Naruto The Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel
The second of the various Naruto films, the franchise is loosing no pace when it comes to pumping out episodes, films and various other merchandise to keep Naruto fans happy. Naruto The Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel was originally released in Japan in 2005, and was directed by Hirotsugu Kawasaki and co-written by Kawasaki and Yuka Miyata, the movie takes place directly after episode 160 from the first Naruto series.
Opening with a battle between Sand Ninja and mysterious warriors wearing suits of armour, the Sand Ninja are slowly overwhelmed with the strength of their unknown opponents. At the crucial moment, Kankuro and Gaara turn up and manage to destroy the opponents of the Sand Ninja en masse. When Gaara orders a flare to be shot, a large warship appears and opens fire – Gaara manages to protect everyone with his Sand Armour, but only just.
Whilst these events unfold, Naruto, Sakura and Shikamaru realise their relatively normal mission is going to turn very sour when the group is attacked by a number of strange opponents, dressed in armour with their blonde leader having strange powers that stump the trio. During the fight Naruto and the blond foe fall into the river below them and awake in a caravan full of travellers. Whilst in the caravan the leader explains his motives to Naruto, which is standard when two enemies are locked in the same room together.
The group are after the Stone of Gelel, this stone possess extraordinary power and the group hope that once they have managed to obtain these stones they will set up a utopia and there will be no further wars in the world. The leader of Temujin, the blonde foe, Master Haido tells his group that sacrifices are for the greater good, and many sacrifices will be made to find the Stone of Gelel. It becomes apparent the leader of the caravan group knows where the Stone is and Haido goes to find it.
After a very long and drawn out scene, Temujun learns that Haido is not all he appears to be and is actually a murderer and Naruto attacks Haido with the help of Temujun to help save the world from Haido. After saving the war, Temujin leaves with some other children stating that he alone will end all war in the world.
Clichéd as always, but most standard sagas of Naruto follow this similar plotline, and unfortunately this movie follows that standard as well. The film feels old and it is, taking three years to secure an English release is far too long for such a popular franchise. Owing to this, the film pales in comparison to many other stronger releases in the market at the moment. Throughout there are few surprises as the viewer will see glimpses of everything to come earlier on in the story telling process.
The character development is forced, and although the rest of the trio manage to get some action scenes, their input feels very much forced and what development occurs feels flawed. Fortunately Naruto, Temujin and Haido control much of the story, and although a little stretched, the plot works for these characters. Although it would appear that there was no continuity editor, as the plot does have many holes and leaves most questions unanswered.
Fortunately the animation quality does not suffer from age, and throughout the film maintains the solid, vibrant and fluid Naruto animation quality. The character designs themselves may leave much to be desired, the quality of the area where the characters are fighting make up for this. With well-drawn and creative scenery, the film feels very natural – even if the characters do have super powers half the time.
The same voice actors are used in the film as the anime in both the English and the Japanese versions of the track, and the music composed throughout is of a passable quality. One big plus is the use of Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, which has been missing on a lot of recent Manga releases.
Aside from that, the extras on the DVD are woeful – just a selection of other manga trailers.
A must have for a Naruto fan as it helps to explain the main show's storyline. For the casual viewer, it's not worth the time.