When I first got a ticket to see the very first Pokémon movie, it felt like an event. Even if the movie wasn't particularly impressive, the higher budget, production values, and the amazing soundtrack helped it be a bigger deal than it really was. Since then, the movies and their plots have become more of a formality. Diancie and The Cocoon of Destruction is kind of more of the same, as far as the familar structure these films; Ash and Co. meet a talking, magical pokemon and help stop something from awakening, while poachers, thieves, or some evil human entity looks to capture it
for their own nefarious deeds. But I liked this one a little more than others.
STORY: Nothing super stellar, however this works to the caper-themed nature of Cocoon of Destruction, at least the first two acts. The slightly more low key pacing is rather enjoyable, but the third act feels a tad rushed. Might have just been me, but this movie felt a little shorter than previous ones. It starts off stranger. A lot of playful hijinks with the ever so adorable Princess Diancie before urgency just literally hits you in the face. The opening narrative is summed up fast, as if the voiceover guy was just like, "Every generation....yada, yada, evolution, something-or-another, mysterious world of Pokémon!!"
To be fair, what else is there left to say? There are various thieves and treasure seekers looking to take advantage of Diancie's power and they appear periodically throughout and it becomes a game of Hot Potato with a living creature!! It's cute and campy, the sequences are very well directed, but not really engaging, to the point that I completely forgot a larger threat was looming! Entertaining, yes, but lacking focus. SCORE: 6
ART & ANIMATION: The visuals for these movies never disappoint and Cocoon is no slouch in the CGI department. This production team must have been paid in purple jewels, its pretty amazing to see how many dazzling effects can be thrown into one scene. It's a blessing and a curse, seeing as this movie would rather impress you with fireworks than to have it accentuate the story, like Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, at least, not up until the finale.
The characters move smooth and fluidly and all look great. I question the design choices for the three parties looking to capture Diancie, however. They look like design choices lifted from a scrapped One Piece artbook. There's this woman who I honestly thought was Jessie in a whacky disguise when I first saw her. This ninja-ish guy in powder blue attire (how very ninja-like. Oh well, this IS anime...) who looks vaguely like Galford from Samurai Shodown. And some dude and his teenage daughter in a giant cloaking airship that looked like Hunter J's from Diamond & Pearl. Seemingly no rhyme or reason for these seemingly random character designs, but I titled my head curiously to see where this was going. SCORE: 8
SOUND: All the English voice actors are pretty good. I've gotten used to Sarah Natochenny quite some time ago and I actually like her performance as Ash. She doesn't try to do a bad impression of her the same way Bill Rogers tried to copy Eric Stuart. Her cadence is completely different when delivering key Ash-isms, to coin a phrase, like "Go, Froakie!!" or "Alright! The [fill in gym here] badge is mine!" Jimmy Zoppi does a great Meowth, and his James voice was almost a dead ringer for Ted Lewis, but has gotten worse. Now James sounds really congested and nasally, like somebody doing a really bad imitation of the original. Outside of that, Caitlin Glass is adorable as Diancie and she might be my second favorite pokemon with a voice. Jay Goede as Mewtwo is #1 (Funny, I always thought Maurice LaMarche did his voice, it was THAT cool)
CHARACTERS: I really like Ash's travelling group for XY, especially over the dull Best Wishes offerings, comprised of the bland, charisma-lacking Cilan, and the infinitely annoying, beastly hellspawn that is Iris ("You're such a little kid!" will be drilled into my head for all eternity). Clemont, Bonnie, and Serena are fun adorable for this movie, and Diancie is so painfully cute. Seemingly absent from this movie was another adult character or companion to help them. This was surprising, being that the three groups of treasure hunters were underdeveloped as two-dimensional people. They came off as merely the source of greed and doing it nowhere as good as Team Rocket in their prime. Disappointing, given how diverse they appear to be. Team Rocket barely qualifies as bit players, I often forgot they were around. Our heroes were good at yucking it up, Diancie and here subordinates are charming, but the antagonists are by far Cocoon's greatest weakness. Lamer than Collector Guy from Pokémon 2000, but at least he had backstory! SCORE: 5
IN CLOSING: While lacking some of the drama and intensity of other Pokémon movies before it, that doesn't mean Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction is COMPLETELY useless. It felt more like a vacation with a half-baked finale. Lots of things are happening, but many of them don't involve pokemon battles. The villains are really wastes of time and add very little, serving as nothing more than a red herring for no good reason. It's kind of shorter run time keeps scenes from dragging too long. All in all, I found it slightly above average, most of the entertainment stemming from the well-balanced XY main crew. FINAL SCORE: Barely a 7/10