Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama
Written by Hideki Sonoda, based upon characters created by Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori, and Satoshi Tajiri
- Featurette with the Japanese director
- Trivia game
- New PokÃ©mon profiles
- Original Japanese posters
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Plusle and Minun abuse
- Danger, Will Robinson!
- Seriously bad hair
- Cuter than you can stand
Released by: Miramax
Rating: NR (safe for all ages)
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Add it to your collection if you have kids or love kyoot things.
The basic idea is “friendships,” as discussed by the director in the featurette. We see a lot more about how individual PokÃ©mon relate to each other, as well as humans, and there are different models of friendship between humans, as well. It is interesting to notice that the different PokÃ©mon, while all “good,” have different personalities, and if you look closely, they also have slightly differing ways of playing with the other PokÃ©mon.
The visuals are quite good, with clear colors and good, simple art. The PokÃ©mon are all interesting and distinct, and are of course the stars of the show. Pikachu is unremittingly adorable, much to the distress of older viewers who will hate to admit wanting to hug him. The only artistic question is why everyone in this world has jacked-up hair. At least Misty/Kasumi and her serious need for a hairbrush is nowhere to be seen. The sound is good, though PokÃ©mon purists will resent how the names have been changed to the usual English versions (Ash Ketchum instead of Satoshi, Brock instead of Takeshi, and so on). This is undoubtedly a concession to the years of marketing already sunk into PokÃ©mon in the States, where children would be confused if their heroes suddenly had different names. Misty fans be warned; she has been replaced here with May, as in the series.
The special features are surprisingly extensive for a release this inexpensive. We get “Who’s That PokÃ©mon?”, a series of images showing the new PokÃ©mon developed for the movie or never before appearing in a feature film, such as Minun and Plusle. Each PokÃ©mon has a portrait and a list of facts, including their name, number, height, weight, species, and ability. We also get images of posters from the Japanese release of the film, which are just nifty to see. Third, we get a short behind-the-scenes featurette with the director, as he was scouting Vancouver, the base for the setting of the film. There is no language option here; we get the director talking while the translator speaks over him. This is a little annoying, but perhaps they feel (probably rightly) that the target audience won’t want to read the translation from the screen. Finally, we get a little “Be a Poke-Quiz Wiz” trivia game. If you get the question correct, you are rewarded with a corresponding snippet from the film confirming your choice. Be warned that if you pause too long answering a question, it counts that as a wrong answer.
If you are hopelessly in love with all things cute or have children under the age of eight or so, then you will want at least to rent this one for them. The concept of a race of distinct species, each with their own personality and powers, is undeniably interesting, as long as you can divorce your appreciation of that world with the creepy feeling that it is all a ruse to make OCD types spend lots of money gathering cards. Just appreciate this fluff for what it is: harmless, family-friend entertainment with lots of bright colors and shiny, happy, friendships.