Knights of the Zodiac, directed by Tomek Baginski, attempts to bring the popular anime and manga series, Saint Seiya, to life in a live-action adaptation. However, despite some promising action sequences, the film ultimately falls flat and fails to capture the essence of the original source material.
The story revolves around Seiya (Mackenyu), who unexpectedly becomes entangled in a feud between Alman Kiddo (Sean Bean) and Guraad (Famke Janssen) over Sienna (Madison Iseman), the reincarnation of the goddess Athena. Seiya discovers that he possesses special abilities and is destined to protect Sienna by vanquishing a formidable enemy when he turns sixteen. Unfortunately, the plot feels unoriginal, resembling many clichéd “chosen one” narratives found in countless young adult novels, detracting from the film’s potential.
One of the film’s significant drawbacks is its struggle with exposition dumps. Rather than organically unfolding the world’s complexities, the film relies on Sean Bean’s character to narrate much of the information within the first twenty minutes, leading to an unengaging and uninspired presentation. Awkward dialogue further hampers the film, leaving little room for genuine emotional connections between the characters, which ultimately weakens the overall storytelling.
While the film boasts some impressive action scenes, the character development suffers, leaving the audience with little attachment to the cast. Mackenyu’s portrayal of Seiya lacks depth, primarily serving as eye candy rather than a compelling protagonist. Despite the efforts of veteran actors like Sean Bean and Famke Jensen, the characters’ emotional impact feels lacking, contributing to an overall underwhelming performance.
There are missed opportunities in exploring interesting character arcs, such as Sienna’s internal struggle with the goddess Athena taking over her personality. Additionally, Guraad’s motivation to protect humanity from potential harm by Athena adds depth to the story but is not fully explored, leaving audiences wanting more.
The film’s action scenes manage to impress with their choreography and energy, though the excessive use of CGI diminishes the overall visual impact. The film’s coloration and costume choices also lack the vibrancy and appeal of the original source material, resulting in a less engaging visual experience.
In conclusion, Knights of the Zodiac fails to rise above its uninspired plot and lackluster character development. While the action sequences provide some excitement, they are not enough to salvage the film’s overall shortcomings. Fans of the original Saint Seiya may find themselves disappointed with this lackluster adaptation, as it fails to capture the magic of the beloved anime and manga series.