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Now, finally, after a few years and a DVD player later, I bought the movie, and I gotta tell ya, I regret it that I didn't see it in the cinemas... actually, I don't, because, well, I was "too old" for pokemon. That's the biggest bullpoo I ever heard. Well, sure, pokemon is mainly for young people, but I did enjoy the movie, for an 18 year old guy.
Well, back to the movie. The movie is great. I've seen the movie in Dutch first (because I'm used to the Dutch voices, and they sound better to me). The way Mewtwo's voice was used, it was as if Mewtwo was really in your head. But you'll need Dolby Surround for that experience. Also, the way the movie reffered back to the series, perfect. I mean, if you haven't seen the series, then that's okey, but don't look weird if you don't understand certain events and jokes and such.
The most unique thing is that this Pokemon movie really shows how much the Pokemon can care for their trainer. ** ENDING HINT ** You can mostly see it near the end of the movie.
Pokemon: The First Movie is probably the first movie that succeeded on following up their series successfull. It may not be a great movie, but it sure was fun to look at.
Soon, when they came out with the movie, I was actually impatient to see it! It of course was some time ago when I was still somewhat little, but I would still be dying to see it if they made it nowadays and would be just as pumped up about it. When I did see it, I thought the film was true to the show and did an excellent job at conquering what it set out to do, and that was entertain fans and be fun all around!
It wasn't like any other kind of animated movie in it's genre, as many think it is just a run-of-the-mill letdown. I thought it had a really interesting theme and I was amazed at how they were able to pull off such an exciting and fun kids movie without destroying the originality of the TV show and without the use of lame jokes like toilet humor, though I mean, there were still some jokes and lines that could be considered extremely lame, unless you just accept it for what it's worth, which, I did, and without the use of inane "curse" words that parents would find insulting nowadays, if you understand what I mean.
Yes, there is fighting, which cancels out "the heart and soul" the show and movies try to set out, but still, in the end, it tells kids that fighting isn't the answer and kids eventually grow up knowing that Pokémon aren't real, so they shouldn't have to copy their actions. I say these things only because most critics condemn this film for those reasons. Oh well, Pokémon: The First Movie, I must say really isn't even the best of the Pokémon movies, it's actually my second favorite, but it was still very excellent and worth the time to watch with great battle sequences, superb characters and an effective plot and message. This film is great, people need to lighten up and enjoy it for what it was...
If you've rated this movie a one just because you think it's dumb or a bad influence on kids, I've got three words for you.
"Get over yourself"
I was surprised to find the place was packed with a lot of boys who looked like they were at least in their late teens or early 20s. But of course there were plenty younger kids and parents there as well. My Mom and brother (who's 12 btw) had seen the Japanese sub-titled version of the film and had warned me that it was going to be a rather dark plot, and that it was sad... But I didn't expect what actually happened at all.
The first half an hour or so is taken up but a short, and very cute film called "Pikachu's Summer Vacation" which I became absorbed in as the 3 year old a few rows back! Of course it helped that my favourite Pokemon, Jigglypuff, had a part in it!
Moving on, the feature film, "Mewtwo Strikes Back" started out in a very dramatic, Batman-ish way, and I don't think that the younger kids in the audience were ready for that. The next part of the film, which introduces us to Ash, Misty, Brock, and their Pokemon, happens in a much lighter tone - like the show usually is, but that doesn't last for long. Soon afterwards our heroes, along with some other trainers are invited to a battle with someone described as the world's toughest trainer.
Now for those of you who've never seen Pokemon or know little about it, one of the important things to remember is that these are NOT war like battles and the object is not to kill anyone's Pokemon. What Pokemon battles are, is more like a karate match where they fight for sport until one of them is K.O'd (or fainted as they say in the video game). They never fight for the sake of fighting; they fight because it helps the Pokemon become stronger.
One of the things that I really loved about the trainers that were invited to this ultimate battle is that they really did love their pokemon and they cared for them, as one should with any living being. A lot of people tend to ignore this aspect of Pokemon and consider it to be a marketing scheme because of the tag line "Gotta Catch 'em All" but in truth it is not that way at all. On the show and in the game (although not in the movie) Ash's rival trainer Gary is obsessed with the act of catching as many pokemon as possible...And that's a trait to be looked down upon. Although Ash doesn't have as many Pokemon as Gary, he cares for the ones he does have and treats them as his best friends, and that's why he's the hero and Gary is not.
The new Pokemon in the film, Mewtwo, does not understand that many of the trainers love their Pokemon, because he was created by scientists for their own benefit and he has a strong hatred for humans because of this.
Once the characters had entered the Castle where this battle was to take place, the film became a lot darker and action packed. In turn many of the little kids who were there started screaming - but that's understandable, I mean I was freaked out by some of the things that happened! Also the intensity becomes a lot greater.
Never fear though, Ash being the brave person he is comes through and saves the day - with the help of the pokemon, and teaches Mewtwo that it isn't the life that you're given that makes you who you are, but rather it's what you choose to do with it.
I am a person who tries very hard never to cry in public places (which include movie theaters) no matter how sad I am. But with the Pokemon movie, I just couldn't hold back and spent the last half-hour of it crying my eyes out! Honestly, it touched me on a level that few movies have been able to.
The only complaint I have about it is that the soundtrack was made in extremely poor taste. I've been into Pokemon for about 2 years now, and I must say that with the exception of 3 songs on that album, the rest had NOTHING to do with the meaning of Pokemon or the film! It wasn't the fact that the type of music and the artists that were on the album are not really my style... But it was rather that the songs were *very* sexual and I think it's INSANE to put songs about "giving it to you" among other things, on an album that's aimed for children! Especially when there's nothing even remotely related to that subject involved in anything Pokemon!
See, even a 12 year old can appreciate quality film! (I just gained another year there......) In any case, it was the first anime I'd seen in Japanese, and I was impressed with the whole thing; the music was awesome, the dialogue was meaningful, the voices were cute, and the names were....strange and hard to remember. But thats OK. Names are not important.
I liked the way Mewtwo kept saying "Where am I? Who am I?". He said it so often, it was the first phrase I learned in Japanese. I concluded that both would come in handy should I ever find myself lost in Japan.
Later, as my Anime horizons expanded, and a anime-obsessive friend of mine taught me some basic phrases, and found I could recognise a lot of what was said. The vocabulary is fairly simple; its a good movie to practise your Japanese on.
And finally, the most impressive thing I found. Upon reading Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, I kept noticing similarities. Of course many, many things are different, but the basic themes are there: who asked to create me? I hate everything that made me."This is not an attack, nor a declaration of war, but revenge on you who made me" Except this one has a happy ending.
If You have seen the movie in English....well, what can I say, its better in Japanese. :P
As a movie for children, I thought the beginning was very violent. They may not have shown actual violent scenes, but then neither did the A-Team. As for the ending, kids who live a sheltered life are in for a surprise. My friend had to do some fancy explaining to his young children about what really happened in the movie. Hey, Pokémon tears are better than Dragon Balls any day.
Also, parents should watch Pokémon with their kids on TV before taking them to the movie. The movie will be a lot more enjoyable if you understand the characters. The movie has little character/plot development because it is all done in the series. Typical for anime movies, this one did not affect the series storyline in anyway.
Finally, if you just love to watch Pokémon in action, then Pikachu's Vacation is made for you. Reminded me of Charlie Brown shows in that you never saw the faces of any humans, just their talking feet. Pokémon is probably so popular with children because the language that Pokémon speak is universal. Adults have a hard time understanding Pokémon language because they rely too much on what is spoken and not how it is spoken. Pokémon speak with emotion, something every child understands. The few bits of dialoge added to the short feature were probably more for the adults in the audience than the children themselves.
Pika pika pi-pika, pi-pikachu!
While it is thought of as a child's film, one cannot help but notice that it has many messages in the movie. It isn't just about good and bad, it was about everything else. How Ash cares so deeply for his Pokemon (especially Pikachu.) How Pokemon shouldn't be fighting to this extent(enter Brother my Brother by Blessid Union of Souls.) How the impossible can be possible. How people and Pokemon can get along and how one person's wrongdoing doesn't mean all should suffer because of it. Many of these concepts brought up in the movie can be brought up in real life. The love an owner gives to his dog is just one example, while getting along with another person is another.
The show may seem straight-forward. But when you think of what kind of messages it sends to its viewers, that is when a good film becomes a great film.
I'm a big fan of Mew. Anytime it popped up on screen I had a *squeeee* attack. MewTwo was also pretty badass-looking, but I'm so confused as to why he had such disproportionately large legs. What did he use them for, since he can just float around.
But just because I am no longer swamped with obsession does not mean I cannot still feel the joy of this innocent little saga looking back on it as an adult. Yes, before you question me, I still enjoy the Pokemon movie. In fact, I enjoy both of them, especially "Pokemon 2000." But this review concerns the first one, released in 1999. For those who do not know, there are a lot of Pokemon, but one in particular, called Mew, is the strongest of them all. One day, some fiddling scientists clone from Mew's DNA a newer, stronger beast called Mewtwo: a psychic creature infuriated by how Pokemon seem to have become slaves to humans. And very slowly, he begins to set up a trap to restore Pokemon to what he feels is their rightful place in the world, at the top. Once again we rendezvous with our heroes, as the narrator calls them, from the TV show. There's Ash Ketchum, Misty, Brock, and of course, the little lightning-surged rodent Pikachu. After a prologue revolving around Mewtwo, we dive in with them.
There is a lot of advertisement in "Pokemon: The First Movie." It is very much a merchandise exploitation to further the interest of kids in the cards, games, and series. But kids endorse these sort of things. I know, because I remember I did when I was eight or so and saw the movie for the first time. I mean, what kid wouldn't like to have an army of monsters at his command and be able to duke them out with other monsters? It's like having Godzilla and Mothra and Rodan at your command.
What I really liked about "Pokemon: The First Movie" then and now is that, like Godzilla, it's innocent and goodhearted fun. It's not meant to be taken too seriously, and nobody does, and it is inoffensive, harmless, joyful, and really nostalgia-stirring. It's also enjoyable because it makes the best out of what it has. The Japanese animation, even the movie's detractors note, is eye candy. It's rich, colorful, and fun to look at. I also enjoy twists in the story, such as how one of Ash's Pokemon, a dragon-like thing called Charizard, refuses to obey its master. There's personality in the Pokemon, in Mewtwo, and especially in Pikachu, who dare I say it, is actually kind of adorable as far as animated, imaginary animals are concerned. There is a lot of personality in this little rodent, especially in the eyes, which are well-animated, and in its voice. There's also a trio of bumbling villains, two rockstar would-be secret agents and their talking cat Meowth, who have some very funny moments as they try to make a good impression for their boss by kidnapping Pikachu. There's also the emphasis on whether or not Pokemon and humans are really master and slave or friend and friend.
If I do have anything negative to say about the movie it is the fact that it really just feels like an extended version of a TV episode rather than a feature film. A movie adaptation needs to push the boundaries and expand rather than just use the same material at greater pacing. That's why I personally prefer "Pokemon 2000" because it does what I mentioned.
That's all I have to say in a bad manner.
I know I will have a lot of insulting comments thrown in my direction, but I see nothing wrong with number one, having liked Pokemon in my youth, and number two, still mildly enjoying Pokemon as an adult, looking back on a time when I was more innocent, more open-minded, and more willing to accept things that were outside of what we were "supposed to like and not like." Some may choose to call me childish for liking "Pokemon: The Movie." I think the proper term would be young-at-heart.
The story is drawing, you genuinely want to know what happens next. It's messages of friendship, acceptance, and love are something everyone of any age could benefit from, and just to top it off the music is awesome (granted a little "boy band" for today, but still awesome)!
I would recommend this movie for any one with kids. The bright colorful world of Pokemon will keep them entertained, and it's a story that even an adult can enjoy.
Which brings me to the point of the viewers. Kids. Not adults. The reason Pokémon is seen as so strange by adults is because they are not its target viewers. For those of you who can't follow the story, even if you have tried, you must understand that this show was not made to make sense to adults. Childhood is required to make sense of this show. I don't think Charles Darwin could follow this show, and it deals with evolution. The only adults that understand it were the ones who had watched it when they were kids. So my point is, you should look at this show with a child's innocent perspective and you may get something out of it other than noise. (albiet, it may not be a philosophical lesson, but it will be something.)
There is ONE good thing about the English adaptation. The original orchestral music that was made by Ralph Schtukett is marvelous. I'm not sure, but the theatrical or the DVD version has some low quality pop songs added to mar an otherwise perfect score.
Even with the story changes and the inclusion of stupid songs (in theatrical or DVD version, not sure), this movie deserves a 7 out of 10. The animation is wonderful, on par with the best things in anime genre. And the original score is great.
The movie's plot is very basic if one can get past all the amazing effects and characters. The original number of Pokemon is 151, but this movie introduces #150 and #151 - Mewtwo and Mew. Mewtwo is a clone Pokemon created from the DNA of Mew, and is generally the strongest Pokemon in the world. After being used as a lab rat and a weapon by humans, Mewtwo becomes vengeful on the world, believing humans and Pokemon living together can never work out. And so he plots to destroy the world through a lightning storm and replace all lifeforms with Pokemon clones. However, the cartoon's heroes, Ash Ketchum and his electric mouse buddy Pikachu are there to save the day, along with the strongest Pokemon from the first generation. The film ends with a brief tragedy and then Mewtwo simply erases the memories of all the characters in the film so they forget everything.
I did enjoy the film, but a couple of things did surprise me. The cartoon and the movies are licensed by 4Kids, a dubbing company known for apparently "destroying anime" with their heavy editing to the shows. However, the movie seemed to be left alone apart from the English voice actors. The film had a large amount of physical violence, including about a minute and a half montage of poor Pikachu being repeatedly slapped by his crying clone. From the 4Kids shows I have seen, violence has been kept to a minimum, but I suppose this movie was left alone due to it being part of the plot. Some Pokemon names were wrong, although the editors said this was done deliberately. Overall, this film was generally good but a bit too violent for Pokemon's standards.