Anime Meta-Review


Pokemon: The First Movie


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: flawed
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

This review is not intended for `pokemaniacs', but for average anime fans wondering if there's anything here for them. Check the Pokemon TV review for some other comments on the difficulty, and futility of reviewing this title. Anyway, this Pokemon movie had a massive commercial release, easily dwarfing Mononoke-Hime's cinematic release, and probably exists on every video store shelf in the english speaking world. As to how it fits into the pokemon I've no idea. I also believe it was actually two OAV episodes in Japan. It also has a short, `pikachu's vacation' before it which is simply filler.

The story is pretty simple (well, very simple). A bunch of scientists find a sample from the most powerful pokemon, believed extinct, and clone it. In the process they decide to make it bigger, tougher and massively psychically powerful. A bit like a super-powered Jurassic park. They then tell the hyper-intelligent creation that it is an `interesting experiment' and a `useful tool'. This proves to be, without much suprise, not a very clever move. Especially when, once free of human control, the first thing it decides to do is cleanse the world. This seems to be a logical outcome of being powerful. Only a number of pokemon trainers, our hero's amongst them, and the original ancestor, stand in the way of disaster.

It certainly must have seemed like a sure fire hit (and I guess it was). Up the dramatic elements, increase the animation level and you've done it. Of course they perhaps should have come up with a story that either made more sense or matched the pokemon TV series, as this is pretty out there. The quite awesome `supervillain' atmosphere of the bad guy devolves into a useless and visually unexciting pokemon battle. And from there into some of the most ham-fisted `moral sermonising' yet. I can't believe there was ever a time I could have taken this without cringing. This leads to an expected, but somewhat confusing and sudden conclusion. The character elements, despite the best efforts of team rocket, are lost beneath the effects and fighting.

Likewise the attempt to increase the animation runs into problems. For a start there's a reasonable amount of computer animation, which looks nice and completely fails to mesh with the normal animation. There's also some more detailed environment animation which just makes the trainers and pokemon (who must be true to the TV models) look stranger. There's some reasonable action animation and effects, almost entirely on the part of the villain. Indeed the villain really feels as if he's auditioning for a serious part elsewhere and, while plenty cool, doesn't fit into the movie that well. This is fairly average for cinematic anime, and has enough story problems to probably be of value only to hardened pokemaniacs.

Well, this is a suprise. The fine folks at THEM don't have a review of the film, but do of the filler (which supposedly was released as a film). Their review is a lot funnier (and has many more words) than the real thing. None of the sites I source had a review for the movie...but I look forward to them's.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:23 WST 2009