With Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 Remix, there was a certain similarity between both HD-packages. Each had one main-entry, one unnumbered entry, and one DS title made into a movie. The movies are controversial approaches to the games since Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 had enough entertaining gameplay to be more than just worthwhile, and Re:Coded’s story is so lackluster, it really did not need to exist. With Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD: Final Chapter Prologue, the numbered sequel was not available yet. So they took a more interesting route: had Dream Drop Distance with some more added content, a glorified tech-demo called Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, and a movie based on the events of the mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union X.
Right of the bat, this terrified me. Making a movie based on not just the worst Kingdom Hearts game, but probably one of the most soulless games I have ever played, sounded like a recipe for disaster. Still, using the same graphical capabilities we would see in Kingdom Hearts 3 (according to Nomura) and expanding on a story that really had nothing to offer, can at least promise something more right? Well after the movie shows a commercial of the mobile-games with plenty of reused texts, footage, and editing-tricks just to make it seem worthwhile, we get to the movie’s plot. A hooded man known to all as “The Master”, tells one of his apprentices Ira that he will one day disappear and a great war will turn the world into darkness. He asks Ira to be the leader over his four other apprentices Invi, Aced, Ava, and Gula, and prepare the world for not the war itself as they will lose no matter what, but for what comes after.
There is also another apprentice, Luxu, though he was tasked with going on a long journey with a casket so you won’t see much of him. As he predicted, The Master disappears, leading the 5 apprentices to take charge and make their own unions to prepare the world for what will come. However, one day they find that one of their pets called Chirithy, has turned dark, which represents the owner’s heart. Instead of checking whose pet it is, they decide to blame each other for falling into the darkness and become paranoid all of the time.
This is the entire story. Simply having everybody playing the blame-game, trust-issues to one another, and no one telling each other about their purposes The Master gave them, for no other reason than to give each character a flashback-scene. As you might guess, this one-hour movie consists of only dialogue that is farfetched and simply idiotic because of this premise. This needless drama also contributes to a lot of plot holes, such as them never deciding to check on each other’s pets to see who has lost their heart to darkness, they have separated unions and are not allowed to create a common alliance which contradicts their ideal that friendship is magic, there is a book of prophecy that is an incredibly lazy plot-device for why a war will come, and for a series that has a lot of philosophy, the characters often state the obvious and are incredibly narrow-minded.
At least it makes it hard for me to care about the plenty of plot holes when no character is memorable except for one. The five union-leaders are only distinguishable by their masks and not their personalities, making it hard to relate to any of them. It almost seems like they had characters wear masks to make them somewhat recognizable. Their conversations do not help in this regard either as they consisting of whining, awkward pauses, and long exposition that goes nowhere. If this didn’t destroy your believability towards these characters, then how about when they ask what “the lost page?” is. It is exactly what you think and, believe me, this isn’t the dumbest comment you will hear throughout this movie.
The only person I enjoyed throughout this headache was The Master, as he doesn’t seem to care and makes fun of his followers (and rightfully so). When he is asked if they can’t change the future and prevent the war from happening, he happily replies “nope, but you can try”. This sarcasm and playful attitude of his, makes me smile the few times he appears. However, it is a shame that those moments where he appears are rare, and I am still mad that his rules and actions are the cause for a lot of dumb decisions our five masked protagonists will make. I won’t spoil it, but believe me: his secretive approach is the reason why the world is at a brink of war. Not the dumb book.
It is hard to really comment more on the idiotic plot without going into spoiler-territory or make this article into a book itself, so let’s talk about the presentation. While the technicality of the CG is incredible, characters move so stiffly and no areas are interesting or imaginative, making me almost question why they didn’t just use real actors. The cost might have been less and since there is only one fight that lasts about 30 seconds throughout this entire movie, there are no visually intriguing moments. Then there are the voice actors and they are very poor. They try to use their voices to sound mysterious or strong, but they instead come of as generic and forgettable. The delivery of these lines is also incredibly off, with many weird grunts, awkward pauses, and long dialogues. The Master is the only one I can give credit for as he puts a great amount of personality in his snarky, but kind approach. Unfortunately as stated above: he is not a common figure in this movie.
This was an hour of nothing. Annoying characters, wasteful CG, a terrible plot with a bunch of holes, awful voice acting, and nothing adds to the world of Kingdom Hearts. It is pretty much like the worst soap-opera you have ever seen, without any overacting or hilarious bitch-slapping. The only moments that made me smile were the Master’s sarcasm as I felt with him, but again: he was only there for short parts and also contributed to this mess. I wonder why this movie even exists. It is an accomplishment when even the mobile-game had more to offer.