Discs Are Rated
Pokémon: The First Movie
review by Zach B.
English Adapation by Michael Haigney and Norman J.
Directed by Michael Haigney
Retail Price: 26.99
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Audio Commentary with
Michael Haigney and Norman J. Grossfield, The Story of
Mewtwo's Origin, Ash's Journey, Production Notes, Music
Video "M2M 'Don't Say You Love Me'", Sneak Preview of
"Pokémon The Movie 2000", Trading Cards, DVD ROM:
Essays, Movie Website, Virtual Trading Cards, Game Guides
Specs: 4:3 Open Matte (Pikachu's Vacation), 4:3 Pan and
Scan (Mewtwo Strikes Back) 5.1 Dolby Digital (English),
English Captions, Chapter Search
Pokémon... pop culture phenomenon or fad of the
year? You be the judge. Yet after the various games sold
millions, merchandise took off and the TV show became number
one, it doesn't take a genius to distribute the movie (which
did big numbers in Japan) in the U.S. So Warner Bros., who
also has exclusive rights to air the show on their "Kids WB"
network, brought the first feature film over here.
Pokémon: The First Movie has two parts to it. The
first part is a "mini-movie", which lasts around twenty
minutes, entitled "Pikachu's Vacation". The short film
follows everyone's favorite Pokémon, Pikachu, as he
and his Pokémon friends have a nice trip in a theme
park dedicated to Pokémon. There, they get into
contests and trouble with a rival Pokémon gang. Yet
soon the two rival Pokémon clans must pust aside
their differences join together to save a Pokémon in
very big danger. I have to say, I was cracking up through
this whole segment. Not because it was funny, because it was
just plain stupid. Unless you are in the target age group,
you are not going to find this very enjoyable at all. There
is a narrator who says a sentence now and then, but the rest
of this is all Pokémon noises. Unless you have to,
and you are not under seven, try to avoid watching this.
It'll kill some of your brain cells.
The real feature, which lasts around an hour and fifteen
minutes, is entitled "Mewtwo Strikes Back". This feature, is
also laughable. Mewtwo is a genetically engineered
Pokémon, who is trained and than betrayed by the man
who funded the project for him to be created. Torn with
anger and questions, Mewtwo sets up a fake Pokémon
tournament to show off his power and fight Pokémon.
The heroes of our story, right from the TV show, Ash, Brock,
Misty and all their Pokémon go to the tournament,
where due to a storm very few other Pokémon trainers
make it. There, a lot of escapdes happen, which include
fights, chases and the usual mindless stuff. Mewtwo then
clones all the Pokémon, for the greatest
Pokémon fight you'll ever see. And the mysterious
Pokémon Mew vists for the big fight...
I apologize for going so into plot detail, and I am sure
you can figure out the predictable ending. But what really
annoyed me about this movie is that the dialogue used is
plain stupid. The film seems like it was adapted by any ten
year old. The plot is very standard, but what really, really
got to me was the abrupt ending. All of a sudden, something
happens to the main villain, and it's just out of nowhere,
and in the end, it all deals with such a cheesy moral,
you'll teeth will rot.
Rest aside the flaws, Pokémon: The First Movie is
a very good film for Pokémon fans alike and the
appropriate age group.
There has been some debate concering this release. Many
were upset that the film, was not released in widescreen.
"Pikachu's Vacation" is presented in an open matte, and
looks fine. However, "Mewtwo Strikes Back" is in pan and
scan, and it's pretty bothersome. You can really tell when
it's panning and scanning. Then again, most families prefer
the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, so I guess that's why it was
released this way. As far as the video goes, not bad! Not
bad at all. I did not notice any grain or artifacts, and
detail is very nice. However, I have to say the film has a
certain VHS like quality to it, it's hard to describe.
Pokémon: The First Movie uses 5.1 Dolby Digital,
and I have to say, it's very impressive. There are some
great sound effects which bring life to this mediocre film,
and when Mewtwo "thinks", there is this very nice effect.
Things are clear, and bass is nice. An excellent mix!
Surprsingly, this movie features a good amount of
materials, sure to please any Pokémon fan. "The Story
of Mewtwo's Origin" is a short animated clip telling a
little about how Mewtwo was created. Nothing great and it is
short, but it's sure to please the fans. Next, is a
marketing fluff piece entitled "Ash's Journey", which
explains the world of Pokémon. This is a nice
introduction to those confused about the phenomenon. The
best feature, however, is a full length commentary with
English adaption director Michael Haigney and producer
Norman J. Grossfield. There is some silence now and then,
but they crack some jokes for a very entertaining
commentary. They even point out some secrets you'll never
even notice. Off the top charting soundtrack, there is a
music video in full frame of M2M's "Don't Say You Love Me".
For DVD-ROM users, you can get some virtual trading cards,
essays, guides to the Pokémon games, the movie's
website and genre essays. To top it off, there are some
extensive production notes about Pokémon, one of the
film's theatrical trailer, and a teaser for "Pokémon:
The Movie 2000" (I can't wait for that one). Plus you get a
collectible trading card for the "Pokémon Trading
Card Game" and an advertising card.
This is the perfect addition to any Pokéfan's
collection. With some nice video, great audio and extensive
features, no Pokémon fan should be disappointed with
this release. If you enjoyed the movie (or at least if your
kid(s) are still into Pokémon), pick it up.
(2.5/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)