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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anime Movies Have Come a Long Way..., September 7, 2007
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This review is from: NARUTO The Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (Standard Edition) (DVD)
With the latest anime movies I've seen before this being made in the mid-nineties, I had some low expectations when I ordered this from amazon. But I guess anime movies have come a long way since '95!

STORY
In a nutshell, Naruto and his squad are assigned the task of guarding an actress during the filming of her latest movie. But like all Naruto characters, this actress has some skeletons in her closet and it was only a matter of time until her past catches up with her.

The movie keeps the general flair of the series without getting too caught up in stuff like fight scenes. Like it's canon series counterpart, this movie does a good job of things like good back-stories and character development.

My only nitpicky complaint about the movie itself is that you could tell that the writers were trying to cram in every awesome attack there was available to the according characters (Kakashi and Sasuke's sharingan; Naruto's Mass Shadow Clones; even Sakura's evil side near the start of the movie!). The character designs for the bad guys and other movie-only characters are also not the best (the Princess' is probably the best out of all the new characters), but their back-story and weird quirks definitely make up for this.

Amazingly enough, this movie also fits in well into the series (as far as I know). Naruto's flashback in the series and Sasuke still being there shows that the movie is around the time right after Tsunade arrives in the village.

TECHNICAL STUFF
As for the animation, you can definitely tell that the movie got the royal treatment in that department. You can especially tell during the chidori/wolf scene. And, of course, like all current animated shows, the picture quality is beautiful. The background music also keeps most of the more memorable music from the series as well as some new tracks of their own.

One thing I was worried about when ordering this DVD was it's aspect ratio. See, the movie was originally filmed to be shown in theaters, so the aspect ratio is widescreen. Again, rest assured, that this release has the widescreen version as well, as opposed to being cropped to fit full screen TV monitors. And to make matters better, it's in anamorphic widescreen, meaning that if you've got a widescreen TV, the footage will automatically fit to the size of the screen (as in, without the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen). A much better option than the alternative of setting up your widescreen TV to zoom in to remove the black bars, but keeping the rest of the picture, since that would in turn cut off part of the subs and make the picture slightly fuzzy.

LANGUAGE TRACKS
Upon getting the movie today, I was most worried about the movie only having the dubbed version. Rest assured that there is a subbed Japanese version available. Now, I have close to no knowledge on the Japanese language, but it looks like the only changes made sub-wise were done for the sake of "American-izing" it (ie: having the subs read the first name before the last name and excluding suffixes like "-san" and "-chan") But nothing major.

And for those interested in the dub, based on the one scene I've seen of it, it looks like they've done a good job keeping close to the script and only making some changes for the sake of making the prose flow better and for the mouth movements to match up.

It definitely would have helped if they pointed out that both the dub and sub were available on the box art. Upon buying this, I was completely freaking out about whether this release had both versions or not!

EXTRAS
No way I would have given this release the full five stars if it didn't have at least one legit special feature-- a 10-ish minute short featuring Naruto and most of the other genin. The story's basically about Konohagakure holding a little tournament among the younger ninja. The only problem is that poor ol' Naruto's constipated and is forced to hold it in for the entire tournament.

The short is also available in dub and sub and is in widescreen, so I'm assuming this was played before the actual movie when shown in theaters in Japan (kinda like Pikachu's Vacation playing before the Pokemon movie). My only complaint with this is that unlike the movie itself, this short is NOT anamorphic, so your options to watching the sub while maintaining its aspect ratio (on a widescreen TV) are limited to 4:3 (full screen). Either that or you can have the screen stretch out or zoom in to remove those darn black bars. The problem with zooming in is that this means the subs will also be cut off slightly since well... it's not anamorphic. A slight pain, but still worthy of five stars.

WHY BUY IT?
You may be one of those fans who've downloaded this movie before Viz came around to distribute it here in the US... so you may be asking why you should buy it in the first place? Well, the way I see it, you're basically hurting the well being of the series if you don't! Downloading the episodes while they're available is one thing, but you should show your love for the series by buying the official releases once they're available on DVD. It's also always good to have a hard copy outside of your computer.

In conclusion, "Naruto The Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Show" is definitely worth the purchase, whether you're a subtitle or an English dub kind of fan. It's everything a fan would expect from the series meshed together into an hour and 35 minute movie.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2007 10:53:43 AM PDT
Johnal says:
Thanks for discussing the aspect ratio in your review. Back in August I posted a comment on here asking if anyone knew whether the listed 4:3 ratio was correct or what was going on.

Either way, I knew i had some time to find out, seeing as how I'm waiting for the Deluxe Edition that is due out later this year. Thanks again for the great review.
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