One hundred years ago, Dahara City was beset by a terrible calamity brought on by a great power. The city was saved when a mysterious man sealed that power in the Prison Bottle, and became peaceful.
In the present, Ash and his friends arrive in Dahara City, where they meet the mischievous Pokémon Hoopa as well as its human companion Mary. However, when Mary's elder brother Barza discovers the Prison Bottle in the desert and multiple Legendary Pokémon appear in the city, the battle of a century ago restarts, triggering a cataclysm that forces the appearance of even more Legendary Pokémon, drawing Arceus into the fray.
Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages is the whooping 18th movie in the Pokemon series. Sometimes it seems as if these'll keep coming out forever. And if they do, I guess I'll be forced to ascend and walk the waking world eternally; just to review these little fuc*ers. When you crank out sequels yearly, care and originality become a problem. Pokemon settled into a routine. Once every few years the team will push out something a bit better or if we're lucky, genuinely enjoyable.
Sure, we didn't have a legit, consistently good movie since The Rise of Darkrai, some eight movies ago
and we didn't have an unironically great movie since Pokemon Heroes some 13 years ago. However, this doesn't mean some movies, such as Zoroark: Master of Illusions weren't enjoyable. What's that? The Zoroark movie came out 5 installments ago? Huh, well, I guess the very last one about Diancine wasn't that bad. The more I look back at the past movies, it seems as if quality really is slipping down with smaller and smaller spikes in quality. I'm sure I wanted to make some point here, but nevermind. Is Hoopa's 2015th installment good?
I'm happy to say that it's not offensive. I'm also disappointed to call it a less exciting derivative of the Diancine movie. Fitting the same mold, we've got Ash meeting a cosmically irrelevant legendary pokemon. Then some sweet shenanigans ensue and before writers are forced to make the movie into a character study, all hell breaks loose. By no means am I'm petitioning for Pokemon to shift gears into deeply personal Kino, but you can't keep doing the same sh*t and get away with it. Except Pokemon are getting away with it for the eleventh time at least.
I keep getting side tracked. Let me try again. Music is absolutely forgettable and visuals are merely fine. Team Rocket are used especially badly to the point it becomes infuriating. Unfortunately, after being beat with them for the last twenty years in the show, like a battered housewife returning for more, I can't muster the energy to protest.
Movie can be divided into two parts, the starting shenanigans and the "epic" plot. Former being standard pokemon movie fare to the point I don't even need to describe it and in fact, I won't. Just know that it's serviceable. Latter being the tipping piece that drags this movie down. So, what does weight down this movie from unremarkable to a bit dull? The exact thing that hangs on every bit of advertising - the insane numbers of already seen legendaries. While it is an attempt at nostalgia, none of them actually recognize Ash since these movies avoid continuity like Ash growing up in the show. For this reason, character wise, the whole thing is wasted and while it's nice for Ash x Latias shippers (read: reason why people don't like anime fans) to see him flying with the Eon duo, it all amounts to nothing more than cheap effects. Indeed, the number of legendaries they had to animate flying spread their budget thin. Everyone's just floating in the same way no matter their anatomy. Besides a two second money shot where a building gets sliced like bread, the drawn out battle looks unimpressive and is generally boring. This, coupled with a faux ending is dull and firmly puts this outing into the "at least it's not obnoxious" camp.
I could ramp this up to the level insane nitpicking and rewrite the whole script. But, I won't. However, I will point this pet peeve of mine - the inconsistent way movie handled the population of the city. As they didn't want to bother until the very finale, during the battle the city was generally empty with a few jarring reaction shots of people turning towards the action well into the fight. I believe the social aspect and especially the interplay between people and legendaries was done shamefully, just as lazy as in the Pony movie two years ago. What's worse, with no reactions and interactions between humans and legendaries and with no lore to pain the wider picture, movie creates a disconnect between what's happening and what the stakes are supposed to be. While the climax after the faux-ending rectifies that a bit, it's not enough. I'm not bothered enough to continue this analysis.
To wrap up. This generally inoffensive, but formulaic film is dragged down by the virtue of being very similar to the superior outing that was the very movie preceding it: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction. I would advise the viewer to watch that movie instead of this one. Or if one's looking for a subpar, but somewhat worthwhile Pokemon film, then check Destiny Deoxis instead.