16 July 2010 | TheUnknown837-1
some might call me childlike for still having a soft spot for Pokemon. I prefer the term young-at-heart.
When I took the time to track down and watch both "Pokemon: The First Movie" and "Pokemon: the Movie 2000" for the first time in years, my feelings were swamped with joyous nostalgia tracing back to my younger years. There were times I felt I should have grown up in Japan, because all of my favorite media products came from that great island nation. Godzilla and Pokemon. Those were my two obsessions. Yes, I was one of millions from around the globe who collected the trading cards and checked in on the television show and played the video-games (I still have a soft spot for the N64 game "Pokemon Stadium") and watched the movies when they popped up here in the U.S. Pokemon continued to ride strong in my interests until after a while, when they created more than 151 little fighting monsters and things just bogged down to the point where they were excessively juvenile and just dumb. It was the same syndrome that momentarily struck Godzilla in the 70s. The king of the monsters recovered, but Pokemon didn't. It sank away for me, and many and although Pokemon is still around and still (fairly) popular with the younger generation, it no longer has the cult status it once ruled with.
But just because I am no longer swamped with obsession does not mean I cannot still feel the joy of this innocent little saga looking back on it as an adult. Yes, before you question me, I still enjoy the Pokemon movie. In fact, I enjoy both of them, especially "Pokemon 2000." But this review concerns the first one, released in 1999. For those who do not know, there are a lot of Pokemon, but one in particular, called Mew, is the strongest of them all. One day, some fiddling scientists clone from Mew's DNA a newer, stronger beast called Mewtwo: a psychic creature infuriated by how Pokemon seem to have become slaves to humans. And very slowly, he begins to set up a trap to restore Pokemon to what he feels is their rightful place in the world, at the top. Once again we rendezvous with our heroes, as the narrator calls them, from the TV show. There's Ash Ketchum, Misty, Brock, and of course, the little lightning-surged rodent Pikachu. After a prologue revolving around Mewtwo, we dive in with them.
There is a lot of advertisement in "Pokemon: The First Movie." It is very much a merchandise exploitation to further the interest of kids in the cards, games, and series. But kids endorse these sort of things. I know, because I remember I did when I was eight or so and saw the movie for the first time. I mean, what kid wouldn't like to have an army of monsters at his command and be able to duke them out with other monsters? It's like having Godzilla and Mothra and Rodan at your command.
What I really liked about "Pokemon: The First Movie" then and now is that, like Godzilla, it's innocent and goodhearted fun. It's not meant to be taken too seriously, and nobody does, and it is inoffensive, harmless, joyful, and really nostalgia-stirring. It's also enjoyable because it makes the best out of what it has. The Japanese animation, even the movie's detractors note, is eye candy. It's rich, colorful, and fun to look at. I also enjoy twists in the story, such as how one of Ash's Pokemon, a dragon-like thing called Charizard, refuses to obey its master. There's personality in the Pokemon, in Mewtwo, and especially in Pikachu, who dare I say it, is actually kind of adorable as far as animated, imaginary animals are concerned. There is a lot of personality in this little rodent, especially in the eyes, which are well-animated, and in its voice. There's also a trio of bumbling villains, two rockstar would-be secret agents and their talking cat Meowth, who have some very funny moments as they try to make a good impression for their boss by kidnapping Pikachu. There's also the emphasis on whether or not Pokemon and humans are really master and slave or friend and friend.
If I do have anything negative to say about the movie it is the fact that it really just feels like an extended version of a TV episode rather than a feature film. A movie adaptation needs to push the boundaries and expand rather than just use the same material at greater pacing. That's why I personally prefer "Pokemon 2000" because it does what I mentioned.
That's all I have to say in a bad manner.
I know I will have a lot of insulting comments thrown in my direction, but I see nothing wrong with number one, having liked Pokemon in my youth, and number two, still mildly enjoying Pokemon as an adult, looking back on a time when I was more innocent, more open-minded, and more willing to accept things that were outside of what we were "supposed to like and not like." Some may choose to call me childish for liking "Pokemon: The Movie." I think the proper term would be young-at-heart.