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Dee Bradley Baker,
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Far superior to the original -- but still not good
After suffering through the cinematic travesty that is Pokemon: The First Movie, I made sure to avoid the following four sequels, as did most viewers who were as repelled by the first installment as I was. Some five years later, I noticed Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys make its U.S. debut on the WB network, and I was curious as to whether or not this particular installment would be any better than its original predecessor. It was--not that that's saying much.
In the film's opening, we are introduced to a young boy named Tory. His father, a professor, gathers data on several ice pokemon in an arctic continent with the aid of his assistant. Young Tory enjoys playing with the pokemon until the group is interrupted by a pair of monstrous aerial pokemon: Rayquaza and Deoxys, who are apparently in a battle to the death just above them. Chaos ensues; all of the professor's equipment is destroyed, and Tory cowers in fear as a stampede of ice pokemon flee directly in his path, nearly trampling the boy. This brief scene sets the mood for the action that is to follow--in a year that takes place four years after the incident. We see real drama and character development (particularly in Tory, who works to overcome his fear of Pokemon), both of which were entirely absent in the first Pokemon movie.
We see significant improvements, too, in the visual quality of the film. Unlike Pokemon: The First Movie, Destiny Deoxys contains several visually stunning scenes--similar to scenes you'll find in other popular anime features such as Princess Mononoke. CGI, for the most part, is incorporated seamlessly with traditional animation.
Despite these strides, there are several moments throughout the film that simply do not work, including the film's many attempts at humor. Amorous Brock, for example, becomes infatuated with the first girl he sees as he enters a new town--a tired routine that has been done time and time again in the TV series (as well as the first movie). In the middle of the movie, there is an excruciating musical montage in which the main characters' pokemon begin laughing and dancing goofily for no apparent reason. Even the film's climax feels drawn out; after a while, I just wanted it to end.
Pokemon fans will probably enjoy this. Non-fans may find it watchable.
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