Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Dan Green, Wayne Grayson, Amy Birnbaum, Eric Stuart|
|Producer:||Norman J. Grossfeld (4 Kids Entertainment—the Pokémon movies)|
“Everything else was just practice!”
I am beginning to believe that the simple days of childhood games may be fading quickly. Let me jog some memories. Do you remember the games that we played with marbles? Do you remember dividing up a deck of playing cards and playing “War”? The first problem that I have with “Yu-Gi-Oh!” is a generation of children that are obsessed with these card games. I am referring to games like “Pokémon” and “Magic-The Gathering.” These games all begin with a starter deck. It does not stop there. There is an endless supply of specialty packs that our youth can and beg to buy.
I have met students that have hundreds of dollars invested in collecting the cards and playing the game. As I Christian Counselor, I recognize that there is so much about these games that feeds and nurtures Excessive Compulsive behaviors. The other problem is creating millennial class warfare between children that can afford an endless request for cards and those who cannot. Most students that can only afford just the starter deck soon loose their cards. They just cannot compete. I still prefer games like “Risk,” “Life,” “Monopoly,” etc. You buy the game and when you are finished, you can put it away. These games are fun, challenging and involve thoughtful strategies. This card game phenomenon can be an unhealthy obsession. Our children can now know more about dueling monsters than solving life’s problems. Yes, let me sit down with a child and play “Tic, Tac, Toe,” “Checkers,” or “Chess” any day of the week.
I do know that Kazuki Takahashi has quite a hit on his hands. His comic version of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” has sold over 23 million copies so far. Mr. Takahashi wanted to create a game where a weak and childish boy could become a hero just by playing a game. He also knows that boys really like monsters. It is built on the concept of a “henshin” or the ability to turn into something or someone else.
Here is some additional help for those who are trying to figure out the storyline. I know that most parents will be lost during this movie and probably only fans will go to see it. Yugi Muto is a mild-mannered high school kid who beats everyone at his favorite card game, which the kids will recognize as Yu-Gi-Oh! Just like Pokémon, your deck is only as powerful as the cards you put in it. The only skill involved is knowing how to combine and put certain cards together.
Yugi gets some help from his Grandpa Muto, who owns a game shop. Grandpa not only helps him build his deck (I guess it could be every child’s dream to get all those cards for free), but he gives him an ancient Egyptian artifact called a Millennium Puzzle. When Yugi solves the puzzle, he releases the 5,000 year-old spirit of the Pharaoh—who looks like an older, deep-voiced version of Yugi. The Pharaoh, who seems to be part of Yugi, takes over and wins when he plays for Yugi. Yes, to be a winner in life, an ancient spirit must possess you.
In the movie, the Pharaoh has also incurred the wrath of Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, whom he defeated centuries ago. Anubis awakens and decides to destroy the world. That is always the ambition of any evil person in a movie. And how does he do it? Through a Yu-Gi-Oh! card game battle of course! Anubis secretly “stacks” the deck of Yugi’s greatest rival, Seto Kaiba, a wealthy high school kid who spends all his resources in trying to beat Yugi (at least they don’t try to hide the facts of my early objections).
I am sure that “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fans will like the ways the monsters and other characters come to life in the gaming duels. I don’t know if they will learn any knew gaming tips or cheat codes, but as with Pokémon (which was produced by the same 4Kids Entertainment team), there is that universal message of friendship. The film’s primary redeeming value is that it makes it clear that all the money in the world can’t buy Seto Kaiba a victory. Yugi learns that he may have the help of a Pharaoh, but he still needs his family and friends.
My recommendation is to skip this one and soon “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fever will pass. Yes, family game night is looking better every day.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor