Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town is 10 years old today. This means he is now old enough to become a Pokémon Trainer. Ash dreams big about the adventures he will experience after receiving his first Pokémon from Professor Oak.
Our heroes must protect the Prince of the Sea, Manaphy, from the evil pirate Phantom, and return the young Pokémon to the Sea Temple with the help of the the People of the Water and Jackie the Pokémon Ranger.
Arceus, creator of the world, comes to pass judgement on humanity for the theft of the Jewel of Life, but Ash Ketchum and his friends are sent back in time to discover and possible reverse the events that led to Arceus' vendetta.
A highly ambitious film that misses the mark set by its predecessor
Even though the first Pokemon movie without a doubt has been one of my favorite movie, I will be the first to admit without nostalgia goggles on or my inherit Pokemon bias, the film is deeply flawed. Themes about the ethics of cloning and existentialism don't translate very well in a movie meant for kids. Couple that with the fact that the English dub of the first movie significantly rewrites Mewtwo from a tragic character influenced by Frankenstein's monster to a stereotypical villain, much of the complex philosophical messages original screenwriter Takeshi Shudo intended for fans to pick up on have gotten lost in translation.
Nevertheless, the first movie has heart. Its the kind of movie that has survived the test of time and continues to be rewatched for its tear-jerking moments, beautiful animation for its time and, despite its disjointedness, development of its lead character Mewtwo. For all its flaws, the first movie still set the bar high.
Sadly this film fails to live up to the expectations set by its 2D predecessor.
The CGI remake was introduced as a way to push the limits of the technological resources our time has to offer and you can see that in the way the movie is animated. This film has been rendered beautifully in 3D and you can tell every effort was made to make the movie as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as possible.
Unfortunately with all the effort to make the film look beautiful, not as much emphasis was placed on improving the narrative. There are no significant plot changes from the 2D film save from a few extended scenes such as lengthier fight scenes or longer pan-shots. However the extended scenes just pad out the time and cause the film to drag on. The original cut of the 2D movie is 75 minutes long but this movie somehow ends up with a runtime of 98 minutes of these padded out scenes.
Based on my research, lack of significant changes from the narrative may have to do with limitations set by Takeshi Shudo's estate since Shudo has tragically passed away almost 10 years ago. Nevertheless, that does not excuse the film from its worse offense which was omitting the 10 minute prologue included in the director's cut of the 2D film. The prologue, in my opinion, is very essential for understanding the movie better (and reading from other reviews online, especially from Japanese fans, it seems that a lot of other people who agree).
It doesn't make sense that you will pad out a movie with 22 minutes worth of extended scenes that lack any narrative substance to replace 10 minutes of footage that was intended to bring the story full-circle.
Although 3 out of 10 stars may seem harsh for a review, a lot of the negativity comes from the fact that this film just feels... so unnecessary especially when it pales in comparison to the original. I would not recommend this movie and suggest you watch the "Kanzenban" director's cut of the movie in order to get a version of the film that offers a complete narrative that does not pad out its runtime.
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