What They Say:
It’s been some years since the end of the Shinobi War. Naruto Uzumaki is the 7th Hokage of Konohagakure, in this new era. His son, Boruto Uzumaki, will soon enter the Chûnin exams, alongside Sarada Uchiha and the mysterious Mitsuki.
With this getting a cinematic release in Japan and a limited cinema release in the west, Boruto has both 5.1 Japanese and English options, as well as the standard 2.0 stereo options. I watched it in English for the movie and was going to watch the special extra in Japanese…
…for some reason at least in this test release, there was no Japanese audio for the extra ‘When Naruto became Hokage’. Yep, despite obviously being released in Japan there is no Japanese audio for this. This is a real big oversight if this continues in the main release and something that has to be addressed. I’m fine with the dub, but not having the original language on part of your release is a huge oversight.
The actual audio is fine in both languages (I checked to make sure the main show had the Japanese 5.1) and very good (no adjustments needed to the audio) however that oversight is rather basic and not something usually done with any release from any of the major companies so a bit of a blot.
Set on a standard 16:9 – 1.78:1 ratio on a single disc with wide screen and full screen format like a movie styling, the movie suffers a bit with some of the flashback or greyer sequences because it feels very grainy like old-school DVDs both in motion and when pausing, despite this with updated animation whilst the characters still look like they were just brighter and a little older (with the exception of the new generation who move as vibrant as you’d expect) –there is no animation went glitch, no slowdown and no keep up issues with the subtitles so in that regard, a movie like release in quality.
There was no packing for this test release.
The menu is quite colourful, almost psychedelic in nature, with booming colours with many of the characters flashing in front and then being replaced with another cast member, below it has a pink like paint bar with the selections of Play Feature, Scene Selection, Set Up and Bonus Features. Easily selectable and when you select it transitions with a shot of the new generation before you get to your choice so slight delay but not unpleasant. You can return to the main menu via the show but no pop-up menus like Blu-Rays.
We actually get a few decent extras outside of the usual trailers – whilst we do get a 30 second and 90 second trailer for the movie, we get a nice extra called The Day Naruto Became Hokage. As mentioned in the audio section, for some reason the Japanese audio isn’t included here which is a disappointment but the actual 10 minute short is pure comedy gold.
Basically, Naruto is having trouble getting ready for his appointment to become Hokage, so his lovely wife Hinata goes to pick up his robe for the ceremony. She meets up with Shikamaru and Kakashi but still no Naruto. How this happened is hilarious…
You see, Naruto and Hinata have two children, Boruto (son) and Himawari (daughter) – now you have children with both Uzumaki and Hyuga genes, and there is potential trouble. So when Boruto and Himawari are having a fight over a teddy bear, and Boruto accidentally rips it, a switch turns out in Himawari who is more like Hinata whilst Boruto is more like Naruto in looks. And this switch puts her in Byakugan mode, and she is utterly hilarious as this scary child (considering she’s the sweetheart of the show) hunting down her brother…to the point that SHE KNOCKS OUT NARUTO WITH HER GENTLE FIST. It is utterly hilarious seeing her change into this and I couldn’t stop laughing.
Of course, it also means Naruto can’t be there for the ceremony due to being kinda unconscious, so they have Konohamaru transform into Naruto – Hinata comes back wondering who did this to her husband whilst Boruto is hiding in fear of his little sister…utterly priceless.
Naruto Shippuden recently finished in Japan after so many episodes and seasons, but the franchise is still a monster so the end where you see the couples married (or saw the Last movie), the spin-off was with the children of the Konoha crew. This could easily be a re-hash of the original series as Naruto is now Hokage, but surprisingly this focuses more on the actual dynamics of the father/son relationship as Boruto’s childhood is definitely different to Naruto’s, and this is a focus that is well defined, to the point that the actual fighting sequences take a backseat half the time…
….and to be honest, this is actually a good thing for this movie because it definitely gives it more of an edge than most of the movies. With the exception of The Last, this is definitely the strongest Naruto movie out there, both for fun and for actual story. Yep, story in a Naruto movie…
We start with a mysterious figure attacking Sasuke who seems very overpowered, with Sasuke having to return back to Konoha – immediately compared to the previous movie, and indeed the end of the series, Sasuke has a vital role in this movie and you can see how much he has changed whilst still pretty much the character you know and love/loathe depending on how you see his actions in the series…
We cut to Konoha, and we see the new generation – the focus mostly on Boruto, the son of Naruto and Hinata, Sarada, the daughter of Sasuke and Sakura, and Mitsuki, who we don’t know (until the end) who his parents are as almost a running joke, but they are preparing for the chunin exam with their sensei Konohamaru, but Boruto is more concerned about how his father isn’t at home, especially with his sister’s Himawari birthday coming up. The conflict is fun especially as Hinata does mention that Naruto is very busy and Boruto doesn’t seem to understand a Hokage’s conflict, hence he never wants to be Hokage (in contrast to Sarada who does) – the main conflict is also that Boruto has a very happy family life in comparison to what Naruto had, and these conflicts fuel the story.
It comes to a head when Naruto send a shadow clone to Himawari’s birthday which eventually gets found out, upsetting Boruto and via Sarada, he fuels this rage into learning two things. The first is a device that Naruto himself banned from being used as a showcase for the Chunin exams which allows people to use jutsus of all kinds in tiny scrolls, and the second is Boruto discovering Sasuke via Saruda and wanting him to train him, so he can truly learn and even be better than his dad. With Boruto seemingly fine with cheating (as demonstrated by him cheating in video games with his pal Shikadai, Shikamaru and Temari’s son), the rather slimy scientists slip him the device whilst Sasuke agrees to train Boruto if he can learn the Rasengan. Via Konohamaru he does, albeit a much weaker one (supposedly, as Sasuke sees his technique is something different to Naruto’s). So with extra training he goes into the Chunin exam (and we see old faces as teachers like Rock Lee, Tenten and Shino) with his dad watching as he wants to impress him.
So he of course, uses the device the scientist gave him to cheat in his match against Shikadai, which Naruto notices and strips him of his victory. The disappointment is obvious and of course it is a bit of a mental clash considering Naruto is the Hokage, but before anything else can bubble up, the arena is attacked by the mysterious figure Sasuke was fighting earlier, along with another person.
The two, Kinshiki and Momoshiki, are after the Nine Tails in Naruto’s body…which is why I prefer the drama here because this is very rehashed after the Akatsuki…though the reasons are different (they can use it to create an infinity fruit to cause immortality) – they have the ability to absorb jutsus which basically means Boruto’s attempt to use the device actually make them stronger, so Naruto seems to sacrifice himself to save everyone as the arena is pretty much blown up – the aftermath is Boruto realizing his father’s love (not to mention his mother nearly killing herself to save him as Sakura is healing her) – however Sasuke learns that he’s actually been transported via another dimension, so he along with the other Kages (including Gaara) have a job to save him – and ask Boruto to come along. In an iconic image, he wears Naruto’s old jacket and Sasuke gives him a headband (as he got stripped of it after cheating) to prove he is now a true ninja…
They managed to transport there and the Kage/Sasuke fighting the two villains, and when they free Naruto, the two old rivals join up and appear to be winning. Unfortunately, the scientists from before are still too obsessed thinking their new ways are better than the old, had snuck with them and use their tech to try and fight…which of course powers them up further. This leads to Naruto using his remaining chakra to power up Boruto, and using his Rasengan training causing a giant one as father and son force Momoshiki to absorb all the chakra which causes him to implode, and the Naruto/Boruto relationship being more understanding – Naruto gets more time to spend with his family whilst Boruto sees what the Hokage truly is about, and stands by not to be one, but to help Sarada become one. And a few fun moments end with the reveal of who Mitsuki’s parents are…which is quite comical there but you wonder in the story if this will lead to something else…
The movie is definitely got a lot of substance and style. Naruto and Sasuke first of all have a much more interesting relationship post-Shippuden after everything that has happened to them, and are back to the respectful rival’s level and also close confidants as Sasuke does go directly to the Hokage on reports. This also ties in to Boruto wanting to learn more about his father and going to said rival to help. It is also interesting that him and Sarada are parallel in a way in terms of their father’s not being at home (there’s a fun sequence when Sakura is clearly excited that her husband is returning but trying to hide it – Sarada sees through her mother quite easily ^^) yet Sarada is much more reserved about it and is all gung-ho in the exams, whilst Boruto lets his dad’s work get him down.
The drama is actually something that Naruto does well in a lot of their arcs, and here it is the primary focus – to the point that the action scenes actually distract it. It feels basically a father/son arc with a battle just to give them something to work together on. Granted it works, but the villains are hugely forgettable, and the scientists whose egos nearly get everyone killed you just want to punch the screen. Boruto does learn lessons which are something I like, and he learns them the hard way, both in terms of him cheating, and not realizing WHY his father isn’t home all the time. It is a hard situation for a young boy definitely, and the movie gets his rebellious ways out there, wanting to train with Sasuke, training with Konohamaru, taking the cheat options, etc. The actual fight sequence does have a point with Boruto being taken along with Sasuke (who genuinely seems to like Boruto, he smiles when his Rasengan actually disappears but then takes out a tree alongside his daughter – I do wish we got more time with Sasuke if he did return home as Sasuke as a dad is an interesting concept on its own…) but it did feel extremely tacked on.
Because as both a sequel of sorts to Naruto and as a drama story, this actually succeeds. You get cameos from most of the cast from the original series for the fans, and a good story involving the new generation – granted some of them don’t get much airtime like Ino/Sai’s son and Chouji’s daughter – concludes with a great father/son learning and bonding experience. Little things as well show that they haven’t forgotten the original characters – Saruda for example has her mother’s energy with her strength attacks but Sakura also is kinder and more encouraging, Hinata still has a will of iron despite her reserved persona – she nearly kills herself to save Naruto (again) – Shikamaru is still a smart-arse which is passed on to his son but also intelligent and along with Kakashi Naruto’s most trusted aide, the somber moments of Boruto getting upset and then rebelling is typical of growing up, and being scolded before the revelation is a perfect pop up for him. Naruto himself is obviously much more grown up, but still has his goofy moments – this is why Sasuke is still such a good contrast to him, shown well in one moment when they casually insult each other like when they are back to kids, both however with smiles.
So yeah, Boruto: The Movie is definitely a very good film, and a great Naruto movie. I prefer the Last overall because the Last did the conflict and action far better in terms of both, whilst Boruto the conflict is good, but the action feels very tacked on until the end. (That, and I was a sucker for the Naruto/Hinata romance) However, it’s definitely an upward trend of the Naruto movies considering the amount of filler ish ones – Road To Ninja was a good starter, the Last was the epic, and this is a very good start for the new gen.
Boruto: Naruto The Movie is a very pleasant surprise, instead of what could have been a cheap spin-off capitalizing on the original shows popularity, turns into a rather good father/son story with the son trying to impress his dad as well as want him to come home more often, but goes a bit too far which nearly costs him. The action scenes only are a way to make sure they reunite and the characters are either annoying or forgettable but the original cast and their kids are fun, well written and you wished you got to see more. A surprisingly good story which makes you look forward to the new series.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: C+ (audio is B+ but lowered due to the lack of Jap track for the extra)
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: June 5th, 2017
Running Time: 95 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphi Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.