Ash and Pikachu embark on a new journey to Fula City where the yearly Wind Festival takes place. There they meet new trainers and friends in order to later help save the city along with the mythical pokemon Zeraora.
Alright, let us see how my first review of MAL goes. I have only recently become a member, though I have been an anime fan much longer.
Lets get started.
The Power of Us is no sequel to I Choose You, it is its own story. Going into this movie, my expectations had to walk a fine line between my inner Pokemon fan, and my subjective view to critique it. I give this movie credit for having the bravery to juggle at least 6 main characters, and not lose its way. For a majority of the time, it is consistent with the world it sets up. The
story caught my attention, although nothing groundbreaking. The shift away from story revolving around Ash's actions alone provides a unique angle that the series often does not explore. The pacing was above average, especially when comparing this film to I Choose You, which had the first 10 minutes with Ash and Pikachu going over the events of the first episode. There was no rush or glaring issues with the story flow, and I was pleasantly surprised. The story shares beats with past arcs in Pokemon, though there is clear direction being shown. Zeraora was well integrated for having little to do with Lugia, and felt like a believable addition to the cast. Fula City is one of, if not the most fleshed out settings the franchise has to offer. Realistic for the fantasy setting, and believable figures, such as the mayor, who's actions are anything but "Let the 10 year old kid handle it by himself". As for the artwork, I cannot say anything less than outstanding. Backgrounds and wide shots were something out Studio Ghibi, while character designs were vibrant, representative of their respective character, and unique to say the least. Every battle that takes place is a joy to watch, WIT Studios outdid themselves with fluid and clear animation, barely surpassing I Choose You in terms of quality. Redesigns are well done for Ash and Team Rocket, in particular. Music of the film was fitting for the most part, and served some scenes more justice than others. The english Dub kept a majority of tracks the same as Japanese. Moving on to characters. Ash, Lisa, Harriet, Callahan, Torren, and Margot. The Power of Us giving 6 central characters their own focus gave me worry on how the shared screen time would translate to development. My fears were put to rest upon first viewing, as each was handled and given a necessary amount of screen time. Part of this film's charm is to see the interaction between these people whom would have never met otherwise. The Power of Us derives its strength in simplicity, and earns endearment in the most unlikely places. Doing my best not to spoil, one of Callahan's scenes was particularly touching and deserves a place of mention. Risa's simple story I found relatable, being a former athlete, and her scene with Ash was charming.
My overall enjoyment was outstanding for this film. It is reassuring when a franchise can still give good quality after 20 whole movies. In short, I recommend watching Pokemon: The Power of Us, as a well produced, entertaining, and endearing addition to the series as a whole.
It’s hard to say why exactly this is a bad movie, because, at the end of the day, I’m not really sure what this is supposed to be.
At first glance, it looks like it’s a remake (of sorts) of The Power of One, the second Pokemon movie. The title “The Power of Us” is a great mirror of that and it stars Lugia as the centerpiece. Except it’s not. This movie isn’t about Lugia, it’s about Zeraora. So if you think this new Electric-type fursona looks super cool, then this movie’s gonna be up your alley 10/10.
So let’s throw all immediate comparisons out the window.
That’s fair, I don’t mind at all. But I’m still completely unsure as to what this is supposed to be. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with I Choose You, that movie isn’t even referenced in this. Forget that really cool potential development Verity might’ve had with her Mom--not important or anything it’s just the fucking Champion of Sinnoh--she’s out of the picture forever, I guess. But they’re still continuing this theme of Ash and Pikachu’s journey starting from scratch, considering Ash is wearing the same cap from ICU. Whatever, maybe they were afraid people wouldn’t keep up with the movies enough, so they didn’t wanna make a whole new storyline with them, fine.
So this movie isn’t a sequel to I Choose You, nor is it a remake of The Power of Us. Alright. I still don’t know what this movie is.
I guess they decided to remove the ‘adventure’ part of Pokemon to make a drama instead, since the only settings in this film are a boring town and a boring . . . mountain. Cool. It’s not necessarily terribly written--most things make the proper amount of sense with most of the causes and effects lining up, but it’s just so . . . boring. Two seconds with all of the characters will tell you everything about them and the arc they will eventually follow. The uncle guy lies to his niece to impress her. Even a Slowpoke could predict that he’d be found out halfway through the movie, become hated, and become part of the heroic plot later to redeem himself. Amazing.
Look, I get it. It’s Pokemon. I’m not expecting an Academy-level plot here. But . . . I also enjoy the Pokemon anime most of the time, because it’s not so thoroughly bland and uninspired?? The Sun&Moon characters have tons of quirks, tons of personality, and they’re tons of fun to watch even though literally nothing happens in that series. Power of Bum feels equally pointless but pretends that something interesting is happening the entire time.
This movie just has too many pieces. It ultimately spreads out into a three-pronged conflict where its bloated cast is scattered all over the place. As a result, tons of things need to happen and need to be explained, causing many of these pieces to have extremely minor uses. Two Pokemon Hunters appear in the beginning of the movie for a couple seconds, obviously scheming something, and then they show up about halfway through to start shit, and then they disappear off-screen forever. The gyaru-looking chick has a brother just so that he can magically guide her through the forest for one scene later in the movie. And there’s the incredibly dumb “plot twist” about how Zeraora was condemned by a past generation, only for the leader of the current generation to know the truth all along, but keep that a secret from everyone for absolutely no reason when he could’ve settled that dispute years ago, but that’d pre-emptively erase half the conflict of the movie.
Also, can we talk about the fact that, of all things, the “forest guardian” in this movie is an Electric-type . . . thing? What is this? What is “forest-like” about this creature? Have they just completely given up on symbolism with their legendaries? Marshadow is one of the coolest Pokemon ever, how did we go from that to this in a single generation? Its only defining trait is that it’s fast so that they can play the same scene of a thing falling on top of a guy, only for Zeraora to swoop in and catch the falling thing at the last second. Every. Single. Time.
. . . Wait, hang on. Pokemon Hunters . . . forest guardian . . . this is actually a remake of Pokemon 4Ever. What the fuck. Those LIARS!!!
Even as a general Pokemon story, it doesn’t really capitalize on anything about Pokemon. The biggest opposing threat in this movie is an oh-so-ominous gas cloud. No, I’m not talking about Gengar, it’s just some poison gas that Ikoma from Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress made. Sure, it’s Effect Spore, sure it’s an actual Pokemon thing and they use Lum Berries to cure it; I like practical applications of small Pokemon bits like this. But that’s all they are. Small bits. Who the fuck wants to watch a Pokemon movie about Ash and Pikachu fighting against toxins. Pokemon should always be about THE Pokemon as much as possible, and these mechanical elements should take a backseat and serve as tools instead of being the plot themselves.
So, again, what IS this movie? What is the point of it? That Pokemon and people should work together? You know . . . the theme of EVERY FUCKING POKEMON STORY IN EXISTENCE??? It doesn’t even scratch the itch one might have of seeing animated Pokemon battles in the big screen--you get some, for sure, and for what it's worth the Pokemon Catching contest was pretty fun--but the movie’s more of a problem-solving thing than anything. I guess. But, beyond that, it’s just a bunch of really boring characters involved with a plot that has too many things going on. And then Lugia appears for like five seconds.
I just can’t recommend this. If you’re a Pokemon superfan who just likes watching Pokemon then you’ll probably just shit on me for posting this and go watch the movie anyway and have a great time. Whatever, I don’t look down on that. But I’m not that kind of person. I’m giving this a 2 because it feels so pointless and boring and did absolutely nothing for me. It didn’t do anything to insult my intelligence, necessarily, which is why it won’t go lower, but it feels like a waste of money and a waste of time more than anything. Maybe “The Power of Us” refers to the people who made the movie and their power of siphoning my wallet. Can’t wait for Smogon to ban that shit.
If “I Choose You” was Star Wars Episode 7 (a incoherent mess of a nostalgia trip) then “The Power of Us” is absolutely Star Wars Episode 8 (a bold new direction)...if episode 8 was actually good.
Pokemon Movie 21 "The Power of Us" had no right being as great as it turned out to be. My impressions of the 20th film “I Choose You” almost made me write off Pokemon for good. Its attempt at trying to capitalize on the first generation while also fitting in another B plot into one film (as well at reconing a lot of what happened in the first TV series)
was atrocious to say the least.
However for the case of “The Power of Us”, I am utterly shocked how much I enjoyed this film. It still is Pokemon for babies (which I fear is all we are going to get seeing how Pokemon Go and Pokemon: Let's Go turned out) but this film had muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch more creative juices flowing.
“The Power of Us” starts out with Ash embarking on a new journey. This time, he finds himself in Fula City; a city that flourishes due to the wind granted by Lugia. Each year the town holds a festival to honor Lugia's commitment to providing the city with wind. Ash eventually runs into many other characters such as my new favorite Pokemon bae Risa, the convulsive liar Callahan, the old shrew Harriet, and a whole slew of other characters. This is all a good thing...annnnd a bad thing.
This huge influx of characters means you need to give them a reason to exist. This film does tackle this providing B-plots for all of them. What this ends up creating though is the issue that...80% of the film is just all these B-plots going on. There is an overarching plot line that drives the film but you are not made fully aware of it until at least half way through the film. Also there is a total lack of a antagonist in this film. So essentially if you do not buy into the character development going on, the film will be a horrid experience for you.
Now I really cannot talk about any of the characters in depth because what goes on with them is like the entire reason the film exists. So lets talk about other things such as the gorgeousssssssss character designs by artist Shizue Kaneko. They are simply phenomenal. Each character in this film looks perfect. The right amount of cuteness, the perfect outfit, everything. This aspect is nailed so fucking hard that I'd venture to say that these are the best character designs in Pokemon to date (and that's saying something comparing it to X&Y as well as Sun & Moon).
The world design is also pretty great. The town looks super interesting. The pier area where all the festival stuff occurs is also really cool design wise. I will say that the CG flying scenes where Pokemon are going through the city looks pretty generic. Like, in background shots the city looks great but as soon as those super camera panning CG shots happen, things turn pretty generic.
The camera movement and directing in general though are really spot on in this film. There is this scene where one of the character is about to get attacked by another group of people. However, it is stopped at the very last second by Pikachu using Iron Tail. As this person looks up, you see a 3rd person view of a slow motion Pikachu repealing the attack with its tail. However, it's how the shot is framed, lit, and paced that make it such a stand out moment. And this isn't the only shot you can take under a microscope and enjoy; the film is filled with them.
The sound design (especially of a particular Pokemon) is really well done. Everything in this film feels like it has weight because of this aspect. Though this isn't really anything new since most Pokemon related stuff has great sound design.
Music was...there. I didn't notice any standout pieces but it fit the mood well enough.
The English voice acting was...pretty ok. I did think that Risa and Callahan were really well acted. The marriage of their visual performance and the voice actors was really spot on. And honestly all the comedy bits in this film was pulled off really well because of this. The old hag character Harriet had a plethora amount of funny moments because of this.
So when looking back at the film as a whole...I am a little conflicted. The first 70% of the film is essentially like a TV episode where you meet characters that go through arcs. Then all of the sudden the film realizes it needs to get the real plot moving so there are exposition scenes out the wazzu, deus ex machina moments, and plot holes that never get filled. From a pacing standpoint, the film is actually quite horrid. However, I did end up enjoying all these B-plots so for me, I really ended up enjoying the film as a whole. If this is what I can assume the future films of this timeline will employ, then count me in. Like I said in the beginning, the film is still tailored for the younger generation; however it was still impactful.
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Man, this was a pretty solid pokemon movie. Animation and setting were great, battles were fun, and the narrative style of this movie was a welcome change. Stylistically it revolved around internal conflicts rather than an existential threat posed by one single villain/entity. The only real "sin" was that since it focused on ~6 different characters' conflicts it needed screen-time to develop these characters. Pacing wasn't a problem per se, but man this movie had to keep it moving in order to accomplish that feat. As a result, Ash became more of a supporting character who seemed to "steal the spotlight" in critical moments so-to-speak.
Really fun movie all around though--my friend and I had a blast seeing it in theaters.