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"...And now that I have the ACLU power crystal in my possession, I will take these cards depicting naked women with tiny pink stars covering their nipples and distribute them ALL OVER THE STRIP! MUAHAHAHA!"

Zero stars
Yu-Gi-Oh!
(PG, 88 min.)
Wide release

Thursday, August 12, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Mercury

Yu-Gi-Oh!

You no go: Yu-Gi-Oh! is another insufferable kids' TV spinoff

By By Anthony Del Valle

There was a time when there was a big difference between TV and movies. Even film versions of television series tended to have a bit more depth, or at least some stronger production values. Yu-Gi-Oh! (translation: "King of Games") looks as if it were merely lifted from the boob tube.

Director Ryusoke Takahashi and creator/writer/artist Kazuki Takahashi give us the tale of a boy obsessed with a card game that calls forth imaginative monsters, each equipped with different kinds of powers. The high-schooler is so intent on defeating his opponent that he doesn't realize he's unleashed an ancient evil Egyptian omen out to destroy the world. A group of friends unite to undo the damage. The story teaches kids that good friends can come in handy when you're about to be destroyed by an ancient evil Egyptian omen.

The English version of the TV series (translated from the Japanese and edited for American tastes) tells one story per 50-episode season. The film was made specifically for American audiences, and offers a complete tale. Takahashi's hand-drawn and computer-generated images reproduce the visual look of the original 1996 Japanese comic book, as well as the ensuing 2001 animated series and the video games and the trading cards and, for all I know, the milk cartons and the dolls and the lunch pails and the cereal boxes. Some young viewers may enjoy the familiarity: "Look, Daddy, it's just like the TV show!" But I suspect even many children may already be sophisticated enough to understand that a film should feel more alive than a trading card.

For the record, the producers report there are now more than 600,000 participants worldwide in Yu-Gi-Oh! duelist leagues. And four new Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards have been created for this movie--exclusively!--and one will be available--free!--with each paid admission.


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