***This review will hold off on any major spoilers within the film. I will however touch on material that is present in the first (Red, Blue, Yellow, ext games) and second generation content since this film has elements of those within it.***
I was pretty excited to get the chance to see this film on the big screen. It had one showing at my local Cinemark and no matter the audience (mostly kids), I wanted to see it. Big shout out to Fathom Events for continuously offering anime films in the United States.
I would describe myself as a closet Pokemon fan. There are bits and pieces
of the TV shows (Pokemon Advanced, Pokemon Diamond & Pearl, Pokemon Sun and Moon, ext) and films (Pokemon Heroes, Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, ext) that I really enjoy. However, the main bit of content (especially the films) are just not for me. It is painfully easy to tell that the past 9 or so films including this one are full blown for the kids. No longer is there content present that appeal to both a younger and older audience; it is all for the younger generation.
The film opens with what is essentially episode one of the first anime. I wouldn't say it is a shot for shot recreation (it's been awhile since I've seen that episode) but it is pretty close. They dedicate around 10-15 minutes for this content. I quite liked the visual style since it was blending in the older character artwork style with updated backgrounds. It is, for the most part, a pretty nice looking film. There are some wtf animation moments to be found in the film but it wouldn't be a OLM film without that sort of thing. What occurs afterwards is a sort of montage of key moments within the first season's content leading up to the 3rd gym battle. After this event though (minus some other scenes regarding Pokemon Ash adds to his team) we dive completely into new content. THIS IS NOT A RECAP FILM and honestly I applaud their balls for trying to do what they tried to do. To be completely honest, I was really liking the first half of this film. It made me think that the current drought of meh Pokemon films was over. Unfortunately though the second half of the film just doesn't have any stopping power. They wanted to encapsulate the feeling of the first season while incorporating the values and key elements of the past 9 or so films. This combination however, did not work for me.
We are bombarded by two products trying to find space for each other; combining the new story present in the film (which is a run-of-the-mill Pokemon movie formula; there is a legendary Pokemon lets chase it!) with the older first season scenes so that the Pokemon on Ash's team have a backstory. The combination does not mend very well with each other and makes the film feel super empty. If they wanted to do a new story with the backdrop of Kanto, fine that could have been great. Trying to hit up the nostalgia with scenes from the original show though tramples on any sort of pacing.
But lets take a step back and look at our cast. We have of course Ash and Pikachu who for all intents and purposes are the same Ash and Pikachu we have seen for the past 20 or so years. Instead of Brock and Misty though we have two new companions that join up around 30 minutes into the film; Makoto and Souji. I don't have a real issue with these two new characters but they don't really feel all that unique. Both of them also have Pokemon that we are already familiar with, Lucario and Piplup. It felt like a bunch of business men met in a board room and discovered that if they took main series Pokemon (Lucario from his film and Piplup from Dawn's team) and put them into this film it would make the new characters seem...more relatable? I'm grasping at straws here; the new characters are fine they are just not at all standout worthy. I won't get into Ash's other Pokemon because it will give major hints to the TV show scenes that are present in the film. Just know that they are indeed Pokemon that Ash acquired in the show.
While we are at it lets briefly address the elephant in the room. I already mentioned that Piplup and Lucario are in the film (you can see them on the poster for this film so it's not a spoiler). For w/e reason there are a ton of other series Pokemon in Kanto. The legendary Pokemon that Ash is chasing are from the Silver/Gold generation, Ash's rival in this film has Pokemon from the Sun and Moon series; there is no sort of continuity present in this film. I guess...Kanto now has all the Pokemon? I'm not quite sure how I feel about this design choice.
Speaking of Ash's rival, he is another super generic “I'm the very best and have totally bad/evil characteristics so hate me but turn me good by the end of the film!” character to add to the trash bin. To make things worse...his name is Cross...and he has a cross pattern on the front part of his hair...*mega facepalm*. He treats his Pokemon like shit (which is how we are introduced to one of Ash's Pokemon), only says super edgy dialogue (calls weak Pokemon and Trainers trash; Gigguk might like this dude), and of course turns good by the end of the film. Just...I don't have anything more to say about this character.
That little spew helps us arrive at the main issue of the film; what is the point? Most of the Pokemon films have a clear and concise villain. While most of them are comically “bad guys”, they have a purpose and enough charm to make up for how generic their ambitions are. This film...doesn't have that? The rival just happens to trail the main cast all the way through the film like a weird stalker. When get to the end of the film, he has one line that is supposed to make him relevant to the plot but it is so out of left field and super Deus Ex Machina (and not the good kind). It just seems like a huge clusterfuck in order to make sense of all the elements coming together at the last second.
And that's the real shame in this film. It had two routes it could have gone on; reboot and recap the first season (something that is appealing to both older fans and possible new younger ones) or use the setting and time period of the first TV season and tell a new story. They decided to make both into one and it ended up not appealing to either crowd in my opinion. If it had been just one of those two options, I'm sure I would have liked the film. I was so ready to finally see a decent Pokemon film since the last one that I really enjoyed was Pokemon Ranger (which was back in 2006; long time without a decent Pokemon film). I'm sad to report that Pokemon: I Choose You joins the heaps of super meh Pokemon films.
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If we're going to be honest here, Pokémon needs no introduction, especially when it comes to the anime; a boy named Ash Ketchum gets a Pikachu - a yellow mouse - as a partner, leaves his hometown of Pallet Town, and travels the world while catching new Pokémon along the way, all while he remains ten years old. Well, what if we went all the way back to the beginning and started all over? Perhaps I'm the worst person to talk about Pokémon; I was 10 myself when I ended up being pulled along in the Pokémon craze, and by not looking back, I have
made some Pokémon-related memories that I will never regret, whether it's from the game, trading cards, or anime. When I found out about this franchise's twentieth movie, however, I was skeptical, thinking that Pokémon had just caught the "recap movie disease"; however, with each new trailer came a promise of a new experience born from something old instead, and I got more hyped (even though Misty and Brock were still missing). At last, I watched the movie in the theatres with all intent on tackling (heh, get it?) it in a review; I tried to watch it from a critic's point of view instead of a fangirl's....but man, was it hard!
Ladies and gentlemen, Pokémon Trainers all over, here is my review of "Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You!"
Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You starts the same way the Pokémon anime series did; Ash Ketchum wakes up late, all of the starter Pokémon are taken, he ends up getting a Pikachu, they don't get along well at first, they accidentally tick off a group of Spearow, Ash tries to protect Pikachu, Pikachu knocks all of the Spearow out with a Thunderbolt, Ash and Pikachu finally become friends, and they see a legendary bird Pokémon fly through the sky. Your childhood memories know the drill here....but here's where the story starts to diverge. As this legendary bird Pokémon - Ho-oh - flies away, it leaves Ash and Pikachu a rainbow-colored wing; the two then make a promise to each other to one day meet this Pokémon. After that, Ash travels through the Kanto region, collects Gym badges, and follows his dream to be a Pokémon Master, like he originally had been doing; however, an encounter with another legendary Pokémon, Entei, reminds him of his promise. Together with new traveling companions, Verity and Sorrel, Ash and Pikachu embark on a quest to reach Rainbow Mountain and encounter Ho-oh.
Okay, time to try to not fangirl.
May I first say that the story was masterfully executed? I personally would have liked to see some of Ash's Gym battles, as part of one was actually shown and it was differently executed from the series; however, with a limited amount of screen time and a different story to tell, I fully understand this decision. In regards to this "different story", it shared some key story elements with the series, but even with those integrated, the film stays on its own two legs through and through. Although it does start back when Ash is at square one in regards to being a Pokémon Trainer, the different direction the story took didn't affect his character development. In fact, I dare to say that this film dug deeper into his and Pikachu's characters than the series did and gave both of them great amounts of character development as a result.
Some of the other characters were likable, too, but they come with the one flaw I'd say this film has; they don't get fleshed out enough. Perhaps the biggest offenders of this are Ash's new traveling companions, Verity and Sorrel; while they are interesting characters with their own respective backstories, these backstories aren't fleshed out enough for the audience to really get to know them, and they are sadly left as mostly supporting characters. The infamous Team Rocket trio of Jessie, James, and Meowth return, but they are also reduced to supporting characters and don't get as much screen time as they did in the series; however, the scenes of them that we DID get were amusing and retained each of their personalities. Another new character, Cross, is the exact opposite of the ones I have mentioned; he does get enough screen time for his character to be fleshed out, but that doesn't mean he came off as likable. As a rival, he is definitely a powerful adversary who actually affected Ash emotionally, but at the same time, the various problems he ends up causing and the things he says just made me want to throw my bucket of popcorn at the screen.
What this Pokémon movie lacks in fleshing out most of its characters, however, is redeemed in its art. Instead of conforming to the new style of the Pokémon Sun and Moon series, the art style stays close to what the series was before then, which was a wise decision cinematically; with what kind of story it was trying to tell, using that rather goofy style would have made it look pretty ridiculous. However, even with that in mind, this is definitely the best-looking Pokémon movie I have ever seen; the animation was smooth and solid, the backgrounds were drawn in a beautiful fashion, and some shots were masterfully executed. Now, I don't care what other people say about Sarah Natochenny voicing Ash; all of the voice actors did a stellar job at their roles, and there was pure emotion in their performances, too. While I'm not always one to pay attention to background music, I definitely have to give this film's background music credit; the music always blended in perfectly with what was going on. Finally, the opening theme was an excellent remix of the first Pokémon theme song, and the ending theme.... OH, THE ENDING SONG. I wanted to stay at the theatre just to finish listening to it; it was that good!
Overall, Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You is definitely an excellent movie and a challenging one for a longtime Pokémon fan like myself to critique. I wouldn't recommend it to those who can't handle different stories and the fact that Misty and Brock are missing (although I do admit, it was slightly disheartening not to see them), but other than that, I'd recommend it to any Pokémon fan out there, even the ones who haven't watched the anime in forever. With this movie being watched and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being eagerly awaited, I can tell that it'll be harder to critique anything Pokémon-related from here on out, but with that being the case, maybe I should just let my inner fangirl out!
I am particularly impressed how the movie not only retells the original kanto journey, but also weaves back in a once-long-abandoned plot point with Ho-Oh. While weaving the new hotness with Marshadow in felt a bit forced in some aspects, the story had nice pacing and even had some tension at the climax that ultimately was resolved not with raw strength, but by the bond between Ash and Pikachu overcoming those odds. Overall, all that occurred worked quite well even if some of the older parts were abridged for the sake of moving the story along.
First off, Ash's
design seems more in line with his Gen V and Gen VI designs which is a nice change from the excessively cartoonish art style I've seen from his SM exploits. And the character designs of the supporting cast are definitely quite something as well. Secondly, I like how they played around with color and shadows, adding atmosphere and life (or lack thereof) to the film. Not breathtaking or anything, but it worked.
Not much to note here. Not too intrusive nor breathtaking persay, and yet evocative when it needed to be.
Besides Ash and Pikachu's obvious OTP-in-the-making, the other supporting cast actually kept my interest. His traveling companions, both from Sinnoh (Gen IV remake, anyone?), each have their own goals independent from Ash. The female one is determined to show her mother (who I am convinced is Cynthia) that she is worth something, and the male companion is a professor wannabe and seems to be quite knowledgeable in a few things as it is. Then you have the brutish 'rival' character who has Alolan pokemon and the conviction that might makes right in direct opposition to Ash's 'friendship is magic' policy. In any case, I would've loved to see more of these characters and learn their past as well as witness their continued growth in the future. Who knows if that'll happen though.
As for the pokemon, again, Pikachu is the center as a support to Ash. We finally learn why it doesn't like to be in its pokeball (which Ash had carried with him all through the film), and they take things a few steps further than they had ever done in the series with their relationship up to this point. As for the other pokemon, the butterfree plot thread becomes a side-story that kind of resolves itself with less investment than the original, whereas the Charmander sideplot comes full-circle in the best way possible. Then there's Marshadow, which again I feel they did kinda push in for...reasons. Maybe would've been better in its own movie, but I guess they saw an opportunity of sorts.
It was definitely worth watching. Most pokemon films are just a supplement to the anime, but this effort of retelling and revamping made the Kanto region seem a lot more vast and alive than the prior time around. Hopefully should we travel to it in USUM, it will live up to the hype...and the Pokemon Company can follow this up with something just as nice.
Even as Pokemon movies go, this one is little more than a bare faced affront to ones intelligence. Despite all of the clear positioning of this film as one harking back to the early days of Pokemon as was clearly evident in the artistic style and most obviously the plot. If you were hoping this was because the Pokemon company were trying to appeal to an older audience of fans who have been fans for years (similar to how they did for the X and Y anime) then either you are wrong for thinking that or the Pokemon company is just completely incompetent.
it didn't think my review would be like this - for the first 1/2 of the film it's actually far better than most other Pokemon films. However it quickly becomes evident that this is because it is effectively a mini anime episode and recap of prior stories as filler because the plot isn't close to being long enough for a film. The film is full of pointless filler - with team rocket appearing in the background, talking for a couple minutes then blasting off with no interaction with the characters or plot multiple times - assumedly just to fill time
Then we come to the ending. Like most Pokemon movies, this one treats the plot as an afterthought and a device for showing off the relevant legendaries (in this case Marshadow and Ho-Oh). However as it's ostensibly a kids show it's also completely essential that Ash does something Heroic in the ending and everything goes back to being fine. However in this case it just leads to the tightest knit group of Ex Machinas i've ever seen in fiction.
Again, I won't reveal too much, but suffice to say Ash vanishes without a trace in a valiant act of sacrifice. Sure would be sad if he magically reappeared out of another dimension or something - that would really make any emotional investment pointless as well as completely devaluing everything Ash gave up and sacrificed up to to that point. Oh wait, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS!
That's not the only instance either, earlier in the finally Marshadow suddenly acts completely out of character for no discernible reason with absolutely no motivation whatsoever. And I won't even get started on some of Pikachu's actions towards the end - which essentially boils down to 'Fuck you, internal consistency'.
It's really disappointing because early parts are quite good and in some (what I assume are) dream sequences are wonderfully directed - especially with the fantastic use of colour in them. Those fleeting scenes though barely if at all relevant to the 'narrative' are exceptional and deserve a lot of praise.
But overall, the film is a dumpster fire because of what it is. Make no mistake - this is not a film created to be a good film, it's a film designed to show off Marshadow as an advert for the Pokemon games. It really shouldn't be seen as anything else.
After the bunch of generic movies that the franchise was bringing (especially XY's), this film felt like a breath of fresh air, a necessary change and an interesting experience. Even so, it could have been handled much better.
At first, the film was very ambitious, trying to mix classic elements with new elements in a single story with the classic theme of "chosen by the legendary", which is not bad, but that same ambition made the development of the film was very inconsistent: they added key elements of the first season, such as the way Ash and Pikachu became friends, Caterpie's capture and subsequent release and
the abandoned Charmander, beautiful scenes that contributed to Ash development, but didn't impact as they intended to do (speaking from the perspective of the new generations of fans, which is the main audience to which the film aimed). In addition, the new elements were incorporated in a very superficial way, resulting in a very hasty plot, which handled too much issues: Cross as an antithesis of Ash, Verity and Sorrel, even the same legend of "chosen by Ho-Oh", the old man who wrote the book and Marshadow as an evil being and his world of illusion were treated very superficially. While the subplots were placed "just because", the main plot was developed inconsistently.
The plot is not the only thing that remained half developed, the characters too:
-Both Verity and Sorrel, although they are not the most original characters in the world, they are charismatic and have interesting motivations, respectively: wanting to show your real value and being a professor due to a traumatic experience that made you see things from a broader perspective, each one was introduced with quite remarkable personalities, but once they joined to Ash, all that disappeared, and they went into the background in such a blatant way that it's offensive, giving the feeling of wanting to see more of them.
-Cross and Marshadow were only used as a plot device. The first as the typical edgelord who treats everyone badly, considers that everything is brute force and friendship is useless but without the redemption that differentiates him from others like Paul and Trip, who in the end was the one who unleashed the chaos due to his imprudence. The second as the evil entity that has to stop our characters "just because", if there is a real reason for its participation, this was not very clear or was never explained properly.
-On the other hand we have the same Ash as always, but due to the focus they gave him, his development as a newly initiated Trainer was better appreciated, in the best way that has been seen in the franchise so far, as well as his relationship with Pikachu... But yes, the way he "revived" was one of the most cheeky deus ex machina of all the anime, and don't tell me it was Ho-Oh because he was not present and the Rainbow Wing had disintegrated.
In short: very ambitious plot, mixing new and old elements in a very superficial way, focusing on some things and leaving aside many others, hasty development and interesting characters but very badly used. As I said at the beginning, it was a renewed experience with respect to the last films, and it was pleasant to see, but it doesn't prevent that it could have been better.
For a movie that was neither necessary nor wanted, it was quite an easy watch. Most of it was a slow burn through the basic stories Pokemon watchers know well. It's mostly executed well enough not to be annoying. The plot and characters are middling in every way. They're not interesting, but are a watchable shake up from the dreaded, completely faithful rehash people expected. The only question remaining is, out of all dropped characters, why the hell have they brought Team Rocket back?
Technically, it's a competent movie. As with the previous generations, production values were bumped up when they moved to the new gen.
Most surprisingly, music isn't terrible this time around. Also notable, movie features a remix of the original Japanese opening paired up with a battle montage. In hindsight, I should've expected this, but I gotta say: it's pretty neat.
As the movie drew near a close, I was ready to shrug it off and never think about it again. But then they just had to kill Ash and resurrect him, like in the Mewtwo Strikes Back. Fuck this movie.
I'm not going bother making a big review, as there's nothing to talk about. It exists and it exists on the border between an uninspired remake and an unintentional, borderline offensive self-parody.
What started as overhyped expectation for a tribute to the classic 90’s anime, a feature length film that promised to shine some light on one of the show’s most discussed fan-theories, ended with affirmation that it’s time for Ash’s journey to come to an end.
As to be expected from a Pokemon movie, the visuals were stunning. Like seriously, wow. This film looked incredible, from the lush forests and sprawling mountain ranges to the interior design of the pokemon centers and other buildings, I was never not impressed with the backgrounds and environments. Also stunning was the array of colors. The bright sky blues, the robust
red Flamethrowers, and foreboding shadowy purples were a treat to behold. Everything in this show was masterfully animated, and the attention to detail impressed me, especially since they could have easily got away with doing much less. Way to go the extra mile!
Unfortunately, this is where the praise ends.
The narrative was all over the place. Any time the plot started to pick up, all of a sudden, a new subplot is introduced and then dropped just as rapidly, thereafter abruptly switching gears again with nothing in the way of a transition except for a scene cut. These include, but are not limited to, Ash’s adventures from the show (Butterfree, etc) and anything regarding Marshadow.
The action (pokemon battles) were also an area of issue for me. The fights were far too numerous and excessively forced on the viewer (seriously, they can’t go 10 minutes without having some sort of battle). Also, the amount of bullshit taking place in Ash’s battles is insane. In this ~90 minute film, Ash evolves his pokemon mid battle at least 3 or 4 times, and some of his combat strategies are so frustratingly idiotic that despite his plot armor, I’m genuinely surprised they worked. There is NO WAY Pikachu should be able to Iron Tail a Snorlax and launch it 100 feet in the air after being pinned moments ago by a Body Slam. Snorlax is like, 1,000 pounds. How do they get away with this?!?! Even kids have to realize how absurd this is at some point, right?
I suppose I ought to at least mention the other technical aspects of the film.
Here you go:
Sound: SFX were great. Soundtrack was whatever, the remixed medleys from the original series were a nice homage, but still unimpressive.
Voice Acting (dub): Some of the side characters were well voiced, but Ash and the usual suspects are as mediocre as ever.
Characters: Ash still sucks, but at least his companions were enjoyable. Despite being every single stereotype in the book, Cross managed to be one of Ash’s better rivals, not like that’s saying much though…
Visuals aside, I was let down with this film, though I can’t say that I’m completely disappointed because at least I got some (canonical?) insight into the Ho-oh fan-theory. Am I perhaps being too harsh on Pokemon 20XX?
After all, it is a “kids” movie.
...I really don’t think so. It is possible to make a good kids movie. Dreamworks and Pixar do it all the time, and the legendary Hayao Miyazaki never fails to amaze. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask of Pokemon company to put some effort into their writing and create a story that can be enjoyed by fans of all ages.
I’ve said it for a long time, but the biggest issue holding back the Pokemon anime is the company’s attachment to its protagonist. He’s dried up, and stopped being interesting 10 years ago. There are pokemon fans of all ages, a sizable demographic being in their 20s and 30s. It wouldn’t kill them to make a series, or even a one-off movie, starring a mature protagonist, or at least a teenager more mature than Ash.
That being said, it was fun watching Pokemon again after all these years, but after seeing this film, my hiatus will likely continue. I was actually planning on watching some of the other Pokemon movies as well, but until they kick Ash to the curb, it just isn’t worth my time.
While it may be a nostalgic cash-in, at least it's an enjoyable nostalgic cash-in.
The story, which combined elements of season one with a new plot involving Ho-Oh, was pretty thin, but the stuff with Ho-Oh was very interesting and tapped into the "mythical" vibe I so very enjoy when Pokemon does. The rest at least did a decent job convering the bases of season 1.
I didn't like Verity, who was bland and had no personality, but his other companion was good, and his voice actor did a great job. There was a lot of good comedy throughout, especially from Pikachu's antics, and there was some
REALLY nice emotional moments.
And as is the standard to the franchise, the animation was lovely, the action scenes were great and very well-directed, and the climax scenes were Fantastic.
So as a whole, it was a good movie, and a fan might like it at least if they look past the Genwunner pandering.
Pokemon: I Choose You The Movie, is part reboot and part retelling of Ash and Pikachu's first meeting and journey.
Some things are kept, but tweaked slightly (or a lot), and others are scrapped entirely in favor of entirely new ones. Notably Ash and Pikachu travel alone for fair bit before being joined by companions who are not Brock and Misty, nor is his rival/antagonist Gary Oak. The Team Rocket trio make sporadic and pointless appearances throughout the film, but never actually interact with Ash or anyone else. They do blast off a lot.
Art: An over reliance on bad CG effects and underwhelming animation left
this feeling nothing like a big budget Pokemon movie. Some things were decent, sometimes it wasn't half bad at all. But there was no consistency and some scenes/things were simply dreadful to look at.
Sound: Now while I've heard good things about the soundtrack for the original, the Dub has not been well recieved, and for very good reason. I hope to eventually experience the Japanese version, but for now, the Dub is all there is, and it is underwhelming at its best, and absoloutely terrible at its worst! Ash isn't great but the person playing him does a somwhat decent job that kinda grows on you I guess. His new travelling companions (whose names I cannot remember because they were only mentioned like twice and weren't very memorable for me) are decent and horrible respectively. The girl is okay, and sometimes even pretty good, the boy on the other hand was sooo terrible I cringed every time he opened his mouth. Terrible choice of voice actor, the voice didn't fit, the guy playing him sounded bored, and bad directing made sure that the character was chore to listen to, and that's a shame, since the character himslef wasn't actually that bad. Most of the pokemon were voiced TERRIBLY too, especially charmander, who went from being cute to annoying in terms of sound. Also Meowth (shiver) and James, bleh.
ONE OF THE WORST DUBS I've heard in recent years.
New: If the boy companion had gotten a better VA he'd have been okay. Both had an interresting backstory and fairly likable personalities, though with so little development, the boy was mostly bland. The girl was actually decent and had a ton of potential, but since they were given so little development, it was hard to grow attached to them. The girl would have made a great protagonist on her own actually, but as it was, she was pushed aside in favor of Ash, and I doubt we'll ever get to see her confront her past, so didn't really get to contribute much. Neither of them did. The rival, while less obnoxious than the character he was based on, was underdeveloped, let off too easy for his crimes, and overall pretty bland. He also had no backstory whatsoever.
Old: Ash was frustrating. Sometimes he was the embodiment of his best self, others he was a huge jerk. Like he did and said some things that series Ash never would have, and I wanted to SMACK him!
Somtimes he was a competent trainer, and other times he was just as bad as counterpart/analog could be, but more of a jerk about it.
His relationship with his mom was terrible! Just what?
Delia Ketchum was never my fav character, but her portrayal in this film was just awful!
Professor Oak mangaged to have no real prescense what so ever. He was completely forgettable and also seemed to lack any sort of relationship with Ash, barely knowing who the kid was.
Team Rocket were terribly (well I guess Jessie was passable) voiced, and absoloutely pointless to the story. No interactions with anyone, no "genius" plans, just tiny cameos before pointless blastoffs.
Story: Maybe they could have pulled it off in a series of OVAs but in a movie, and a short one to boot, it was just too rushed. It wanted to be too many things at once and ended up shooting itself in the foot. Underwelming. It had its moments, kinda, but everything was just too rushed and too many scenes badly handled. So much potential, and they ruined it.
Can't say I enjoyed it. My recomendation is to skip the dub entirely, but if the japanese version becomes available, maybe check it out for posterity, I guess, but really I wish I'd just read a recap.
Too all the pokemon Fans out there, I'm talking about the really OG fans.
This I can't help but emphasise that this pokemon movie left me with no feels no reminiese. Just a fairly decent movie which is clearly made to sell to the new nintendo DS pokemon generation, for them to somehow appreciate what has happened in the franchise if any.
I mean the very start of the movie I was fully invested to watch but then the new villians flips the script and makes what it is to mean about pokemon something else as if he was actually one of us playing the
gameboy advance version of Pokemon Red (He is literally that)
Side note to villains Team Rocket was some of the most entertainment I have got from pokemon and to see what has happened to them at the end (nothing happened) is somewhat disappointing.
But all in all I only wanted to finish it because it was Pokemon and HOLY FKING SHIZ pikachu!!!!
a series that I was practically raise on that turns on me so hard that nurse joy cant help to revive me. I Think most of us has to just accept that pokemon is just a money cow for future generations and on that note we must cherish the good old pokemon series and movies even though that is all we can do at this moment.
So I happened to stumble into another nostalgic beartrap; well not all that nostalgic, since I do still play the games regularly, but as far as the anime goes, I've been mostly disinterested in most things Pokémon since Sinnoh I guess. Now, since gen VI probably, Gamefreak has seemingly grown progressively more aware of us "geezers", who never could quite put down the game boy and say goodbye to our PG-13 digital armies of "dog fighting"-animals. Next to the mega stones, alolan forms and 3DS re-releases of classic games, this movie is another example of this. Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You is in a
lot of ways a remake of the original series; a decision, that was met with both praise and criticism from the "gen-wunner"-fan base. Some of them welcomed the possibility of a remake, even if not completely faithful, others just couldn't live with the changes, the film attempted to make. Me, I was as already explained in the intro, initially indiffirent to the movie's existence, but now that I've seen it, I'd honestly dare saying, that (apart from some irritating choices made in the climax of the movie) it is one of the better Pokémon films, if not the best one yet. Let me elaborate;
There's alot of re-using of ideas from the source material, but honestly I'd have to say, the writers made their homework. I'm generally not a fan of remaking and re-hashing, but what we get in this movie is pretty well structured and the source material they chose patches together the movie neatly. The premise is basically classic Pokémon; Ash Ketchum is now 10 and can leave his mom and embark on an adventure capturing odd animals with weird abilities, making them fight, collecting badges and trying to become the very best, like noone ever was. Now what the movie did well, is to choose just the right aspects of this journey to make it compelling. The episodes they picked to remake and eventually lead into a new story find a common ground in a story about (big shock) friendship and trust. It's not the most original concept, not new to Pokémon or the genre it is a part of, but it is handled well.
Common complaint about the Pokémon anime is, how bland the characters are and to some degree this is the case in this movie as well. The new side characters serve mostly as plot devices, the antagonist is the classic trainer, who only wants power and considers companionship with his Pokémon unnecessary and Team Rocket are ultimately reduced to comic relief cameos; but at the core of it all, you do have Ash and his Pokémon and their character arcs. Fair enough; alot of people probably won't be able to seperate this Ash from his series' counterpart; the series Ash being way too often the dimwited over-enthusiastic shounen hero, who learns lessons only to forget them within the next 10 episodes, but if you manage to seperate this Ash from that Ash, you might not be as dissapointed in him after all. Well, there's always the classic complaints you can make; "Why is he using, that Pokémon against that Pokémon?" or "Why is he using that attack on that Pokémon", but then again you can't really apply your quantitative experience from the video games in the more layered and less predictable fighting mechanics of the anime. Not to mention this is an Ash with far less experience, then the series' one, so mistakes are always a possibility.
Not much to complain about here; it's colourful and pleasing to the eye. The artstyle is typical Pokémon movie-artstyle with designs to appeal to all ages, especially the younger demographic. The fights are well choreographed, dynamic and immersive. All in all it's pleasing to the eye.
It's funny, but even though I consider myself a big music nerd, I never really dissect anime soundtrack too much. I can always spot a brilliant soundtrack and voice acting and differentiate it from a complete travesty, but I never go too deep into it (Not that it even affects my overall enjoyment of the anime too much). With that said; Pokémon was fine; decent voice acting, soundtrack you would expect, nothing was off.
As stated in the introduction; I think it's well put together and thoughtout and tells a cohesive story. Ash and his Pokémon are surprisingly the stars of the show with decent character arcs. It's a decent film, but nothing we really needed and as a remake, nothing that does something unexpected, but it is a competent product alltogether. 5/10
As seen above, I use a star system (symbols I have stolen from Yu-Gi-Oh!'s entries here on MAL) to rate the series/movie in terms of four categories, which can indicate its quality. Those ratings do affect the final score I give the series/movie, but I do not use a mathematical method to assign the score. Ultimately I weight the final ratings by considering the stars given. I do not consider the categories to be equivalent and value a good story and characters over good art or a cathcy soundtrack. As far as the stars given go, I use a four stage scale:
(-) - bad, a series/movie is terrible in this category
(☆) - okay, it's fine, tolerable, but likely nothing special
(☆☆) - good, it's good, but may have flaws or isn't quite among the best I've seen in the category
(☆☆☆) - great, the best rating I can give, when it's truely remarkable in the category
In this day and age of mindless gluttonous consumption of anime season after season we have deluded our tongues to only savor the utmost of the gourmet dishes. We adjust our critiquing glasses and analyze the shows as 'deep', 'fast-paced', 'symbolic' and most of all a 'modern commentary'. In our society of high expecting monkeys comes the 20th Pokemon movie flipping off Einstein and taking us back to the end of the millennia.
Story - It's basically the same story that kick started your venture into anime with a few new Pokemon added to still keep it original.
Art - We can see some stellar artwork that
is consistent. The colors are phenomenally used hand-in-hand with the story and is just a bonus over your hormonal body.
Sound - Nothing extraordinary other than the gargantuan dose of nostalgia injected in you as soon as the opening and Pokemon cries kick in.
Characters - The same good old (young) Ash with his trusty Pikachu.
Enjoyment - Now forget all the descriptions of the sound and characters and story and all and just ask yourself - Am I a Pokemon fan? If yes, just watch it and join eternal bliss and if not, then why are you reading this review?
We have put these highly over the top expectations from anime that they simply can't deliver and a lifetime of gourmet foods will even exhaust your tongue. So relax, remember the pizza you ate when you were 10, how good it was, and nothing would compare. That's Pokemon, nothing to analyze, everything to enjoy.
Here's my main complaint about this movie: it definitely isn't for all ages. It's JUST for kids!
As a major pokemon fan, and an adult, I followed the making of this movie like a starving animal. I saw the trailers, I searched for new information, I even wanted to watch it on the cinema (I just didn't because at the moment I didn't have enough money). And, by the LOOKS of it, it was going to be something nostalgic!
I thought it would have the original voice actors (mind you: I watched it in brazilian portuguese, 'cause I'm Brazilian), I thought it would have plots that reminded
me of the original anime, I thought it would be Ash, Brock and Misty (and pikachu, obviously) having fun again at least one last time...
As much as it looks like the original anime (aesthetically, I mean), it was just SO SILLY. SO CHILDISH.SO UNINTERESTING. They changed the voice actors (they did it ever since Sun & Moon came out, but I was stupid enough to think that they'd call the original voice actors JUST for this movie), they dumbed down the story, they (major spoiler alert, but the entire internet knows this already) MADE PIKACHU "TALK".
This was such a big disappointment for me. This isn't a movie for me, this is a movie that "looks" like what I used to be but it's entirely made for the newer generation. And yeah, as a bitter adult, I'm sad.
I'll just stick with the first pokemon movie, which to this day I still think it's one of the best kids movie ever made.
Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You is the latest installment in line of the long-running Pokemon movies that were sloppily put together for the mere sake of having an annual movie. It's an obligation, really, for most currently airing shounen anime (like Naruto and One Piece used to do when they were on air). Being an obligation, it's understandable, albeit not acceptable, that they put together a half-ass movie with a mediocre storyline and soundtrack.
Story - 6
Being the 20th anniversary movie, the story is unsurprisingly decent with fair bits of emotional moments. You get to see Ash's early years
in Kanto being retold, with him actually earning the badges fair and square this time rather than rely on the gym leaders' pity. There are also some memorable scenes too that once brought a tear to your eyes.
Most of all, the movie explores the classic subject often talked about in Pokemon: the struggle between being a strong trainer and being an ethical one. It's honestly my favorite theme of the anime, since being honorable and upholding sportsmanship in battle has always been what made Ash unique as a trainer compared to those who merely seek strength and Uber-tier Pokemon, so it's nice to see that subject explored through him and Cross (the edgy elitist Smogonfag in all of us). That being said, there's nothing new that is said here. Diamond and Pearl already explored that theme thoroughly enough with Paul, so this rehash is rather unwelcomed.
There are also certain dark moments due to Marshadow's introduction, but I feel like they squandered a chance to really push the envelope with his ability to bring out the dark side in people. This could have easily been a new chapter in the Pokemon franchise that reinvents the Pokemon anime and Ash Ketchum in new and groundbreaking ways. A lot of people often dismissed Ash as some naive loser who relies on the power of friendship and bad writing, but there's a moment in the movie when Ash acted like us who wished we could have chosen a better Pokemon instead, but that moment is brief and doesn't have much bearing on the story. The anti-climatic way the conflict gets resolved through a contrived revival calls to mind some other better animated movies out there that handled death and loss far, far better (i.e.: The Iron Giant).
Character - 5
Other than Ash Ketchum, you won't be bothered with most of the throwaway characters here. You have imitations of familiar characters here travelling with Ash as his "new companions": Verity is Misty, a water Pokemon user, Sorrel is Brock, a medic wannabe, and Cross is Paul the edgelord. They don't add anything significant to the story other than offering mild platitude from the side. Just when I was expecting a really dark backstory from Verity that could have made me cared for her, the movie disappointed me with a mediocre one. Sorrel's backstory fares better though and is actually a better version of Brock, giving him a more powerful and sensible motivation in becoming a medic. I couldn't care about Cross at all. He comes across as a spoiled kid who got bullied and ended up whining about how the world is so tough and blah blah blah.
Needless to say, the character writing for Pokemon movies has always been lousy. But , Ash's writing fares far better than previous movies. As mentioned earlier, there's a squandered opportunity here in writing Ash's character. In storytelling, especially in sequels that further explore established or familiar characters, the protagonist would often be treated to suffering that would question his ideals and values, reveal exactly the kind of person, or in this case, trainer he really is inside. There's some of that here with Marshadow's involvement as he wonders if strength and power are truly the only things that matter in Pokemon, but I feel like it's one of those unresolved sub-plots in movies that goes forgotten.
Art - 7
Probably the best part of the movie is its animation. It's updated with a fresh coat of paint that brings the world of Pokemon to life. All the vibrant colors and sharpness as expected of a 2017 animation are present here, albeit nothing revolutionary. If there is something to complain about, it's perhaps the display of powers by Marshadow and Pikachu. I wish we could have seen some Z-powers here, particularly by Pikachu. It would have been nice to see the 10 Million Volt Thunderbolt attack in full-resolution animation.
Sound - 3
As for the worst part of the movie? It's undoubtedly the soundtrack. I had the unfortunate opportunity to experience the dub before I've seen the original Japanese version, and the terrible score leaves me wondering if the original fares better. It's a bunch of uninspired numbers that are barely audible in the background and definitely forgettable. Even the somewhat decent battle themes are boring. Remember the times in these animated movies when you would cheer during the climatic battles because the theme music comes up? This isn't one of those movies, and I was really hoping for it to be. Half of the reason the first movie had me grabbing for tissues was because of its emotional soundtrack that struck the right chords, a significant ingredient missing from the tearjerking scenes here. They even replaced the classic soundtrack, "Tears After A Cloudy Weather" during the Spearow scene. How dare they. Ever since TPCi took over the production of the anime from 4Kids (who at least bothered to use the original Japanese music), the soundtrack has been terrible, and this has been the most disappointing example yet.
The voice acting fares slightly better, but only because it's so forgettable and insignificant in my enjoyment of the anime. Music has always been a bigger factor than voice acting with anime that focus on battling. This isn't drama, so voice acting being bad isn't as affecting. I still prefer Veronica Taylor as Ash's voice of course, but mostly for nostalgia reasons. My favorite version of Ash will always be Rica Matsumoto anyway. Even the notorious Pikachu talking scene didn't put me off as much as it did for other people, as I'm curious what the Japanese version sounds like.
Enjoyment - 6
Most of my enjoyment for this movie comes more from the hype of an anniversary film than anything related to the actual production itself. It is nice to tread down memory lane and see Butterfree again, and it's nice to see Ash upholding his moral standards as per usual. There's these little charm here and there that prevents me from completely hating the movie, so it's not a total flop for an anniversary film.
Overall - 6
If you are expecting an amazing 20th anniversary film like Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare, look somewhere else. If you are seeking to feed your nostalgia, look to the first season of the Pokemon anime in either of the language you haven't seen. If you are looking to have more adventures with Ash Ketchum, look to the new season, Sun & Moon. If you are hoping to waste some time exploring what a 20th anniversary Pokemon movie would be like for your own morbid curiosity, however, then feel free to check this out.
I was lucky enough to get to enjoy this movie on the big screen twice (dubbed) Last time I did that was over 16 years ago with Pokémon 2. This movie is propably, THE Pokémon Movie we as fans have, been waiting for. As both old fans, Poké Maniacs (Myself included) and newcomers can enjoy)
Now ill try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible.
I went in expecting a loose retelling of the first season and thats not what I what I got. (Which was great) The first 15 minutes or so, is heavely based on the start of the first season
after that, it takes the story in a whole new direction, with a plot revolving around getting to a mountain to meet Ho-oH (and the other legendary Pokémon surounding its lore). With Ash is two new characters called Sorrel & Verity. Now im not gonna go in depth with the story, but it went in some pretty dark coners in some parts of the movie (Which I loved) Showing that Pokémon aren´t invincible.
What can I say It looked great. The design was good and consistant allround the whole movie.
Starting the movie with a brand new recording of the Pokémon Theme was pretty dope, the rest of the movie everything just kinda fit together. Also the piano cover of the Pokémon Theme is beatiful. So huge kudos to the music crew.
Ash: The main character, wants to be a Pokémon Master. Travels with his Pikachu and some other Pokémon he catches along the way. He is still about freindship is strenght (Which is fine) But it just became kinda ennoying a little. Atleast there was character development from start to finish. But most importantly he was actually a somewhat competent battler.
Sorrel: A kid who wants to be a Pokémon Professor,Travels with Lucario. The more interesting of the new main characters. Even though both don´t really do much, he atleast stood out as he had more moments than Verity to do stuff, as he knew alot of info about Legendary Pokémon.
Verity: A girl who travels with her Piplup. Personally, she was just kinda there. She didn´t do much. But I guess, they needed a girl character. Which was a shame, as she had a lot of Pokémon Lore regarding her background. So If they did a sequel, I would love to see where they take her, and her Mom.
I really loved this movie. It had alot of small details and moments that only the older Pokémon fans & Pokémon Maniacs would really get. Which was really cool, I was practically glued to the screen. Another thing is that the Pokémon Battles are more like in Pokémon Origins, Pokémon Generations & The Pokémon Mega Evolution Speciels (They look coordinated and are pretty fast paced, and a a little more adult oriented) But the most importent thing is that they actually show a more Dark side of Pokémon, which I enjoyed (As it treated us viewers as adults) There was only 2 Minor things I disliked. If you are gonna have Team Rocket in the movie atleast let them do stuff, and there was a scene near the end of the movie that left me with a wierd feeling (Im sure most People that have watched it will know what im talking about)
I really liked it. My only beef was the amount of Pokémon Ash catches and uses.(I won´t spoil the Number) But that itself is not something that should drag than the score. Let me say it like this.
If you like Pokémon you should like this. You can even see it with a Pokémon Fan or a newcomer.
This movie was... interesting. Not quite what I thought it was going to be. I came into this expecting it to be just one big nostalgia trip-- a recreation of the major events of gen 1, just polished up a little. And we do get some of that. But this movie also tried to tell its own story.
I don't have a problem with either of these two points by themselves. But they didn't mesh quite as well as I think the writers wanted them to... I think the idea for the new story had potential. Unless I missed that one, I don't recall there ever
being a movie with Ho-Oh at its focus, even though it's the first legendary the series ever introduces. And on the note of the legendaries, I think the movie does that aspect of the story quite well. Each battle really drove home the difference in power between the legendary Pokemon and the regular ones, something I think the actual series and many of the other movies kind of lost touch with after a while, because the kids interact with them so casually.
I didn't mind that they gave Ash new companions just for this movie, but I can't say I was terribly impressed by either of them. That is one point where the callbacks to the original series started to feel intrusive. As cool as it was (at first) to see those scenes all over again, it started to feel like they were taking time away from developing Verity and Sorrel. By the end, I can't say I was really attached to either one of them. And I know that with each new generation, it's a chance to introduce a new era of kids into the franchise, but let's be honest. I think it's safe to say that most of the viewers were going to be older fans, and this problem could have been easily resolved by just using Brock and Misty (though maybe with their stories reimagined as well) who really don't need a proper introduction at this point.
All in all, I enjoyed it well enough... Honestly, the original series is one of my least favorite seasons of Pokemon, so maybe the nostalgic scenes wouldn't have really impressed me anyway. I was kind of just expecting this to be a polished recap of the beginning for newer fans, so I did think it was pretty cool that it had its own story. And in the Pokemon franchise alone, I've definitely seen worse.
"Hey let's rewrite everyone's childhood memory of the series with a reboot movie that only focus on two Pokemon of Ash's team and screw everything else" - TPC
Such a shameless excuse for a movie.
Ash had Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charizard, now they removed all of them except for two for no reason.
The story is basically the same but they replaced interesting and fun characters (Misty and Brock) with bland, dull and boring characters that do nothing to the plot and literally are just there to show their Lucario and Piplup to sell merchs.
Charizard story is a retelling for the worse.
Pikachu is cringy and an annoying
asshole as ever.
The legendaries have no real plot except of course just being there for nostalgia and of course merchs.
The whole movie is a bad excuse to attract nostalgia fans, and you might have fun watching it the first time but overall it's terrible and awful.
In the good side, the art and music are good and the action scenes are fun too.
I don't see why so many people are making a big deal out of the scene when Pikachu speaks. It was a totally harmless scene, and it was indicated to possibly be in Ash's head.
Did Team Rocket really need to be "sneaking around" in this film? Don't get me wrong, I like Team Rocket. However, since this is a retelling, and they don't know Ash (yet) or his friends, there's no reason for them not to approach him and say, "Hey, we heard you guys were searching for Ho-Oh. We're looking for him too. Wanna team up?" Sure, Verity (Makoto) had seen a wanted poster
of them, so she might've recognized them. Still, that's still they're only fallback. It just seems that the only reason Team Rocket were "sneakily" following Ash was because that's what they do in the main series.
No Misty or Brock. :'(
That being said, there are some things I like about this film. I remember when Ash saw Ho-Oh in the first episode of Indigo League. Ho-Oh was never the focus of the story. Ash mentioned seeing it in later episodes, but he never saw it again. I like that this retelling is about the quest to find Ho-Oh. Did it need to be a retelling? No, but again why not. This film was made for both old and new Pokémon fans. New Pokémon fans had another movie, and old Pokémon fans get to take a trip down memory lane without Misty, Brock, Pidgeotto, Squirtle, Bulbasaur... Seriously, they did a Pokémon: Indigo League retelling without Misty, Brock, and half the Pokémon on Ash's team!! Well, can't have everything I guess. At least Ash isn't a bicycle thief in this version. :)
Although, no one can replace Misty and Brock, I did like Ash's new companions: Verity and Sorrel (Souji). I also like how they split once their quest was over.
I also like how the trainer that abandoned Charmander played a bigger role in this story. Cross does see what kind of trainer Ash really is and what his Charmeleon become a Charizard. A powerful one at that. Cross also sees his own mistake when Marshadow possess his...um...main Pokémon. Wouldn't it be nice if Damian saw same thing? Wouldn't it be cool if Damian lost a battle to Ash's disobedient Charizard in a later episode?
Sure Pokémon: I Choose You is not a perfect film, but that doesn't make it a bad one.
After watching the hoopa & genosect movies prior to this my expectations were rather low. However I was pleasantly surprised, it was pretty good. I had been shown a certain semi-controversial scene near the end of the movie before watching it and was apprehensive about it, but it the movie it fit pretty well. It was a bit weird getting used to this being an alternate time line which incorporated events from the original tv series but also putting new things in it and changed events around. If you watched the original series you'll recognize certain big events but not enough to be called a
recap movie. After some pretty bad pokemon movies its good to see they're getting back on the right track.
I wanted to watch this movie so bad, and then when I did I was extremely disappointed. I wasn't a huge fan of the retconned story which HEAVILY borrowed from the first movie, and would have loved to have seen Brock and Misty, getting the original trio back together. I also thought the art style looked a little weird, but that could possibly be that I saw this movie on a small SD TV and it was meant for a big screen HD movie theatre. I have to say that I did really like the remake of the original English OP, and the dynamic between
Ash and Pikachu was really cute.