I’ve been away from the Naruto franchise for quite a number of years now, and on a spur of the moment decision, decided to pick up Naruto Shippuden: The Movie to give it a spin just for the fun of it. Disappointingly, I found nothing had changed since I last left the series.

Again, the movie is nothing more than a money spinner to empty the wallets of already loyal Naruto fans, and certainly doesn’t do anything for new viewers who might not be all that familiar with the franchise – no character development, no lasting impacts, no real substance – just a lot of varied, over the top fight scenes. However, that said, once again it is an enjoyable standalone adventure with all the classic Naruto humour and action which fans of the series are sure to enjoy – so based on that alone, I would have to say it’s a success then!

The plot revolves around a ninjutsu user who unseals a powerful entity which has previously attempted to destroy the world with its fearsome and unstoppable terracotta army. The protagonist has the entity’s soul locked in his own body, and is now on a race against time to reunite it with its sealed away physical body before the priestess of the Land of Ogres has a chance to destroy it.

This threat is big enough to mobilise all the lands, and Naruto’s Team 7 is no exception, as they are joined by Neji and Rock Lee and tasked with protecting and escorting the priestess to the site of the body in order to prevent the destruction of everything! Just one thing though. The priestess has visions of the future and her latest premonition is simple – Naruto is going to die, and nothing can change this destiny!

Other than some beautifully rendered backgrounds, the animation for the movie is very much the same standard used for the television series, which means it doesn’t stand out as being special at all. Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty decent, but certainly not of the high quality one would expect from a movie outing. One negative thing to note though is the terrible CG used for the terracotta army, coming across as really cheap and low budget and quite honestly, spoiling some of the fight sequences towards the end of the movie.

Soundtrack on the other hand is fantastic, with solid voice acting from all the usual actors and actresses.

Overall, if you are familiar with the Naruto world and enjoy the franchise, then this is certainly worth watching, though as per usual don’t expect anything other than pure Naruto action from it – certainly nothing to affect the main timeline will be taking place. For people outside of the fanbase, this isn’t the best of movies to pick up because it offers so little, but as it goes, if you do like some over the top ninja with unrealistic abilities going at one another, then maybe you’ll get a kick out of it too.

As for me, well ‘meh’ is probably the best way to describe it. Not bad, but I could have continued my hiatus from the franchise and still missed nothing! :P

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto_Shippuden:_the_Movie