notice that when he plays
the game, he grows at least a foot and his voice drops an
octave because he gets possessed by the ghost of an Egyptian
pharaoh that inexplicably has the same early Duran Duran
taste in clothes.
"The Pyramid of Light," this movie really isn't for somebody
that doesn't either watch the television show or play the
card game (which, if the movie is typical of the show, is
pretty much the same thing). But it will startle a lot of
parents suddenly dragged into this thing into wondering
just what drugs their children are taking.
that. With the advent of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the next generation
doesn't need drugs.
once the film gets past the set-up which may or may not
explain the origin of the game, it has a few charms. The
concept of a collectible card game that can be transferred
into a 3-D holographic arena is flat-out cool, and it's
no wonder that kids have been drawn into this fantasy. I
used to have a Nintendo chess game called "Archon" that
allowed for the pieces to fight it out, and my roommate
and I could play that for hours. So, kids, I get it. But
that's not enough to hang a movie on, though I wish someone
would invent that arena.
of the characters provide some intentional laughs. Yugi's
friends have a typical schoolboy bravado that works for
pre-teen slapstick. The inventor of the game (but not the
ancient Egyptian invent - poit excuse my aneurysm),
listed as Max-a-Million Pegasus, has some funny moments
largely based on his obvious alternative lifestyle (all
part of the agenda). Retired from the game, Pegasus lounges
by the pool in bunny slippers and white-wine spritzers,
and is a most unexpected character.
something seems lost in editing or translation, because
he makes an offhand reference to having lost his magic eye
(an errant lock of hair always covers his left eye), and
at one point, Yu-Gi-Oh (the pharaoh version) has a third
eye. Something mystical that makes sense to Japanese culture
is getting shoehorned into kids' mania, and it doesn't quite
Egyptian "theme" is very loose, with a few obvious elements
to cover how little actual research into Egyptology has
been done. The writers may have watched Abbott and Costello
Meet The Mummy to brush up. (Yes, this is an open call
for letters telling me how wrong I am.) Though Yugi carries
three powerful "Egyptian God Cards," none of those creatures
look vaguely Egyptian, nor does the Pharoah. The villain
of the piece, Anubis, briefly wears the appearance of the
jackal-headed god, but ends up as just another scar-faced
thug. If anything, Yu-Gi-Oh! seems to be the story of Captain
Marvel if Billy Batson preferred to become a champion of
gaming instead of justice.
this film spends its time on the game itself, with the Earth
as the stakes. When it gives over to playing various strategies,
it has a certain logic which almost convince you that it's
will eat it up, though be warned that Anubis does have an
army of rotting, putrescent but animated so it's okay
also sledgehammers and crowbars a message about the importance
of friendship, which is kind of ironic if you've ever seen
kids actually play this game. Or maybe I'm projecting the
behavior of us here at Fanboy Planet.