Arceus, creator of the world, comes to pass judgement on humanity for the theft of the Jewel of Life, but Ash Ketchum and his friends are sent back in time to discover and possible reverse the events that led to Arceus' vendetta.
Our heroes must protect the Prince of the Sea, Manaphy, from the evil pirate Phantom, and return the young Pokémon to the Sea Temple with the help of the the People of the Water and Jackie the Pokémon Ranger.
An idyllic town is thrown into chaos when two powerful Pokémon, Dialga and Palkia, cross paths and battle, distorting the dimensions of time and space. The only hope comes from Darkrai, a shadowy Pokémon shunned by the townsfolk.
When Ash, Pikachu, and their friends visit a desert city by the sea, they meet the Mythical Pokémon Hoopa, who has the ability to summon things-including people and Pokémon-through its ... See full summary »
This will probably be unsurprising to anyone who has watched the show, but WHAT has happened to Ash's character design? "Diamond and Pearl" already mangled his appearance by giving him slightly saggy trousers and a silly vest, but when did he start using eyeshadow? Anyone still debating Ash's age can safely assume that here, he is in his rebellious phase.
You may call this rambling, and you would be right. It is hard to concentrate while watching a film as stupefyingly boring as "Pokémon The Movie: Black - Victini and Reshiram." Talking about being distracted: Who are these bores accompanying Ash? Iris in Cilan? Yes, Ash switched girls in each series and Brock became increasingly caricaturistic, but whose idea was it to have such utterly uninteresting characters accompany Ash for multiple seasons?
Right-o, let's focus and try to summarise to story. The beats are the same as usual: A sales pitch, a flashback, credits, Ash and Co. visiting some curious town, a tournament (that is quickly cut once the editors realised there were no credits to play over it,) a legendary appearing, walking around, some red herrings, exposition, inciting incident, introduction of antagonist... third act climax? "Pokémon the Movie: Black - Victini and Reshiram" reminds me of "Destiny Deoxys" in that the plot begins once the film starts wrapping up. That means the audience is supposed to sit through one whopping hour of nothing until something happens.
Not that matters improve when it finally does. The antagonist, Damon, is only a 'bad guy' because of a failure to communicatie. He would probably not want to use his MacGuffin to irrigate a piece of land, had he known this means DESTROYING THE ENTIRE WORLD. Indeed, he doesn't. Once Ash informs him of the consequences, he stops. And that's it. A simplified version of the plot could be:
> "Oh, I should really try pulling that lever!"
< "No, you shouldn't."
> "All right, I won't."
My dislike of these films is doubled by the fact that this is no longer the Pokémon I used to know. I stopped watching somewhere during "Diamond and Pearl," and fortunately so, because it seems matters have only gotten worse since then; at least in case of the films. This opinion appears to be shared by many, as the "Black & White!" films are among the lowest-rated on IMDb, and the show's character development is generally viewed with disdain on forums. It seems the Pokémon have gotten sillier over the years too. Reshiram and Zekrom, for example, have built-in jet engines? And what am I supposed to make of Shaggy, the saggy trousers Pokémon?
Note that unfamiliarity only partly accounts for my irritation. I liked only 3 of the 10 films and 2 specials I had seen when I was young, and enjoyed parts of "Arceus and the Jewel of Life," which was entirely new to me. But over the years, something has changed in the manner in which these films are bad: It used to be mere incompetence; now it has become cynical as well.
Releasing these two films simultaneously was probably the peak of the corporate contempt towards audiences. Besides the replacement of some names and places, the two plots are identical, although a strange amount of effort has been made to make the films look different. For example: Ash and Co.'s arrival at Eindoak Town being drawn from a different angle; a whole new experience!
What we are left with is two films that would be almost avant-gardist in their minimalism, had they not been such obvious cash-grabs. "Pokémon the Movie: Black - Victini and Reshiram" and "Pokémon the Movie: White - Victini and Zekrom" are easily the worst films in the series up to this point (God help me once I have to watch "Hoopa.") Barely anything happens, and what eventually does happen is just so dull and trivial. And unlike some other horrors -- notably "Giratina and the Sky Warrior" and "Zoroark: Master of Illusions" -- there aren't even any charming interludes or characters to distract from it (Brock! Come back, I miss you!)
To end with an editing note: If you read part 14A of this retrospective, you will find it to be mostly the same review with a view words and names changed. I thought this to be appropriate considering these films' cynical gimmick. And besides, I wouldn't want to put in more work than the writers did.
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