Kitaro and the Millennium Curse Review
The FilmThere is one spectacularly "off" moment during Kitaro and the Millennium Curse that caused me to howl with laughter. It's very rare for a piece of entertainment aimed at youngsters to cause such a positive reaction in me and I was left wondering whether this was due to greater permissiveness or invention in such films in Japan or whether it was just darned funny. I don't wish to spoil it for you but I will say it involves a reference to an old woman's nipples that I just couldn't imagine happening in a western context.
Kitaro, for those of you who don't know, is a special kind of adventurous Goblin who protects the human race from all manner of evil threats from the netherworld. He is supported by Cat Girl, Ratman and his father who is basically a walking eyeball - Lord knows how the mechanics of procreation worked, perhaps his mother receive a penetrating stare. Kitaro is drawn into an intrigue which is seeing young women disappear courtesy of an unhappy spirit and embarks on a mission to either exorcise or becalm this miserable fantasm.
It's hardly revolutionary but it is served up well as a jolly pantomime. Think Rentaghost with wire-fu and you won't be far off. It's definitely aimed for the kid in you and I think western parents may have some difficulty explaining the off humour and the significance of dry fruit, but this is very much worth the effort for an offbeat adventure.
Technical SpecsOffered on a dual layer and region two encoded disc, the transfer given to Kitaro is quite murky. It looks very like it was shot on video and I am not certain that it has been converted properly to PAL with a degree of motion shake and muted contrast pretty evident. It's not over-sharp but the amateurish pantomime feel of the feature may make you less concerned at getting stunning picture quality. This is a weak transfer overall - dark and lacking colour.
Special FeaturesOutside of a trailer, The only extra feature offered here is that of production notes courtesy of popping your disc into a computer. The menu presentation is very basic with static art and few frills. The production notes are provided as a 48MB pdf file spread over 9 pages with photos to accompany the text. The text fills in background over the history of the Kitaro manga and how the character has developed, as well as providing cast, character and crew bios.
SummaryThis was fun. It's a weak transfer but available very cheap so it might be worth a punt for fans of the comic or those wanting a bit of a childish romp
7 out of 10
5 out of 10
6 out of 10
4 out of 10