Tardy Critic’s review published on Letterboxd:
Philip: In an effort to provide you with the most professional reviews of the most professional movies I have coerced Aaron into watching this week’s movie with me. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid Of Light.
Aaron: Basically dragged kicking and screaming into this movie.
Philip: This was a straight to TV children’s movie based off a television series, so while it does attempt to give viewers the basic backstory, there’s a lot of background and plot arc that is not explained.
Aaron: There was a lot of plot in the FILM that was not explained.
Philip: So, plot… *sigh*
5000 years ago Egyptians use to duel each other with mythical monsters which were also kinda real. In present day some super successful pseudo-villain created a card game to emulate this, but when an unsuspecting high schooler puts together a large gold necklace he apparently becomes the reincarnation of Pharaoh. One of the Pharaohs. No idea which one.
Aaron: So basically the plot to the next Night in the Museum flick.
Philip: Yugi, the titular character, is really good at the card game partly because he has the three limited edition “Egyptian God Cards” which allow him to create an unstoppable monster with infinite power. This is apparently not cheating. Everyone hates him because he is successful, but his main rival is a rich guy named Kaiba who wants nothing more in life than to beat Yugi at a children’s card game.
Aaron: Maybe it’s like a spectator sport in their country. Almost like football, just as over-the-top and about as entertaining.
Philip: In order to beat this high schooler Kaiba goes to the creator of the game, Maximillion Pegasus, and plays him in a card duel in order to win the one card that can defeat Yugi. Kaiba beats Pegasus and takes two cards that will guarantee his victory, unbeknown to both of them, one of the cards was added to Pegasus’ deck by a half-invisible ancient being while he was asleep.
Not wasting any time, Kaiba immediately returns home and challenges Yugi to a card duel. Pharaoh and Yugi switch places for the duel, but as soon as Kaiba plays the Pyramid of Light card, Yugi and his two friends’ souls are sucked into the giant gold pendant Yugi wears around his neck.
Aaron: This is where they lost me completely and I started watching the new Hunger Games trailer on one half of my monitor while glancing back at Yu Gi Oh to make sure it was still playing on the other half.
Philip: The duel turns into a life and death situation very quickly but Kaiba is dead set on winning. With each attack, Yu-Gi-Oh finds himself closer to actually dying until Kaiba tries to attack his own card. At this point, Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god reveals himself and knocks Kaiba aside. Anubis now faces his 5000 year old nemesis Pharaoh in a children’s card game.
The whole show is seriously just one deus ex machina after another, but the ultimate deus ex machina is yet to come. As Pharaoh is about to die, Yugi and his buddies attack a wall in the spirit realm by throwing a dagger and Anubis’ entire plan falls apart.
He’s not dead yet though and turns into a giant monster who, unlike the card game holograms, is actually real.
Aaron: So. Many. False. Endings.
Philip: It looks like this is the end of all things when Kaiba suddenly wakes up and uses his card to create a real monster who has the ability to destroy any other monster and the day is saved.
It’s difficult to ascertain how the card game rules apply to the real life battle that takes place and whether other players are legally able to join a duel in progress by adding their own cards… but in the end, one shouldn’t complain if the world was just saved from imminent destruction.
Aaron: This is where Waldorf and Statler appear and say, “Too bad they couldn’t save the movie!”
Philip: This movie is so over the top it makes Catwoman look like a well thought out idea. Every character is overly confident and everyone is surprised by everything that happens all the time.
Aaron: No one can defeat me now! What?! That’s impossible! I guess I’ll have to use my extra special card with infinite powers! What?!
Philip: How ridiculously silly is this film? An unidentified man plays a card called “Injection Fairy Lily” which is a winged female wearing a nurse-style outfit decorated with hearts who attacks with a six foot tall hypodermic syringe.
Philip: I’m sorry I had to put you through this Aaron, but now you know why I didn’t want to watch this alone.
The dialogue is slightly better than Sharknado, though as the target audience is children, it’s probably okay to keep it simplistic.
Aaron: No. No! It’s not okay.
Philip: The “music” as Aaron generously called it, was more of a audio place holder than anything else. On the plus side there’s never a dull moment with this quick paced flick and even if the plot is silly it’s clear that the bond of friendship our hero(s) share will always be strong enough to save the day.
Would I recommend this film? No. I would, however, recommend the Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged series, which did a fantastic job of trimming this 1 hour and 29 minute movie down to 31 minutes. Little Kuriboh also redid all the voices and dialogue, so the plot is much easier to understand and is pretty much hilarious. (Though probably not suitable for young children.)
Aaron: I may have to check that out just for comparison. I could spare 31 minutes for that.
Review by Phil Wels & Aaron Evans