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DVD Review

DVD cover

Kitaro and the Millennium Curse


Starring: Eiji Wentz, Ken Ogata, Shoko Nakagawa and Rena Tanaka
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 12
Available 28 December 2009

Kitaro is a three hundred and fifty year old yōkai who fights to keep the peace between the spirit world and the human, though mostly this involves him taking the side of humans against his own people. This time Kitaro, Rat Man and Cat Girl all get involved with a young woman who has become e subject of an ancient curse, a curse borne of a great injustice...

Kitaro and the Millennium Curse (2008 - 1 hr, 59 min, 30 sec) is a live action anime film directed by Katsuhide Motoki from Mitsuhiko Sawamura's script.

I’ll admit that I was less than impressed with the first film, mostly because of the casting of Eiji Wentz, a Japanese teen idol in the title role. The kid might look great but lacks the presence to carry off a film, especially one of this length.

The film also suffers from many of the problems of the first one. Some of the CGI effects are okay, but many are less than convincing and the full masked actors look like refugees from a seventies television show. The script is predictable and really could have done with some editing to tighten up the pace of the film.

Though if we step back and accept that this is a film designed for kids then the movie looks a little better. Smaller children are more interested in ideas than the quality of the CGI, even older children will accept poor acting and iffy special effects if the overall product is entertaining and it cannot be denied that for a certain age group this will be great entertainment.

The film is packed full of the weird and strange, none of it scary or threatening. This is on the level of HR Pufnstuf. I wouldn’t worry too much about the plot as the adults will ignore it whilst the kids will forget it, only bringing to mind their favourite sequences; even I have my favourite image, that of Kitaro’s father who is little more than a big eyeball on a little body.

The extras are not as good as the first disc, consisting of only text based production notes and the original theatrical trailer (1 min, 29 sec). The film is presented in the original Japanese with English subtitles. So it’s not as good as the mange or anime, but it will please Kitaro fans and makes for a good fantasy film for the kids.


Charles Packer

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