Pokémon Movie Time!
I love movies. Who doesn’t? I also love Pokémon. So, it should follow that I love Pokémon movies. Right? Well, some of them I do. Others, not so much. When I was a child my mother took my friends and I to see the first two Pokémon movies. To date there are 17ish movies that have been released. I say 17ish because one of the movies are actually two versions of the same movie, but they can easily be classified as two separate movies. A new movie that is to be released that is still being worked on. Outside of Japan, most of the films that have been released straight to dvds or vhs back when dvd players weren’t the norm. I even have the first movie on vhs! Are all these movies good? I hate to just say that all are good when a few aren’t. Like the anime series, these movies are divided into groups. Those groups are: “The Original” (spanning the “Indigo League” through “Master Quest” in the States”), “Advanced Generation” (America’s “Advanced” through “Battle Frontier”), “Diamond and Pearl” (in the States this goes with the “Diamond and Pearl” season and spans through the end of “DP: Sinnoh Leauge Victors” season), “Best Wishes” (the seasons set in the Unova region) and the most recent series is “X & Y” (the season that are set in Kailos). So, let’s get on with the show! I will be using the English titles for this article to keep things easy for most of my readers, but I will be dividing them by the Japanese divisions because that is the easiest way to divided it since some could easily take place between English seasons. Also, I will not be going over the “X & Y” series movies. The first one I have yet to see and the second one was just announced not too long ago, but it does feature Hoopa in it. Spoilers ahead! I will keep them to a minimum, but some of it can’t be helped. Also, most of the older ones have been out for several years and if you haven’t seen them by now that’s your fault.
The first movie to be released was on 18 July 1998 in Japan and on 12 November 1999 Stateside. This was Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back and is one of the few movies that you can actually fit into a certain point in the anime series as part of it come from the episode “The Battle of the Badge”. The Legendary Pokémon featured in this film are Mew and Mewtwo. The film goes into Mewtwo’s origin story and does a wonderful job at it. Of course there are some quirky moments, but overall it is a fun and interesting movie. Like a lot of the Pokémon movies, Mewtwo Strikes Back was paired with a short called Pikachu’s Vacation was shown with the movie. This short featured two new Pokémon; Snubbull and Marill. Fun fact about this movie? It was meant to be the series finale. However, since Pokémon was so popular, they decided to continue.
Pokémon the Movie 2000: The Power of One was released 21 July 2000 in the United States. In Japan it was released 17 July 1999 and as putting 2000 in the name doesn’t make since. There it was called Pocket Monsters the Movie: The Phantom Pokémon, Lugia’s Explosive Birth. It was an interesting film set during the time in the Orange Islands which is why Brock isn’t in it. The short shown with this movie was called Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure. “I honestly don’t remember much about this short apart from the dancing Bellosom. I did enjoy the movie as a whole though. I also liked that the other Legendary Bird Pokémon got some love in the film as they really had not been seen in the anime. With a lot of interesting ceremony involved with the plot it made me a bit confused as a child since ceremonies aren’t a major part of the culture in the States. In Japan they have more traditional ceremonies as part of their culture which gives the movie a bit more context for the audience that it was intended for. This was also the only time a Pokémon card has been referenced in any form of the Pokémon franchise outside of the Trading Card Game and the TCG video game.
Movie number three was an odd movie. Why? There is this lovely and useless Pokémon that are featured in it. While the name of the movie mentions the useless Pokémon, the film being called Pokemon 3 the Movie: Spell of the Unown, the Legendary Pokémon is Entei. Entei was so hard to catch for me that I had no problem seeing it as the villain. However, those stupid Unown just bothered me. I spent all that time catching every single variation of that thing only for the pleasure of a completing the Unown Pokédex. The short was Pikachu and Pichu was cute and it also makes the older audience realize that Ash will probably forever be 10. Oh well. It was adorable nonetheless. Entei though, ugh… and it talks. Mewtwo is one thing as it is a psychic type. Entei is a fire type. I wasn’t overly fond of this movie.
Up next is Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi: Voice of the Forest. I loved this movie! It reminded me of Princess Mononoke with the whole forest “deity” going bonkers when something bad happens to it. There is also this wonderful character called Sam. Surprise! It’s a young Professor Oak! He time traveled with Celebi to about 40 years into the future. Celebi was the first Legendary Pokémon shown in the films to not be able to communicate with human speech. It is also one of my favourite Legendary Pokémon. The plot is interesting and as a dark edge to it. At the end Ash is shown to be sad that he will probably never see his new friend Sam again and is telling Professor Oak about it. Professor Oak doesn’t flat out tell Ash that it was his younger self that Ash ended up befriending, but he does say that Sam will always be Ash’s friend. You actually don’t find out that Sam is Professor Oak until you see his sketch book with the faded out drawing of Celebi and Ash’ Pkachu being picked up by Tracey in Professor Oak’s lab. I had my suspicion the whole time, but then that ending. The first time I saw this movie made me want to do conflicting things. I first wanted to jump with joy because of how cute it was, but at the same time I wanted to cry with joy because of the ending. The short shown with this film was Pikachu’s PikaBoo…I don’t remember it at all. Seriously, I have no idea what it was about. The main movie though received some of the worst review of a Pokémon movie at the time that it was released. I still love it though.
Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias was the final film of “The Original” series. It was an okay movie. This was the shortest of the Pokémon movies and you can tell that they were sort of haphazardly stretching it at times to make it longer that it should have been. You also have Latias being able to change form into a girl. It was a bit odd. I mean Oakley, one of the villains of the film, flat out resurrects dead and evil Pokémon that are then killed for a second time. That’s a bit much for Pokémon movies. I mean, the first one was dark at times, but this one takes the cake. Ash also gets kissed by what could be Bianca or it could have been Latias in Bianca’s form. Also, Latios dies in the film. Umm…well…that’s a lot of flat out killing of Pokémon for one movie despite there never actually being any “battles” in this film. Not surprisingly, this film also received negative reviews. I completely agree with that on this one because it was boring and I kept losing interest during it and when my friends and I watched it recently, I did all the cooking while they watched it. Boring and Camp Pikachu, the short that was with it, wasn’t much better. I do remember that it had something to do them trying to get back to the city. That’s about it. Overall, not a very good movie.
The first movie to correspond with the “Advanced Generation” series was Pokémon- Jirachi: wish Maker. This was a cute movie despite May and Max annoying the heck out of me in the regular series. The movie almost reminded me of something out of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights. Jirachi reminds me of a djinn in that it can grant wishes and it is sealed in something; Jirachi being sealed in a stone. While Team Magma are the main villainous force of this movie, they aren’t really seen unless you count Butler. Butler is actually a rejected Team Magma agent and though he is the main antagonist, he is more of a foil. When all is said and done he is let off the hook because Jirachi said that he had some good in him because he changes his mind about being evil because of his love for Diane. I guess this movie says that love conquers all? I don’t know though. I have some issues with this movie in that way. It seems like it is borderline endorsing the “do whatever you whatever you want because as long as you love someone it’s all good” mentality. Gotta Dance! was the short that was paired with this film and I loved it. It featured Team Rocket and their capture of some Whismur that they figured would be entertaining for Giovanni. Well, as it turns out the baton that they were using to get the Whismur to perform actually had the power to make any Pokémon that was around it dance whether they wanted to or not. Sometime its magic was turned on sporadically resulting in some humourous events.
Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys was a bit of a confusing movie. It featured Deoxys in all but it’s Speed Forme and Rayquaza. There are actually 2 Deoxys shown in the movie; one with a purplish crystal in its chest and one with a teal crystal on its chest. Larousse City, where the movie is set, is so high tech it is almost frightening. With that much technology you would think they would be able to take care of the three Pokémon that were wreaking havoc. You actually find out that the Deoxys with the purple crystal is actually looking for its friend, the Deoxys with the teal crystal, and Rayquaza thinks they are attacking people which leads it to attack the two Deoxys. That causes the city’s security system to go berserk and attack all three of those Pokémon. When the security system starts attacking Rayquaza the Deoxys help it and the Rayquaza decided that they aren’t the bad guys after all. In the end, it’s Ash that saves the day by basically crashing the main security bot. Then the three Pokémon from space fly back to whence they came…So the villain of the whole movie is the security system? Is it Rayquaza? Is it one of the Deoxys or both the Deoxys? Who is the villain of this film? I was so confused for most of the movie. This film also didn’t have any short with it so I was left scratching my head with no real comic relief for the entire movie.
Not gonna lie, I hadn’t seen Pokémon- Lucario and the Mystery of Mew until about a couple weeks ago. I also fell asleep during this movie. As such, I don’t really remember parts of it. However, I wasn’t that impressed with what I did watch. Once again, there wasn’t a short shown with this film. I wish there had been. Maybe I would have been able to stay awake for it since it was quite possibly one of the most boring films that I had seen. There was frilly costumes and that was really all I remember.
The “Advanced Generation” series finally came to an end with Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea. This film thankfully had a short shown with it in the form of Pikachu’s Island Adventure. I bet you can guess what happens during that short. While this movie is cute, I still find May annoying. Manaphy is adorable, but it is also pretty useless. Also, it is the only Legendary that you can breed. The resulting Pokémon isn’t another Manaphy though. It’s a Phione. The single most useless Legendary Pokémon because it can’t evolve into Manaphy despite it being it’s baby. This is why the movie confused me a little because when the egg May has hatched into another Manaphy. Also, what the heck are pirates doing in a Pokémon movie? Like actual pirates. The whole concept of Pokémon Rangers is kinda stupid to me and I didn’t like the Pokémon Ranger games anyway. There are just so many things wrong with this movie. In fact, this video sums up what’s wrong with this movie better than I can. It was defiantly not a good movie. May didn’t need her own movie. Sorry. I just find her annoying and don’t like her.
One of my favourite Legendary Pokémon is Darkrai. I really love Darkrai. Pokémon: the Raise of Darkrai is the first of the “Diamond & Pearl” Series and none of these films have shorts that come before them. I found it interesting that despite being called the “Pitch-Black Pokémon” he is more of an anti-hero. He causes a bit of havoc, but he means well. It was Dialga and Palkia that were the ones that caused all the problems. They also killed Darkrai. Palkia eventually brings Darkrai back to life in a different dimension. I was so sad when that happened. Actually, it was more sad to me for Darkrai to die than when Ash “died” in the first movie. As a physics nerd, I find the whole Darkrai, Palkia, and Dialga trio to be fascinating. It was probably my favourite of this “Diamond & Pearl” movie. I loved it. I won’t spoil too much of it since I want you all to go watch it!
Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior was the second and once again, Dialga is in it. Giratina, Shaymin, and Regigigas also are featured in the movie. Zero, the main antagonist of the film tries to destroy the “Reverse World” by taking control of Giratina. It took me a few minutes to realize that what they were talking about is what is called the “Distortion World” in the games. It was a bit confusing for a bit. That being said, what confused me the most is that Dialga and Giratina are in the movie. Where did Palkia go? Giratina is the opposition to Dialga and Palkia. I mean, Darkrai wasn’t involved in the story of Palkia and Dialga except in spin-off games and both of them were in the last movie. Oh well, Cresselia wasn’t in the last film either and it’s Darkrais’ counterpart. This movie also the final cameo that Brendan makes. I really wish they would have given him a bigger part. I preferred him to May anyway. This is a good movie though despite there being some things that don’t really flow right with the anime storyline. It was fun and there are airships in it that make me giggle because one of my friends says that if I want to be incredibly old fashioned that he can fly me around in an airship. Shaymin was cute and I really wanted one, but I never had the opportunity to get one. It got to show off it’s Sky Form in the film and it just went around being cute pretty much the whole time. You should watch this movie because it’s super cute for, if nothing else, Shaymin.
Arceus and the Jewel of Life was the twelfth overall Pokémon movie released. Okay, while I do think that the whole story of the “Creation Trio” in the Pokémon mythos, this is the third movie in a row to feature them and it has all three of them in it and Arceus on top of it. Arceus is one of those Pokémon that is just awesome because it is the only multi-type Pokémon to date. The result of them using these Pokémon in another movie was that it kind of dragged at times. To me Arceus of the movie just isn’t as great as the Arceus of the games. It just seems to be the peace keeping parent of the three that comes in to tell them to stop being jerks to everyone or else. This was my least favourite of the “Diamond & Pearl” series movies, but it is not nearly as bad as the Pokémon Ranger movie.
While there are aren’t any Legendary Pokémon that are from the “Diamond & Pearl” series in Pokémon- Zoroark: Master of Illusions, there are others that do sort of appear because of Zoroark’s shapeshifting abilities and some that are from previous series. This is almost my favourite of the Pokémon movies, but there is one major reason that it isn’t. This movie is dark. I’m not joking about this. Most kids probably wouldn’t catch it and when I first saw it I didn’t either. However, the actual villain of the film, Kodai, is flat out evil in all the wrong ways that should be allowed in a movie aimed at children. I do love this movie though. I just can’t get over how dark it is. It features a lot of different Pokémon and as such, it has a huge cast that is borderline overwhelming when trying to keep track of everyone at times. This is one Pokémon movie that should have just been marketed to an older audience. This was the final movie of the “Diamond & Pearl” series and it was a great way to send it off.
Despite the “Best Wishes!” series being my favourite of the anime, the movies were a bit lackluster in my opinion and it is the wonderful set of movies that feature the single movie that is actually two. That is why I said there are 17ish movies earlier. The movie is the first one/two. The first version of the movie is Pokémon the Movie Black: Victini and Reshiram and the second version is Pokémon the Movie White: Victini and Zekrom. It is clever, but there only difference in the two is that the Reshiram and what it stands for is flipped for Zekrom and what it stands for in the second version. Other than that, these two are the same movie. There are a few minor other differences, but nothing too different. Damon is a jerk in this film and he reminds me of the hardcore PETA supporters that throw paint on people for wearing fur and leather. Victini is super cute though. The way these two films are set up is really clever though and the way that it was released at the cinemas was as well. Some cinemas had the Black version of the film while others had the White version of the film. Clever on their part. Annoying for those trying to see it though. It didn’t even make it anyplace around where I live. This was the first Pokémon movie dvd that I purchased myself and I still love it despite its flaws.
Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice was the first movie since the stupid Pokémon Ranger movie. Meloetta’s Moonlight Serenade was a cute little short and all the starter Pokémon from the previous generations of the games. The movie itself was wasn’t that fantastic. The antagonist, Kyurem, wants nothing to do with people. All it wants to do is get rid of Keldeo, Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion. Iris’s yelling was a bit annoying in the trailer that I kept seeing was annoying and kind of turned me off the movie before I even saw it. It’s wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t the best. I like Keldeo in the games. However, in the movie it was a bit irritating with its attitude. It was one of those movies that I actually kinda wanted the good guy to lose based on how annoying it was. Kyurem is pretty awesome anyway. This was the one of two movies with a short where I actually enjoyed the short more than the movie itself.
The last movie from the “Best Wishes!” series was Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened. I loved the short Eevee & Friends! It is my favourite short that has been made. I have a fondness for Eevee and all of its evolutions. Is it weird that I have an entire team of nothing but Sylveon? I love it. I’m trying for a shiny Sylveon because it’s blue rather than pink. It’s so pretty! The movie itself was a bit odd since I’m not overly fond of mega evolved Mewtwo. Genesect is a bit to tech-based for my liking. It wasn’t a bad movie for what it is supposed to be, but I did my interest kept wavering throughout the whole thing. The large city setting was not to my liking either. Overall, this movie was not that great. This movie was the other movie where I enjoyed the short more than the movie. Sorry, I like my Mewtwo the way it was back in the first movie. I also didn’t mind Mewtwo in the special shown on the telly. This one just bothers me.
So, that’s it! I will going over some other things with Pokémon on a fairly regular basis. I’ve received quite a lot of good feedback on this topic. That’s something to look forward to if you are in to Pokémon! Eventually I will go over the newer movies, but that will be for a later date.