“I have created a monster.”
-Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
There are only two explanations for why anyone would make Pokemon: The First Movie: alien abduction or drugs.
Children were running around, waiting to get in hours before the movie started; one parent openly contemplated “How are we going to keep track of our kids?” Then the film began and near-deafening levels of applause were heard at the very sight of the opening credits. From there it was all downhill. Before long, people were walking out and cries of “I want to go home” replaced the children’s glee. To say that the movie was a bomb would not do it justice. The movie was more like a bomb that is accidentally dropped at the wrong time over a country’s closest ally, who just happens to have a massive nuclear arsenal and short temper.
BUY Pokemon from Amazon.com:
Video – DVD
The movie actually begins with a short film meant to introduce the audience to the world of Pokemon; a place filled with fictional characters, strange powers and human masters. Unfortunately, the film appeared to be little more than a fairy tale gone horribly astray. The characters’ language was absolutely undecipherable and sheer pandemonium dominated the moment. The morals displayed for the film’s young audience were despicable, including scenes where all the characters would point, stare and laugh at some poor creature who had fallen down. Worst of all, the piece doesn’t accomplish its goal. Not only is the audience no closer to understanding the world of Pokemon, but the all-important first impression sets a negative tone that is constant throughout the feature film.
The nadir of all kids’ movies this decade has a plot that makes that of Mission: Impossible seem self-explanatory. From the little that can be gathered, the Pokemon universe is in grave danger. Mew, an extinct Pokemon, has been cloned by an evil human and the result is Mewtwo, a Pokemon that is absolutely evil and more powerful than any other. The creature comes with the standard villain-sized ego, boasting “Behold my powers! I am the strongest Pokemon in the world.” This creation then takes on all other Pokemon in a battle that is haplessly drawn out over much of the film’s duration.
The production does use some techniques displayed in older, and more successful, movies. Gloomy colors and equally dark music act as constant tip-offs that evil is approaching. Some sewer scenes wreak of borrowed elements from the old Ninja-Turtles television series. A little palm communicator appears to be more like something Q would use in a 007 film than these annoying little creatures have a right to play around with. And the memorable moment in Star Wars, that was tastefully recycled in Men in Black, of a bunch of strange looking creatures hanging around nonchalantly (Star Wars was in a bar, Men in Black in headquarters), is not so tastefully exhibited here.
At the end of the film, Mewtwo suggests to all the other Pokemon “Perhaps for you, these events are best forgotten.” So be it.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated Pokemon: The First Movie “G.” That is the lowest possible rating and means that the film may be seen by anyone and everyone.
Pokemon: The First Movie displays considerable amounts of violence. The entire plot is dependant on hand-to-hand style combat. Although there is a moral solution to this fighting at film’s end, it is too little and too late. It must also be pointed out that the numerous people who will walk out mid-movie will never receive this anti-violence message anyway.
Another film opening this weekend, The Insider, was rated “R”. That means that anyone under 17 who wishes to see the film must do so with a parent or guardian. The Insider is a true story that people read about in unrated newspapers a few years ago. The only remotely questionable aspect of the movie is foul language.
I guess what the MPAA and its president, Jack Valenti, are trying to say is that fighting in a deranged and far-fetched film is okay for everyone to see but a real life story with real life language should only be seen by adults.