Starring: Akiko Yajima, Miki Narahashi, Keiji Fujiwara
Director: Masakazu Hashimoto
Running Time: 104 mins
Crayon Shin-chan: My Moving Story: Cactus Attack! is a Japanese film and the twenty-third in the Crayon Shin-chan series. After accepting a job in Mexico, the Nohara family move to a small town in the desert, but find that all is not as it seems as the village soon comes under attack from a horde of living, man-eating cacti.
I’m generally a fan of these Crayon Shin-chan movies, no matter what guise they’re under or what ridiculous circumstances they take place in. Normally, they’re very simple but very entertaining movies that are just as enjoyable for kids as adults, complete with great imagination, hilarious comedy and crazy action. This film, however, doesn’t quite achieve what many of the other films and the TV show do so well, missing out on the best humour and antics in exchange for a plot that’s rather repetitive and underwhelming.
However, let’s start on the bright side, with the fact that the classic Crayon Shin-chan is still there, just not as much as he normally is. There’s a lot to love about this franchise, but most of it all boils down to the fantastically rude and ridiculous young boy Shinnosuke at the centre, and he turns up again in this film with some great moments, albeit just not on the consistent basis that normally makes these films so hilarious.
In reality, there are still some great laughs here, most of which come from Shinnosuke’s ridiculous behaviour or hilarious dismantling of the adult world, meaning that Cactus Attack! is still an entertaining watch at times, and not totally devoid of the humour and enjoyment that makes this series so fun on such a regular basis.
Furthermore, there are moments when director Masakazu Hashimoto takes some bold and original decisions with how to present the film visually. Although I can’t say the screenplay has all that much originality, this film sticks out in my mind a little more than others in the series due to its visuals, with very bright animation and a unique (albeit very random) setting all coming together to make a rather vibrant and energetic film – as well as one fantastically funny parody of modern anime style that fits in beautifully with this movie’s sense of humour.
So, although it’s not the funniest of the series, there is still fun to be had with this movie, and fans of the show and the movie franchise will undoubtedly be able to find some good entertainment here and there with this edition.
Saying that, however, there’s not all that much else beyond the passable comedy to really entertain you. The visuals are great, and the film is as energetic as you’d expect, but there’s something about the plot, which takes a very generic route throughout as Shinnosuke and co. have to outrun a horde of killer cacti all the while negotiating some bizarre local characters, that doesn’t provide the entertainment that you’d really like to see, and suffers from a very repetitive second and final act that just don’t match up to the best of the series.
In comparison to the gold standard of Crayon Shin-chan films: The Adult Empire Strikes Back, this movie doesn’t manage to combine humour and action to a strong enough degree to make it all really entertaining. Better comedy all round would have been a help, however it’s the fact that the action feels so generic and repetitive, along with the fairly subpar humour, that makes the film a bit of an underwhelming watch in the end, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.7 overall.