A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time is a 2010 movie that is part of the Japanese Manga series. The movie itself essentially feels like an hour-long infomercial for the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game, in which the action on the cards (even used by the characters themselves as they do battle) comes to life in a series of battles involving explosions, fighting with demonic-looking monsters, and fights with swords and lasers. The story itself is incredibly difficult to follow and needlessly complicated; that said, anyone who isn't a superfan of the series won't find much to enjoy. And for parents wary of commercials masquerading as children's entertainment, the needless complexity coupled with the crass commercialism involved make this one to avoid.
What's the story?
In YU-GI-OH! BONDS BEYOND TIME, Yugi, Jaden, and Yusei must join forces to fight against Paradox, a time-traveling turbo duelist determined to destroy the history of the Duel Monsters. Because of this time travel, the future (and present) of New Domino City are threatened, and if Paradox succeeds, what awaits is a future world in ruins. When the trio confronts Paradox, he claims that he comes from the ruins of the future and that the only way to rescue the world is by going back in time to stop the Duel Monsters. Paradox refuses to listen when the trio tells him that if the Duel Monsters are destroyed, all future events and people will be destroyed as well. Having reached an impasse, the only thing left to do is for Yugi, Jaden, and Yusei to break out their trading cards and fight Paradox, defeat him, and do what they can to save New Domino City, and the world.
Is it any good?
This is essentially an hour-long commerical for the trading card game. The story itself is needlessly confusing and nearly impossible to follow, unless you're a superfan aware of all the many details of the characters and of the game itself. Even the battle scenes feel less like a story and more like directions on how to play the game. That said, only the most diehard fans of the Manga series will find much to appreciate in this one.
Characters have accents (British, West Coast surfer) for no clear reason. Voiceovers attempting to provide context and clarity only muddle the already muddled storyline even further. For families wary of commercials masquerading as children's entertainment, the infomercial feel of Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time coupled with the confusing storyline make it difficult to enjoy on any level.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ways in which toys and games are marketed to kids. Is this a concern in your family? Why or why not? Do you think Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time is effective marketing?
Did the violence seem necessary to the story, or did it seem gratuitous?
How is this movie similar to and different from other Japanese animated films?
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