October 10, 2011

Kirby: Fright to the Finish (2005)

MOST KIDS HAVE one obsession. Something they know everything about. Something they can’t stop talking about. For Dash, it’s Kirby.

You may know Kirby from the many Nintendo videogames he’s starred in over the last twenty years, each featuring a massive cast of characters and powers that make me feel older every time I try to memorize them. In other words, if you’ve ever felt confused or overwhelmed by shows such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragonball Z, or Bakugan, you may feel the same way with Kirby’s universe. (Click here for a primer.)

But in addition to videogames, Kirby also has been the star of his own TV series, Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, which ran on American television in the early 2000s – and culminated with the full-length movie, Kirby: Fright to the Finish.

Kirby finds his greatest challenge yet when an invasion of alien spaceships nearly destroys his planet, and he sets off into outer space to confront his archrival eNeMeE ("enemy").


Kirby: Fright to the Finish wastes no time getting started: It jumps in exactly where the TV series left off, as we watch Kirby and his friends try to stop eNeMeE once and for all. The action and chase sequences are pretty exciting, even a little bit intense – with lots of weapon attacks and explosions. It all leads to a final battle sequence (Kirby’s crew attacking eNeMeE’s fortress) that gives big-budget, wide-release films a run for their money.

Throughout Fright to the Finish, Kirby acquires unique superpowers by inhaling certain items while riding his Warpstar. It’d take a whole other review to name and describe them all, but here’s a sampling: Baton Kirby, Water Kirby, Iron Kirby, Top Kirby, Crash Kirby, Cook Kirby, Ice Kirby, Bomb Kirby, and Fire Kirby. With each power Kirby obtains, he’s able to lay the smack down on the bad guys in a new and unique way.

For grown-ups, there are a couple of characters whose voices will sound familiar: The awesomely named Meta Knight sounds like Bela Lugosi (he even dons a Dracula-like cape), while King Dedede’s lackey, a snail named Escargoon, sounds like an aggravated Paul Lynde.

I can see why Dash likes Kirby so much; frankly, I probably would have dug him if he were around during my childhood. He’s the classic case of not judging a book by its cover: a cute and unassuming pink puff who, when provoked or threatened, can kick some serious butt.

Yes, there are many, many characters in Kirby’s world. But even though I can’t tell Waddle Dee from Waddle Doo, or Lololo from Lalala, it doesn’t take away from how much fun it is to watch Kirby: Fright to the Finish. It stands on its own as a highly entertaining film.


What did Dash and Jack-Jack think?
Are you kidding? Finding Kirby: Fright to the Finish on Amazon for a measly $4 was the biggest and best investment we’ve ever made, as far as Dash is concerned. It’s one of his favorite films, if not the favorite. Jack-Jack enjoys the Kirby-verse as well, getting a kick out of all the different, colorful, magical characters.

Is it suitable for your kids?
Some action scenes in Kirby: Fright to the Finish can get a bit intense, with explosions and Kirby and his friends in peril (the scene where eNeMeE’s “Destryas” (right) attack Kirby’s village is pretty heavy). There is also some minor name-calling (“lame-o”), and a villain describes his wish to push someone off a bridge.

Will your FilmMother want to watch it?
She might make an emotional investment when Kirby and his equally cute friends are in danger, but the amount of action, battles, and stuff blowing up makes me think she may tune out before the end credits.

'Cuz every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed...uh...
I'll say "vertically challenged humanoid?"

Buy Kirby: Fright to the Finish at Half.com >>
Rent Kirby: Fright to the Finish from Netflix >>


Neil Dunsmore said...

Wow, I'm kinda surprised you'd review essentially the last 5 episodes of the Kirby anime and even give it a positive score of all things. I love this show too (I'm 21 and wrote an entire retrospective on it) but still... It is one of the few 4kids dubs I actually still enjoy, although their synthesizer music did kind of annoy me this time around. Still, I agree, this is a fun movie, even if it's not technically a movie. (Though the final battle is REALLY anti-climactic. Okay, big star attack is cool and all, but come on, can't you TRY to make the battle more interesting? Nightmare disappointed me so much as a villain because he pretty much allowed Kirby to beat him!)

Neil Dunsmore said...

Oh, if you want to see said retrospective: http://ndunsmo.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4c7a9p


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