Jirachi The Wish Maker is a prime example of wasted potential. The film sets up characters and themes with so much potential, yet blunders them on a nonsensical plot. In the end we're left with a film in which anything goes and the audience is left out cold, only to warm up to the film if they find overly long final fight engaging.
On the bright side of things, most of the characters and their interactions are likable.The first third of the film nicely establishes the new Pokemon cast. Generally, shenanigans in the camp are engaging. Establishment of Jirachi, although a bit too goofy, works. Even if he's not well characterized, Absol, a fan favorite pokemon, is nice to look at and keeps up with the plot without feeling out of place.
This is where the film drops the ball, though. After the plot gets rolling, we're treated to a flat good guy turning into a flat bad guy. The ensuing race to the final destination drops the underwhelming, but somewhat fun carnival setting and doesn't really replace it with anything noteworthy.
Here we're finally given an explanation of the villain's motives, but it doesn't tell us any more than we already know. Futhermore, the character interactions continue like no twist happened, as if they were still at the carnival. Thus, instead of shaking things up to keep them interesting, film quickly turns boring.
Eventually, as the time for final showdown comes, we're treated to yet another one of those situations - you know, where the villain wields infinite magical technology already set up everywhere in advance. Why? How? For the plot, of course! This is where film starts falling appart, but the hopes for saving it still exist. You think to yourself - well, the stakes are high, maybe this finally becomes good! Nope, he's resurrecting a Dark jellyfish Groudon™ out of nowhere.
One of my gripes with the film which aren't imediately apparent is how unimportant details get overexplained. Right at the very start of the film we're treated to a voiceover explaining Team Magma, their dreams, goals and favoite football team. This never gets relevant. The only reason I can think of for this being in the film is so the viewers aren't confused by a certain later monologue. In the monologue we're treated to a flashback showing Butler's ex-ties to Team Magma. This would be fine if it was used to give his character depth or set up evil Groudon clone. But it doesn't give us any insight into the character nor the plot. Since there's no payoff, the reason for this scene becomes clear - padding the film.
With characters completely not mattering and plot in the gutter, we're treated to a nonsensical plot wrap up, complete with a McGuffin and a cheesily written goodbye to Jirachi. Still, there were a few nice moments that shine here - a few shots of Ash and Flygon look really good. May forgetting to fold her last necklace piece gives us a very sweet character moment that was built up subtly throughout the whole film.
Ultimatelly, while there are around twenty enjoyable minutes in the film, most of it is wasted on a nonsensical plot and underwhelming character interactions. I'd recommend this film if you like to laugh at dull plot devices with your friends. I've done so and we had some fun nitpicking the problems. Otherwise, don't bother unless you're a Jirachi or Max fan and even then keep in mind that this is Max's least likable film of the bunch. How unfortunate, considering it's the only one focused on him.