I feel I should start off with a warning about the following review because I have some strong feelings about this film that can come off like a rant. But a warning can really only say so much because even after everything has cooled off from the past year/year-and-a-half, the mere thought of this film and the history behind it still irks me to my core. There is a reason this film is controversial, and even if people do not care about it, even going so far as to say “It's Pokémon/for kids, stop putting so much thought into it”,
it cannot be denied that the film has left an impressionable impact, albeit not a positive one.
As biased as the review may end up sounding, please believe me when I say that I was willing to give the film a chance. I had been excited about it the moment it was announced Mewtwo was to be a main character, and Mewtwo is one of my favorite characters of all time. The character is popular, he has been since the first movie back in 1998/1999, and for good reason, because he's a complex, dark, tragic character. Even in the watered-down 4KIDS dub where he was made into a villain and his motives changed (though the foundation of it remained the same), Mewtwo was still dark for a children's cartoon. Sure, he may have later briefly become a hypocrite with wangst that could possibly catch Shinji's attention and motivate him to step-up his wangst game (possibly), but nevertheless, his philosophical musings and inner torment about his existence has remained a part of his character. Next to the fact that he IS the world's strongest Pokémon, but that's getting too technical.
Thus, it came as a huge shock when it was revealed that Mewtwo here is actually an entirely different character, and is female to boot. Needless to say, she and the history behind her is the biggest black spot on the film, and while it's all based on personal opinion on whether you like her or not, there is no denying that she came out of left field. I will go into more detail when we get there. For now, I stalled long enough.
Story (4): The story follows a small group of five Genesect that were recently revived by Team Plasma as they try to adapt to modern day. The leader is the Red Genesect, who is the first to be confused and angry over what happened to their home, and at his command, his army attacks the city, called New Tork City, where a nature park is home to many Pokémon, and also happens to be the place Ash and friends are visiting. Mewtwo had been nearby when she caught the telepathic cry of “I want to go home” from the Douse Genesect, and she arrived to quell their anger as she sympathizes with them because of their similar origins. Red Genesect is the most angry of the army, unable to trust humans and wishes to destroy all that gets in his way of taking back the park so he and his army could live like they did before. Try as she can, Mewtwo is unable to talk reason into him, and is forced to fight him at the risk of the environment, and the wellbeing of the humans and Pokémon living there.
The movie revolves around the theme of home, or of a place one can call home. It is not hard to feel sorry for the Genesect who were forced into an environment they vaguely remember, but can no longer recognize. Their confusion and anger is justified to an extent, because at the end of the day, they were scared of the changes that had happened seemingly out of nowhere for them. They had to accept that their comfort zone no longer existed, and that they had to come to terms with the now.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the movie decided it needed to probably also be about finding a place to belong and not so much as finding home, or something like that. I say that because while there weren't a bunch of subplots happening all at once, the inner conflicts between the Genesect and Mewtwo kept trying to integrate as one thing in order to link them together. Because while the Genesect were confused and scared about the loss of their home, Mewtwo had found a place where she could fit in with other Pokémon, and yet didn't have a home of her own, technically. So while the Genesect were pushing out the other Pokémon to make their territory, it turned into a concern that they weren't ever going to fit in with the others because they're too different, even though the Red Genesect was more-or-less a mean-spirited bastard who hated everyone and tried to burn the place down. At the same time, Ash had befriended the Douse Genesect and tried to teach her that she'll find a place she will be happy in and to have fun because she can make friends with the other Pokémon if she would try. But as it turns out, it's not JUST one place that's home, it's the ENTIRE world that is home, and they can belong anywhere they want on it because that's where they live.
Okay, there's a chance I might just be bullshitting here, as I'm using references from the summary on Bulbapedia, my own notes from when I had watched the film, and memory—which was a long while ago. Because I'll be honest in that I do not want to watch this movie again, but I decided to write a review on it now because I had needed a cooling off period, and that took a while. The confusing themes are just one of the many reasons why I will never sit down to watch it ever again, as the writing itself has problems. And as a story-driven person, this movie did not satisfy me one bit. The pacing wasn't that great, there were moments where nothing of any importance happened that it nearly bored me to tears, and though the action scenes were fine, the characters' actions (or at least their reactions) felt a bit out of place. Characters also either had nothing to contribute or weren't interesting, had obvious phoned-in scenes to fulfill a role/cameo, didn't have a development that was satisfying if they were being developed, were forgiven too easily, or were not needed in the film at all. In fact, one character is a plot-hole, and she's the main character.
I'll touch on that later.
Art/Animation (8): Despite the bad script, the movie is visually gorgeous, the colors that stand out to me the most are greens and blues. I wouldn't say it's the best-looking Pokémon movie to date, but backgrounds are beautifully detailed—I actually have some of the backgrounds as part of my screensaver, I like looking at them that much. The animation also reflected that quality, as is to be expected of a movie with a budget, and some of the attack animations are appealing and cool. Even Mewtwo's Mega Evolution looks neat, even though it disappoints me because her transformation is obscured by a green light show each and every time. Yes, it's the same way with ALL Mega Evolutions, but at the time, we didn't know what it was, so the transformation being obscured felt cheap.
And yes, the CGI is ubiquitous, even the Genesect (and I think Mewtwo) were CGI at some point.
Sound (6): I can't really comment on the soundtrack because it's been a year since I last saw the film, and I do not want to touch it again just to try and listen to the music. Considering the soundtrack never impressed me at all for me to seek it out, I don't see any point in doing so now. I'm sure it's fine for what it is, but nothing sticks out to me in memory. Now the ending credits song, “We're Coming Home”, is an actually okay song, nothing good, but nothing bad. It's listenable, and it can be deemed an ear-worm depending on how many times you listen to it (which I'm guilty for having listened to it a good amount in order for that to happen).
The voices are typical (even though some of the voices STILL don't work), though I have to bring mention to Miriam Pultro as the female Mewtwo because she did her job. She knew about the controversy behind the character, and still voiced her. I still don't like the character, but I have no problems with the voice as she went for a mature, but stern performance whose mannerisms in terms of communication do differ from the original Mewtwo. Red Genesect actually makes me a little giddy inside because it's Scottie Ray, who was the voice behind Shredder from the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. He did a good job with Red here in terms of expressing his anger and frustration, and for portraying him as a jerk who probably has pyromania. Samia Mounts as Douse Genesect was okay, she at least wasn't irritating, but her performance never stuck with me.
Characters (3): Let us ignore Ash and the gang for this film, because let's face it, they're still the same Ash, Pikachu, Iris, and Cilan we know from the series. There's no development between either of them (except I'm mad that Ash just ever-so briefly expressed his recognition of Mewtwo, yet didn't question that she was not the one he had met before), neither is there with Team Rocket (who had also known of Mewtwo, but never questioned it, either), so let's move on.
Red Genesect is a manipulative jackass, there's no going around it. As much as he had been tried to be reasoned with, even by his own comrades, he was too stubborn and too angry to care. I honestly wish he got his karmic punishment instead of what we got by the end, because it would've fit his character more, and maybe we would've actually had gotten a decent villain who wasn't “misunderstood”. He's honestly my favorite character of the film up until the last few minutes.
Mewtwo here has only managed to prove that she should not exist, as her origins were copy-pasted from the original Mewtwo's. Nevermind the glaring plot-hole that is her aforementioned existence, that is its own separate issue. They “tried” to make her different, though, by having her be experimented on, have a Mega Evolution reminiscent of that of a magical girl (which wasn't explained in the film—a plot-hole within a plot-hole), actually be with other Pokémon, and have a different personality where she proves to be an idiot and a bitch to people for no real reason than just because she is. She is also weak; she has to rely on her Mega Evolution in order to be of equal power to the Genesect, or else she struggles with them. And no, her trying to be reasonable and only fight back as a last resort is not an excuse to make her weaker than the original Mewtwo. Everything else about her that I did not list is about the same as the original Mewtwo. The original Mewtwo could have been in her place, and everything would have been exactly the same, except that the plot would have been slightly different because he would have wiped the floor with those Genesect and gotten them to listen. It would have been a shorter movie, though considering this is called “Genesect and the Legend AWAKENED”, they would have gone into some deep territory in Mewtwo awakening a new power inside of him that he never knew he had, thus helping him in his quest to discovering his purpose in life.
But that would've made for a better movie. Instead, we got Bitchy Magical Girl Mewtwo. And no, she doesn't get better.
Enjoyment (3): I honestly wanted to like the film. I had hoped for a Pokémon film that was deep, and thought-provoking about life as a way to continue with those themes from “Mewtwo Strikes Back” and “Mewtwo Returns”. I had hoped that this would be a film that brought everything full circle, that Mewtwo will have finally found the peace he had sought and fought for, and used that to teach the Genesect. I was even hoping that there would have been a death in this film—because it's been a long time since Pokémon last had a character die for real, and though it would have hurt me inside as a fan-girl, I felt like Mewtwo should have had a heroic sacrifice.
What we got instead was a film with a confused identity, a script riddled with plot holes big enough to drive a truck through complete with a Chekhov's skill that resulted in a cop-out, characters that contributed nothing in the long run, and a main character who should not have existed that it's almost insulting. I could not enjoy the film because all of the above was so directly in my face that I couldn't ignore them. It drove me to the brink of madness when it wasn't boring me to tears or making me angry.
There's a history behind this film that can be summed up as such: Kunihiko Yuyama just felt like having a new Mewtwo. Prior to the film's release, they decided to re-air the first Pokémon movie and its sequel on TV so the new generation of kids would have a better understanding of Mewtwo—a month after the first trailer was released. And because of all of these stupid decisions, the film is currently the second-lowest grossing Pokémon movie.
Regardless, depending on who you are, you may or may not have a problem with the film in the long-run if you are willing to overlook the flaws. Considering one of the main characters is female (albeit poorly executed), that could be appealing to some people. It's only about an hour long, and the film's obviously for fans of Pokémon, so it'll come off as mediocre at best to the average watcher. But the film will either be good or bad to any individual who is a fan of Pokémon and wants to watch 'em all, even though I personally do not recommend this film even if my life depended on it. If you are a Pokémon fan (especially if you are a Mewtwo fan) and you haven't watched this film yet, but still want to even after all you've heard and read, tread carefully with a clear, calm mind.
Genesect and the Legend Awakened is the worst thing that happened to Pokemon since the mass seizure in first season of the show. Usually I make sure my reviews have a certain structure, but I just want to get this one over with.
Why does Mewtwo look deformed in half the film? His muzzle looks like a Lucario ripoff. Making him look worse than in the first film is really insulting. He's a female now. A different personality, a different voice actor, different role. First film was retconned. Fuck you pokemon film company.
Genesect are the most unlikable bunch of antagonists in any Pokemon film. Except maybe
Marauder in Celebi. Cold blooded killers and stupid savages, there's no reason to care for them or what happens to them.
Film is overflowing with jaring CGI and bad textures. Mewtwo likes flying into space like a retard just to compensate for being a watered down character from before. Ash meets one and only special snowflake good female Genesect just because plot. He's useless in the film and this one would've been better with no human characters.
Dialogue is cringe throughout all the film. Ash spreads friendship as a solution for everything so much this feels like a parody of itself. There are no exciting fights, no good music and no good locations. In fact, final location looks like a ripoff from Zoroark's film.
This fails at every level, it's insulting to audience, it's insulting to old fans and first to retcon stuff for what purpose? To make a really shitty film?
I'm not one of those crying over a retcon. Retconning is a tradeoff between new possibilities and faithfullness to the old. It's a risk and it failed spectacularly here. This should be erased from history as a bad experiment and never mentioned again. 0/10
The Pokémon franchise has the track record of playing the amnesiac game whenever a new season starts on TV, but so far the movies have done a good job of remembering their facts. Not this time: Ash has actually met Mewtwo twice by now, in two separate movies, but unless there are two Mewtwos that were created in Team Rocket labs, Ash has no recollection of meeting this one - nor does the sex-changed-Mewtwo recall meeting Ash and learning some valuable lessons of humanity and acceptance.
That aside, this movie is a somewhat touching tale of a group of revived Pokémon, Genesect, who are brought to
the world of today by the power of man and slightly altered before their eventual escape into the wild.
The scene of the action is Pokémon Hills (a beautiful environment in the heart of a city for different Pokémon to live in), in a NYC replica, New Tork City. It sets a fine dilemma of new inhabitants trying to drive away the old, when the Genesect come looking for their home that hasn't exited for millions of years.
The fights, after a while, got a bit redundant. Ash and his friends were rendered to pointless one-line comments and to state the obvious, before Ash once again stood up to reason with the fighters. (Where have we seen this before? Oh, right, the first Pokémon movie, when Ash stepped between Mew and Mewtwo - with legendary results.)
Deep down, the story is touching, but the execution lacks a little, not finding a necessary sharpness in the midst of the plot repeating itself until long enough has passed for the story to progress.
Ive been watching Pokemon movies from movie 1, and I know that Ash and Mewtwo have a lot of connection going on. When I first saw the trailer, I was anticipating a sort of reunion for those two, but this movie did not even do that. Mewtwo and Ash have absolutely no memory of meeting each other, so I was very disappointed in that aspect.
As a old Pokemon fan, this movie was not that great compared to the other movies back then. I would also like to add in that the drawing for Mewtwo is very disappointing compared to his original look back in movie