Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Dark Side of Dimensions returns to the characters from the original Yu-Gi-Oh manga anime, and is set a year after the end of the original series.
Traditionally Yu-Gi-Oh movies have tended to keep most of the duelling to one match. The Pyramid of Light movie had two and a half but most of the movie was centred around one main duel that followed smaller duels. Dark Side of Dimensions bucks this trend; there are several duels throughout the movie, and they are all fun to watch. They have a quicker pace than duels in the show and they never feel like they are stalling. They start quickly and last as long as they need to. Some of the monsters are animated with computer effects rather than hand drawing and the duels have a feeling of intensity to them that the show rarely managed.
The quality of the movie's action is matched by the quality of its story. The plot revolves around a new set of characters that have the ability to reshape reality, and Kaiba's attempts to gain the Millennium Puzzle. The main theme of the movie is one of loss. Despite being a celebration of Yu-Gi-Oh's 20th anniversary the movie is primarily about learning to let go of your past and say goodbye to people you've lost. It is a message that is told beautifully through multiple characters and not once does it feel forced.
If there is any one flaw that can be levelled at Dark Side of Dimensions it's that there is a lot going on. This may sound like an odd complaint but the movie has a two hour running time. It never becomes boring but occasionally it feels like the movie could have been better served by being a two-three part mini-series, or if one or two of the duels were cut. An early duel between Yugi and Kaiba for example was fun, but probably could have been cut without the movie losing anything.
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Dark Side of Dimension is as close to perfect as a Yu-Gi-Oh movie could be expected to be. The characters all get a chance to shine. It is just as goofy as it has always been, but it is backed up by a story with real weight behind it. The card game segments feel like action scenes and the movie revels in how over the top it can be (there is a lift that goes to space in this movie). This movie succeeds at being a genuinely good story that adds to its franchise, instead of merely existing to exploit nostalgic fans.
YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE: DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: SATOSHI KUWABARA / SCREENWRITER: KAZUKI TAKAHASHI / STARRING: DAN GREEN, ERIC STUART, WAYNE GRAYSON, GREG ABBEY, AMY BIRNBAUM, DANIEL J. EDWARDS / RELEASE DATE: 29TH MAY