Ah the Pokémon craze. That thing parents of the mid-nineties dismissed as a flash in the pan, just another fad or an excuse to get angry that little Joe wasn’t doing his homework. Being bribed in AA batteries for my GameBoy Color for the best part of 2 years was definitely a highlight of my childhood. I imagine that I looked at double A’s exactly as a prison inmate looks at a pack of smokes. I’d do anything to get my hands on them.
20 years later and Pokémon is still going strong. The trading card game is still going strong and every time there’s a new set of games, the world goes as mad as a flock of Pidgy. Oh, and thanks to rechargeable consoles, I don’t have to hoover my room. Take that Mum, even though I haven’t lived with you since I was 19.
Awkward parenting issues aside, Manga UK have announced they’ve got 4 of the Pokémon movies coming out later in the year from the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl era (that’s movies 10-13). I thought it would be the perfect time for a recap of the Manga releases so far – including Pokémon 20 – I Choose You!
1. Pokémon The First Movie (available as part a trilogy containing the first 3 films)
I remember everyone of my friends seeing this movie in the cinema when it first came out back in 1998. Everyone collected the special trading cards that were given away with your ticket. I still have my ancient Mew somewhere.
The film itself went balls to the wall. It had everything a kid could want; Team rocket, Multiple Pikachu, Mew & Mewtwo as well as the series legend, Brock. The story revolved around Mewtwo. He was resentful of the experiments carried out on people and decided to enact his revenge, by carrying out experiments on Pokémon.
It’s a pretty solid story and if you discount the hypocrisy of how Pokémon shouldn’t fight each other (“In this way” as Misty helpfully points out), then kids will enjoy it. There’s that moment in it too, which never fails to make a grown man well up…
8 Brocks out of 10
2. Pokémon The Movie 2000 (available as part a trilogy containing the first 3 films)
The trouble with the first movie is how do you follow it? Well for Pokémon the movie 2000 (released 1999 fyi) was to bring in the latest monsters from the Gold/Silver generation and tell everyone to look after the environment. If you don’t a monster will come from the sea and rip the planet apart.
It’s a kids film so I’m not going to harp on about how if you replace the “Be nice to one and other” message from the first film with “Be nice to the planet” in this one, you have the same film. Although it is missing Brock because he’s chasing a woman. Course he is. It’s Brock!
5 Lugia out of 10
3. Pokémon The Movie 3 (available as part a trilogy containing the first 3 films)
We stick with the Gold/Silver generation for the third movie. This time the mystical, but totally common, Unown are causing havock. They’re capitalising on a young girl’s grief and is slowly turning the world into her own dream-like vision. Like any vision it obviously involves Ash’s Mum and Entei.
No that wasn’t a typo.
It’s up to Ash, Misty and Brock to save the day. Mostly Brock though. Out of the first 3 films, it’s the weakest. Even at a whopping 58 minutes, it honestly feels bloated.
4 Unown out of 10
19. Volcanion And The Mechanical Marvel
Volcanion is a sweet film. Even though this Pokémon looks menacing, he’s sweet. Through hijinks, Ash gets connected to Volcanion. Much to the dismay of the large red monster. You see, he looks after abused Pokémon so doesn’t like humans too much.
As you can probably predict right now, over the course of the film Ash and friends (still no Brock) wear down this wall that’s been built and tries to get him to give humans one more chance.
There is a bad guy threatening to take over the area but this part of the story is forgettable. It’s more about bridges of friendship being rebuilt. And no one being considered for Brock’s welfare.
6 Brock-less nights out of 10
20. Pokémon: I Choose You
20 years is a long time for Ash trying to be the best. So for this instalment, we’re taken back to the beginning. No it’s not a remake of the first Pokémon movie. If any movie executives are thinking about that, don’t. Seriously I couldn’t take that.
This is a retelling of the day Ash woke up late to get his Pokémon and gets stuck with the loveable electric mouse, Pikachu. Except there are a few changes. When the series launched, there was only 151 known Pokémon. Now there’s 750+ so this had to be worked in. The biggest change is the interaction with Ho-Oh. In the first episode, it’s just a fly-by. In I Choose You, this plays a bigger part. This also breaks with tradition and doesn’t have a Pokémon talking at you for the whole film.
Again, the film has a strong message of treating everyone with respect. After 20 years, it feels more grown up… It’s expressly shown that Pokémon die and suffer abuse from their trainers. Even as an adult this was hard to swallow. By the end of the film, you’ll have cried.
8 late alarms out of 10
That’s it for now. I’ll be updating this list whenever a new movie gets released, or when an old one gets re-released. Hope you’ve enjoyed the ride!