“The Last: Naruto The Movie” (spoilers)

“The Last: Naruto The Movie” is big-budget fan fiction. It also sucks in a way few movies can suck. I have no other way of describing it.

Oh, you wanted an elaboration? Ok: it’s unsubtle, maudlin, convoluted and bonkers. Despite that, it is incredibly boring and annoying to watch. How the fuck did “Naruto” end up like this? How did a series that started out with such outrageous promise (though, I admit, over-the-top given that this is a shonen series) turn into an absolute clusterfuck that at best is ridiculous and at worst is the epitome of almost every single goddamn thing wrong with the majority of anime today? God, so many questions. When the movie ended, I left the theater in raging irritation. During the movie, I gritted my teeth, cringed in my seat, chuckled at how overblown (yet boring) the plot is, and was horrified at how mediocre the animation is for something that is supposed to be a theatrical release. It’s the kind of trainwreck that one can just barely look at, because it’s just so awful. I just…to the people who were looking forward to this or actually liked this, I apologize in advance. But I have to say it like it is.

The biggest problem with “The Last: Naruto The Movie” (besides it being fucking boring and annoying) is that it does not respect the audience’s intelligence, not even the intelligence of longtime “Naruto” fans. Exposition is spilled all over the place, actions are explained just as the characters are performing, and central plot points are elaborated on in a constant basis, like the central romance between Naruto and Hinata (oh, sorry, spoilers? …spoilers? Do we really need spoilers for something everyone knew was going to happen anyway?). Just when it gets interesting, it stops dead just to explain how it all works, trying to make it seem more substantial than it actually is. Though, to be fair, I don’t have a problem with Hinata being a legendary “Bakugan Princess” who was destined to marry some ninja who lives on the moon (really, that’s the plot), because anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the series knows this: “Naruto” is ridiculous and over the top. If the movie is going to roll both ways at once, fine…it’s just a shame that the end result is so dull.

The animation and fight choreography are on a level that would’ve been considered “cutting-edge” in the year 2005 (maybe). The animation quality is what one would see on a normal episode of “Naruto”, just with a slight “cinematic” sheen. That I don’t have a problem with, for a handful of movies do the same thing (“The Simpsons Movie”, “Beavis & Butthead Do America”, even the “Madoka” and “Full Metal Alchemist” movies). The issue here is that for all of the projectiles, special moves and forward momentum, the entire movie feels lifeless and cheap. There’s little to no flow in the character movements. Emotions are conveyed through visual shorthands and cliches instead of through subtlety and actual body/facial expressions. Really, the backgrounds and animation layouts are the most impressive thing in this movie (BACKGROUNDS. JESUS CHRIST THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A FEATURE LENGTH ANIMATED MOVIE, THE LAST NARUTO MOVIE, AND THE ONLY IMPRESSIVE THINGS ARE THE GODDAMN BACKGROUNDS?)

All of that is made even more apparent during the fight sequences, which have no real sense of geometry even when a final battle consists of Naruto fighting the moon ninja (oh, who gives a fuck what their name is? They’re dull as fuck anyway), so the guy then performs a special move that slices the moon in half. Slices. The moon. In half. Did I mention that this is all in space? And they have no oxygen gear whatsoever? And that this all started from within a trippy island with a long-dead royal family/cult that worships Hinata as the reincarnation of some princess? Doesn’t that ridiculous? Yeah, it does. I mean, if this IS indeed the last “Naruto” movie, why not go trippy and over the top in a way the series has never seen before…but the execution leaves one wanting. For one, the movie’s penchant for beating the audience over the head with the central romance overshadows almost everything else, and the movie’s other penchant for explaining a lot of stuff without actually fleshing out anything (or anyone) destroys any sense of emotional catharsis and thrills the action sequences could have produced.

What also hurts the movie is that considering all of the manufactured thrills, no real sacrifices or character development are made. Seriously, see all of those promotions and posters of the movie, making this look like an epic and sprawling adventure involving a bunch of beloved characters doing shit for one last time? LIES. You just get a series of flashbacks involving Naruto and the other characters, one big bad that comes out of nowhere just to steal Hinata away (but not really, because god forbid the movie have any sense of ambiguity or let the audience connect the dots), a few cameos of Nartuo fan favorites (GAARA! Rock Lee who you barely see! 8 FUCKING SECONDS OF SASKUE), and one drawn out battle sequence with the moon ninja (who has an incredibly dull final transformation). Finally, one long, long, looooong sequence where Naruto and Hinata dance in memories, kiss, marry and have children. That’s it. But hey, at least we have the manga to flesh things out. Oh, right.

The worst thing about all of this is that all of the things I criticize the movie for are things that the entire series can be criticized for as well. This is just a normal anime episode of “Naruto” stretched to feature length, yet it feels so thin, unsatisfying and cloying that it infuriates to no end. It’s actually bizarre that they didn’t choose to just make this an episodic thing. I mean, they had no qualms about making every other goddamn plot point into something of an arc, and given how absolutely batshit the plot actually is, one would think there would be more meat, more cost, more TEETH. You know, the stuff that got people into “Naruto” in the first place before people began to know better and drifted away. One sees this movie and realizes that drifting away from this series, no matter how hot/cool you find the characters, is the best choice after all.

I just…fuck. It would probably take me 6 more paragraphs to go into all of the details that make “The Last: Naruto The Movie” suck so much. This is the epitome of an anticlimax, not because it doesn’t have your favorite “Naruto” character pairing, but because taken on it’s own merits…it just sucks. Sucks harder than a vampire in a porno. If nothing else, we should give a huge round of applause to “End of Evangelion” for no longer being the most self-indulgent and unsatisfying ending of a series to ever be given a theatrical release.

Speaking of which, I hear a lot of people are apparently upset that Naruto didn’t fuck Sakura or Sasuke? Come on, now. I know people have their ships, but COME ON. The Hinata/Naruto thing was practically teased from the very beginning of the series, and anyway, if you’re that upset you can just visit Sankaku Complex’s chan board (NSFW) and drown your sorrows there. Besides, even if you got the ship you wanted…would that make this movie worth it? Does a good ship really fix bad pacing, a plot that is overdone yet underwhelming in execution, and animation that barely passes TV quality (that does not come from Gainax or MADHOUSE)? You already know the answer to that question.

I mean, ya’ll have your cosplay and your other shit, just leave it at that. Fan fiction is there for a reason, and besides, I can’t imagine your fan fiction being worse than this flaming piece of shit. If you still like this series despite how it has treated you, more power to ya. Just guard your stuff with care, especially if you’re around me. To paraphrase Moviebob’s rant on “The Amazing Spider Man 2”: if I had a single piece of “Naruto” merchandise on hand I would’ve burned it to the ground out of spite. The series has it’s fair share of problems, but this, THIS, is the movie that made me hate “Naruto”.

Hate is an ugly thing to do.

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