“It’s not always black and white, but your heart always knows what’s right.”
What They Say:
A vast Pokémon habitat amid the hustle and bustle of the big city seems like the perfect home for a new group of five Genesect. The arrival of these Mythical Pokémon quickly becomes a problem, though: their nest threatens the city’s power supply, and they keep attacking anyone who approaches it. On top of that, they’ve attracted the attention of the Legendary Pokémon Mewtwo, who sympathizes with them because of its own origins also involve human tampering. Their leader, a red Genesect, doesn’t trust Mewtwo, and their confrontation quickly rages out of control! Can Ask and friends stop these two powerful Pokémon before they destroy the city?
For this review, I listened to it in 2.0 instead of 5.1, because I don’t have a 5.1 setup yet. The stereo audio sounded really nice, though and nothing seemed lacking.
As this is a theatrical animation, it looks a lot nicer than the show does (I know; I still watch the show). The animation is a lot more crisp and there’s a lot more attention to detail than there typically is in the TV show (which might have some cool key animation during battle scenes and they try to keep the characters largely still otherwise). Viz gave this to us in 16:9 and I really can’t complain about anything here.
The packaging is an eco-box that’s kind of flimsy, but otherwise cool. The artwork features the red Genesect and a mega evolved Mewtwo, as well as Ash and Pikachu, on the front. The back has an action shot between Genesect and Mewtwo and their tagline, “Beyond the limits, where myth meets legend.” It’s pretty nice artwork overall.
Curiously, the running time is nowhere to be found on the package or the disc. I don’t know what’s up with that.
The menu here is actually pretty cool. It has the five Genesect and a mega evolved Mewtwo, plus Ash, Iris, and Cilan and their Pokémon. There are four items to select, and when you move over to any of them, a Pokéball come with you, which is pretty cute. The scene selection and main screen have animated pictures, which show some shots of the movie. It’s a nice little added touch.
No extras here, except a trailer. The trailer’s pretty neat, though. Oh also the Genesect Pokémon card that I have no idea what to do with.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Creating these “shonen jump summer movies” is down to pretty much down to a science now. As per usual, this Pokémon movies starts with a cold open that deals with the interesting Pokémon they’re going to run into following by the “inciting incident,” so to speak. I say that because the inciting incident here is merely “the gang goes to a Pokémon nature park.” It’s just an excuse to play an extended English opening theme song to their Pokémon playing around in some neat animation.
Now, I’ve been watching Pokémon for a really long time. I don’t know if it’s been since the very first episode broadcast on US televisions, but it’s been damn near that long. And 16 years is a long time to watch any series, but I’ve kept with it (I have yet to watch the new XY series at the time of writing this review, though). So to say I have a little nostalgia for the series is a bit of an understatement.
Since I’ve had a ridiculous amount of exposure to the franchise (of course, I still play the games too), I recognize that this movie really harkens back to Pokémon the First Movie (I watched that in theaters!). There’s no Pikachu’s [blank] short at the beginning, but the story is remarkably similar. A Pokémon that was tampered with by human scientists then rebels against the very thing that helped create them sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?
That said, it’s a little weird hearing the female Miriam Pultro play Mewtwo instead of the male Phillip Bartlett. It brings an entirely new dynamic to the character that wasn’t present with the male voice. This version of Mewtwo is much more gentle and, while she also hates people for what they’ve done to her, she simply scorns them. Unlike male Mewtwo, she doesn’t try to create a world without them (specifically, the male Mewtwo was creating a world where clones thrive).
It’s a little hard reviewing the movie itself, since I can’t necessarily say it’s bad, just formulaic. I said these shonen jump movies are formulaic, but when you put out an episode a week for 16 years, the series itself becomes a little formulaic too. It actually follows three act structure very well, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Ash runs into a problem (Genesect wanting a home, the scene with him and the first friendly Genesect at the pond), the problem is complicated (the introduction of Mewtwo to the main cast and the Genesect creating their home inside the nature park), and then the story is resolved (Ash gives an impassionate plea for them to stop, appealing to their humanity, ironically).
There’s also the problem of having “and then’s” instead of “therefore’s” and “but’s.” Mewtwo and Genesect cold open and then Ash and the gang teaser and then they run into that one Gensect, etc. You get the picture. It’s a problem with a lot of movies, but these almost assembly line movies even moreso.
I watch Pokémon for a multitude of reasons, the least of which is definitely critical thinking. I don’t expect Pokémon episodes or movies to be great, but I still really enjoy watching them. It’s one of those things where I love seeing scenes like Ash standing between Genesect and Mewtwo (or Mew and Mewtwo) and reaching that huge emotional moment in the movie that you’ve literally seen dozens of times before in this same franchise. But it’s almost always great to see a Pokémon evolve to help Ash or for Ash to do something stupid, but selfless. These may be formulaic, but I always find them fun and I look forward to a new Pokémon episode every Saturday.
English 2.0 and 5.1 audio, English subtitles, trailer
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Viz
Release Date: December 3rd, 2013
Running Time: 70 minutes
Radeon 7850, 24 in. Vizio 1080p HDTV, Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II