Few weeks back, Film A Week took off the “Nostalgia Goggles” to tear down the silly and near-awful Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie. We slowly learned that sometimes what we perceived as a great back then in childhood may not be so great as we thought when we are older. Pokemon the Movie 2000, on the other hand, falls into the mediocre as hell category.
First off…wait, this is Pokemon. Do I really have to give background on this franchise? In 1996, Nintendo and GameFreak created a game called Pokemon, an RPG about the world of trainers who essentially train their pets to be in glorified cockfights and be the best that ever was. The popularity of this lead to the trading card game (still popular even in a digital world) and the creation of an anime series to go along with it. Two years later, this would led to a PokeCraze with the US creating a wave of PokeFever and in Japan by giving kids a PokeSeizure. It was everywhere and widespread. Now, popularity is to a niche audience as people bitch and complain about the first season being good and the others being lame, despite every season following the same structure (*cough* like Power Rangers *cough*). Others complain about how “kid-oriented” it all is despite people still playing FireRed Version on their fuckin’ iPhones via emulator.
With this, Pokemon was destined for the screen as it hit with Pokemon: The First Movie in 1999 that was a massive success at the box office, but a disappointment to critics. Most kids went just to see if they could get new cards and new stuff no one had even though now everyone would have it. The next year, the sequel Pokemon the Movie 2000 came out less successful and less praise from young fans or critics. The internet seems to know why as well.
The film focuses on Ash and his pals Misty and “I Am the Awkward Adrodgynous Replacement” Tracey around the Orange Islands and caught in a storm that leads them to the island of Shamouti. On the island, they end up at a festival and meet up with a girl named Melody, who chooses Ash as the chosen one.
Melody tells Ash that a prophecy as told by the talking Slowking (Which is never explained for some reason) that Ash would come to save the three legendary birds of possibly Spanish origins Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres and keep the islands at bay. While this happens, a Pokemon collector named Lawrence III wants to find these birds in order to awaken the Beast of the Sea known as Lugia, a Pokemon no one has ever seen before because that is how these films get a new product out there for suckers to bu…I mean, get the audience to see the film. Also, Team Rocket shows up just because, dammit, we need comic relief. Essentially, that’s the plot and not much of one either.
Pokemon films are just longer episodes of the show and that is how most features based on anime in Japan seem to feel like. There are countless features based on popular shows like DragonBall Z, Naruto and Sailor Moon and all suffer the same issues. Nothing but shallow films only to advertise, sell more merchandise and forward or end plot holes within their series that mainstream audiences not in the loop will be completely lost and confused.
Fortunately, that is the least of the film’s problems. One main issue with the film that has been pointed out is one that I agree is the one that made fans peeved off. The villain is basically the audience surrogate, but not in the way the one would think. The audience is supposed to be someone that the viewer can connect with on a personal level and making the villain that without knowing that he was is pretty damn stupid.
Lawrence III is a Pokemon collector and is hellbent on collecting the rarest of Pokemon after getting the rare ancient Mew card he received and has cherished since he was a kid. Would the reader like to know what was given away when this movie was released?
And what is the point of Pokemon cards and the Pokemon games? To collect all the Pokemon you can and acquire. The writers basically delivered the biggest “Fuck You” to their core audience and chastises them for what makes themselves happy and keep going through life. Imagine you are watching a film and the character happens to be similar to you in every way possible and it is seen as the character’s hamartia (flaw) and downfall to the point that it makes them the bad guy. No, it’s not a nice feeling at all. Personally, pointing out and calling someone on what makes them great is not something anyone should do. It makes them unique and makes them the person they are. Sure, they can work through the flaw, but if it something they can’t fix or lets them be who they ought to be, do not chastise them for it. Hell, I recently did this to someone in my personal life and it was a godawful feeling because that is how it should feel. Now, to see a character take that and use it against the people who have it is complete and utter bullshit.
Pokemon the Movie 2000 is just the same thing, different day with the basic plot of the chosen one just wrapped in the world of Pokemon. The film suffers from being too much like the show, not giving anything new for the mainstream audience or its fans and chastises the group that made it popular in the form of the villain. Actually, I never thought this movie would get me so bent out of shape, but somehow, it did. Hopefully, next time will be better.
Speaking of next time, Film A Week goes back to the list of films I have yet to see with the Alfred Hitchcock about mistaken identity with Cary Grant on the run in North By Northwest. Let’s get back to unexplored territory.
Film A Week 22: North by Northwest
Saturday, June 8th