The Knights of the Zodiac: a failed adaptation of a mythical saga

The Knights of the , directed by Tomasz Bagiński, is a simplified version of the famous anime. Despite its efforts, the film fails to capture the essence of a story rich in mythological references and complex context.

Bagiński attempts to summarize the story, but fails

The director, with his script, tries to summarize the saga from which the film comes. From the character of Sienna (Madison Iseman), incarnation of the goddess Athena, to the sense of predestination of the original manga by Masami Kurumada.

The story quickly crosses a path of unnecessary explanations, intended for an audience beyond the fans. If at first this seems effective – especially in detailing the dual divine nature of the protagonists – it eventually becomes an excessive burden on the narrative.

Difficult adaptation of a complex work

Of course, adapting such a work is not easy. The original anime of the Knights of the Zodiac, broadcast in Japan from October 11, 1986 to April 1, 1989, had three seasons of 114 episodes. All tried to cover the story imagined by Masami Kurumada, with mixed success. Thus, the film had to not only reinvent the story – which spans several realities, plans and battles of different types – but also simplify it.

The major failures of the Knights of the Zodiac

However, the film fails to achieve this goal. What is evident in the plot is its difficulty in explaining the origin of what could be a franchise and, moreover, in being coherent. Time and again, it describes an alternative dimension of reality to the extreme of the lives of Sienna and Seiya (Arata Mackenyu).

The latter, full of anger, bitterness and mistakes, is presented as a tragic anti-hero from the first scenes. The plot of the Knights of the Zodiac suggests that emotions lead the young man to a mission. Meanwhile, Sienna must deal with the fracturing of the world as she knows it. But the narrative lacks the skill to support these two situations in parallel.

Fights without reason and an uneven plot

Instead, The Knights of the Zodiac insists that both will follow a transcendental destiny of which they are unaware, until mysterious forces push them together. The film makes little effort to give more depth to the mystical connection that will reveal the meaning of Sienna's enigmatic dreams.

The same is true of the protective impulse that Seiya feels almost suddenly. Although the story attempts to give context to the extraordinary events surrounding the characters, it focuses on the action. The feature film leaves out much of the basic mythology of the story from which it is derived and focuses on spectacular, impeccably choreographed fights. Gradually, the great secret of the conflict is revealed and, of course, includes saving the world – and the goddess embodied in Sienna – from the looming danger.

A disappointing adaptation and a lack of emotional development

However, The Knights of the Zodiac never comes close to the emotion of the long hero's journey that the manga and anime turned into a TV classic. Director Tomasz Bagiński is content to follow the adventures, missteps and surges of the protagonists, without giving character to the visual part.

For its part, the script, written by Josh Campbell, Blazej Dzikowski, Will Geiger and Masami Kurumada himself, renounces exploring the elaborate universe of the manga. Instead, it opts for a generic version. When Athena discovers her destiny – and what is expected of her – the plot loses its identity in favor of a simple conflict that collapses into a predictable and flat ending.

The Knights of the Zodiac fails to solve its basic problems

Indeed, The Knights of the Zodiac has real trouble tying together the bits of information it half explains. The mystical and slightly esoteric dimension of its paper version is transformed into a perception of the impending battle. Sienna and Seiya must join an unlikely team to save their lives and meet a greater challenge. But it's all told in such an inconsistent manner that it ends up feeling like a series of obstacles constructed to show off the skills of its protagonists.

The film misses the opportunity to build an atmosphere that characterizes it. When the distinctive armor appears, the digital effects are so poor that they become a hindrance to the plot. When it becomes that Sienna's life involves a greater sacrifice, the script avoids delving into the motivations. Thus, the purpose of the knights who protect her is as incomprehensible as it is meaningless.

Another disappointing adaptation of a complex work

Finally, what is missing in the film is the emotional development of its characters. Especially when it comes to a saga that has been praised worldwide for having devoted time and interest to explore its protagonists. In its transition to the big screen, it collapses into a fantasy . More related to a multi-film origin epic than a stand-alone project.

In its disappointing conclusion, The Knights of the Zodiac leaves the door open for a sequel, without completing the story it just told. Reality and the future are saved, but it is not clear how such a feat was accomplished. This film, then, is another disappointing adaptation of a legendary saga that fails to capture the richness and complexity of its source material, leaving fans and newcomers alike unsatisfied.

3.8/5 - (13 votes)