Naruto the Anime TV Series has so far spawned 2 feature length theatre movies, and a third one is coming our way this summer.
The first one, which was released in the summer '04 was a fun adventure featuring the main characters of Naruto in an exciting adventure. However, one must be a blind, deaf and one legged chicken to deny that film's faults. Whilst the first was most definitely enjoyable, there were a lot of things that could be improved on. Naruto Movie 2, however, takes all of these aspects and excels upon them.
The action first of all, was incredibly cinematic. The lighting, setting and style was three fold as effective as in the first movie. In the first we were given basic action, well animated and choreographed animation, but nothing eye popping, however this movie's cinematography was exceptional, the use of shadows and lighting combining together to make the action all that more intense was very effective and added to the force of the fighting.
The animation was very good. It rivalled Disney, however since this is a movie about TV characters, there was nothing exceptionable about the character design or detail to the actual characters, however, the animation was incredibly fluid and realistic. I think they even used twice the amount of cels for each second because there was absolutely nothing jittery about the animation at all, it was incredibly fluid.
The music... I think that's where this movie fails. The original composer/conductor for the TV show was used for the film, and I don't really feel that he did that good of a job. The music mostly reminded me of a lot of pieces used in old SNES games. The composer is very good, but the synthesisers used for the film couldn't convey the tune very well. However they didn't fail the film at all, adding as a good accompaniment to the action. But, except for a few violin/string pieces towards the end and some choral work, the music didn't excel any boundaries or act as anything special.
The story was fun. It was a reasonably typical storyline for Naruto and was very similar to the first movies, except, again, it took everything that had been wrong with the first film's story and improved upon them. The characters were a lot more interesting and the way the story progressed was what kept me watching throughout the entire film. It kept making you think the film would be ending any second now, but then it would move on, but instead of feeling dragged out, the action and characters made everything still feel fresh and exciting.
Overall, this film is a goodun, but however good it might be, it is most definitely one for the fans. I enjoyed the film, but thats because... I'm a fan! But I can see, just like with Final Fantasy's Advent Children, it doesn't excel as a movie, but merely acts as a fantastic serve of fan service for a good hour and a half. Though I think this film does act as a good introduction to the series for current non-watchers, it won't give a full effect for anyone other than those glued to Naruto screens. However, despite all this, it was a fun movie to enjoy during this depressing period of upsetting fillers.