For the first time, a live action project of ‘Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac’ arrives to an industry full of film adaptations of stories from different media, a manga that, in the same way as its subsequent anime, enjoys great prestige. Directed by Tomek Baginskiun, who is making his feature film directorial debut, the film focuses on Seiya (Mackenyu Maeda), a teenager who, during a street fight, discovers that he possesses mystical powers, thus immersing himself in an ancient magical world where he meets a goddess who needs his protection.
I advance that I have not read the manga or seen the anime, so I cannot deal with the always delicate issue of fidelity with respect to the original material, I don’t know if a ‘Dragonball Evolution’ is marked at the adaptation level. I judge ‘The Knights of the Zodiac’ as one more installment of fantasy and action, genres that I do consume regularly.
The film doesn’t start off badly, it arouses interest in someone outside of this universe. After a brief touch on her mythology, the first few minutes introduce Seiya to one of her street fights, a confrontation in which the main positive aspect of the film is present: the action. With good skill behind the scenes and attractive choreography that is inspired by the usual theatrics of anime, the action scenes, present throughout the film, fully comply and leave more than one memorable moment. In addition, they are supported by a remarkable visual section that raise their level.
However, the action scenes lose impact because the situations from which they are born do not have enough narrative force due to the poor development of the story and characters. Here we enter the great negative point of ‘The Knights of the Zodiac’, the script, which does not take long to decay and lack emotion. The plot rushes from one point to another without building a base that allows the public to really connect with it. In this way, the viewer is faced with a project that they do not feel part of, thus causing the epic and dramatic moments to lose credibility.
The same thing happens to the characters. none of them cause special interest due to their sudden development, in fits and starts, without a progression that manages to make their compartments and decisions convincing. Nor do they have a striking charisma beforehand that could have allowed them to be interesting despite their evolution. They are not helped at all by the dialogues that, regardless of the fact that you cannot fully believe them due to the weaknesses mentioned, their quality leaves much to be desired. There are very bad interactions outright, especially the scenes that are meant to be funny.
On the other hand, the precipitation that generally surrounds ‘The Knights of the Zodiac’ is not due to the fact that it addresses too many concepts of the saga at once, quite the contrary, It doesn’t feel like it’s adapting a rich, potential fictional universe, which, given the success of the source material, it sure does. It explores its lore in such a superficial way, as if we already knew it very well, that it seems like a sequel that we don’t fully understand for not having seen the first installment where the basic pillars are presented to you.
At an interpretive level, most of the cast, highlighting Sean Bean (‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The Lord of the Rings’), Madison Iseman (‘Clouds’) and Mark Dacascos (‘John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’) , they enrich as they can a script and empty characters with hardly any material to squeeze that do not allow them to shine.
The final result is a most forgettable and insubstantial conflict between heroes and villains who, except specific moments, both lucid and especially bad, cause total indifference and a sensation of seeing a product that is not aimed at the original fans of ‘Los Caballeros del Zodiaco’ or its new audience.
The best: The action scenes.
Worst: The development of two elements as important as the characters and the story.