pokémon: the first movie: mewtwo strikes back
i saw this movie in theaters, i’m pretty sure on opening day??? you could certainly argue it hasn’t aged well. there was some very heavy-handed allegorizing here that is genuinely cringe-worthy, in the most 90s way ever. we Solved Racism by presenting people (well, pokémon and cloned pokémon) with the radical idea that they should be nice to each other and stop punching each other!! who knew it was so simple!!
but it’s so dorky and i’m sure there are plenty of other movies lined up to shove it into a locker and take its lunch money but you know what? that’s me so i love when a movie is just unabashedly that. and i just hecking love pokémon.
you can debate the merits of the extremely heavy-handed “brother my brother” bit at the end, but otherwise the soundtrack is fantastic. i loved the revamped pokémon theme that played over ash’s warmup fight/the opening credits. the album itself (which yes of course i had it on cd back in the day) had upbeat, bubbly tracks that i just can’t help but sing along to, with the clear standouts being “lullaby” and “catch me if you can.” and the music in the movie itself is mostly fantastic, both in terms of feeling true to the anime and in terms of having its own lovely flourish. one scene that really stood out to me was when all the pokémon trainers are trying to cross the stormy seas to get to mewtwo’s island.
mew IS THE CUTEST THING EVER OMG i cannot handle it.
mewtwo is very dommy and i definitely want him to step on me.
mewtwo’s whole deal about humans being evil and needing to be gotten rid of kinda makes sense from his perspective, but his addendum that pokémon are also unfit to rule because they allow themselves to be used by humans is just so victim blamey. not a fan of that.
annnnnnnd in the petty complaints department, a sandslash gets referred to as a “sandshrew” and i was salty about it for the rest of the movie. every time it appeared on screen i blurted out “look! it’s sandshrew!”
seriously though i love this dumb movie so much.
pokémon: mewtwo strikes back: evolution
basically a shot-for-shot remake but with slightly altered dialogue? i’m always gonna think pokémon looks better as traditional animation so i can’t really say i see the point of this? it was fine, but it was fine because the original was amazing? it didn’t really improve on anything? (except that mewtwo being put in a metal suit to do team rocket’s bidding was a lot more bondagetastic and the entire situation felt more blatantly bdsmy? which is kinda whatever because giovanni doesn’t do it for me?)
oh and they replaced pretty much all the music with really generic soundtrack music? they had a version of the pokémon theme that was pretty close to the first movie’s theme, so that was good i suppose, but then like i especially noticed during the scene when all the trainers were going to cross the stormy sea that the music was just kinda generically dramatic? pretty disappointing.
the funny thing is the dialogue removed the whole We Solved Racism thing from the final fight but it didn’t really… replace it with anything? so it was just kinda… a fight? that was there? it was honestly kinda distracting. if someone tried to watch this without having seen the original i’m not sure how much sense it woulda made? like, the original was kinda obnoxious, but i just can’t imagine making sense of this without that obnoxiousness?
again this was fine and i enjoyed it but it was fine and i enjoyed it because it was pokémon? like, there’s literally no reason not to just go back and rewatch the original instead. none. but like, it’s fine.
pokémon: the movie 2000
i saw this one in theaters too!! unlike the first movie, though, i don’t think i’ve seen it since. and it was also the last pokémon movie i saw until like… college or so? i love that the legendary birds are in this one? the middle kinda dragged but like, honestly? no matter how “boring” a pokemon movie gets, i’m just… not gonna hate it. i’m constitutionally incapable.
pokémon 3: the movie: spell of the unown
i first watched this on my laptop on a quiet night of front desk duty when i worked at the residence hall in college. i saw it on netflix and was basically like “y’know what? i haven’t seen any pokémon stuff in forever, and i only saw the first two movies, let’s check it out.” despite the fact that i had lost touch with the series quite a bit at the time, the part where charizard swoops out of nowhere to catch ash and take him to safety made me literally pump my fist and cry out in joy.
rewatching it now, that moment still really gets me. the rest of the movie around it is kind of just fine? but the stuff with the little girl and entei is just so oddly sweet, and heartbreaking in the end.
there’s a lot of emotional depth to this, which is really its biggest strength. also i love how charizard and his wife totally have a human pet.
pokémon 4ever: celebi: voice of the forest
maybe the real pokémon was all the friends we caught along the way.
this is the most disposable of these that i’ve seen so far, but it’s still a pokémon movie so it’s still good.
oh hey look this bad guy ALSO wants to catch pokémon and make them do stuff for him. which is what all the bad guys in these want to do. and it’s diametrically opposed to what our heroes want to do which is *checks notes* … catch pokémon and make them do stuff for them.
oh wait i’m sorry it’s all explained right here in the best line in pokémon history: “the pokémon i catch with a dark ball become evil pokémon.”
also ash is gay for professor oak now so that’s kinda awkward.