How to Ruin Children's Entertainment - A Journey through the Pokemon movies
Well, as someone who "has" liveblogged the entire series up till the start of XY (in a really brief sketchy overview way) I'm interested in your outside opinion on the movies as it were. 3 quick things I'd want to mention now before you even start tho as a prep warning I guess. 1) the only movie that really got throttled by the dub is #5, the rest of them, even the cheesey as hell 1st movie, at least keep their overall plots in tact so if subs are unavailable it shouldnt change the quality one way or the other too drastically. 2) #1 is the most "embedded" of the films and expects the audience to be familiar with everything more so than the rest, so its narrative fails in that regard while #6 (imo) has trouble finding a plot at all. 3)10,11,and 12 form a trilogy, so they might read better when divorced from the series proper, and the two versions of 14 are virtually indistinguishable aside from some scence changes and differing dialogue at points which is "interesting" but doesnt justify the watch unless one actively enjoyed the film. I know full well Pokemon is a show for kids like you said, and thus is hard to enjoy if one cant jump into that mindset, but I hope in doing this you at least find 1 of the films to be good to watch... a critic suffering thruogh something merely for the sake of completion is a terrible fate indeed. I just cant write a short comment, sorry about that.
@Kaoz: Well, spoilers, but I watched the subbed version of the first movie and I did enjoy it, so there's that. I do think the dub for the first movie changed a lot of things that made it much less enjoyable, but I'll let the review speak for itself about what my thoughts on that are.
Narrator: And so, our journey begins with Wehrmacht and his friends, as they make their way to the first town of Pokemon: The First Movie! But little do they know what sights and dangers they will encounter so very soon! (zoom out to credits, cut to black)
One. Digimon is an imitation of Pokemon. Two. I can't say, for fear of being banned. Just know that YOU, wehrmacht, are on my personal List of Enemies.
I'm not really interested in whether Digimon is a knock-off of Pokemon, and it bears mentioning that the mon concept predates both series, going as back as Megami Tensei. What I was saying was that Digimon Tamers, and pretty much every digimon series up to frontier, provides a far better narrative experience than the Pokemon anime ever did, regardless of whether it's an imitation or not.
It would have made a lot more sense if Mewtwo had brought Ash back to life rather than pulling that Deus Tear Machina. I agree that the prologue of the movie is definitely where it's at its best. Another reason why the film was critically panned isn't because it isn't very accessible to new viewers. Hit the ground running, no explanation of what these "pokey-mans" are. Also, have you seen the TGWTG reviews of the Pokemon films? They've only gotten up to the third one so far but they're fun and critical and could be useful to you in revealing additional points of critique.
@Tuckerscreator: actually I think you have a good point about the film not being too accessible. That's something that didn't occur to me at all when evaluating the film, and it probably bears saying that some familiarity with the series is required to really enjoy this movie. I haven't seen the TGWTG reviews; I knew Doug Walker had reviewed this movie, but wasn't aware that he had gone farther and done the next two. I'll check them out.
Indeed, Roger Ebert's review of this film even opens with him admitting he can't figure out anything about what the franchise is, even though he tried. It's not actually Doug reviewing, it's three associates of his: That Dude in the Suede, Linkara, and Jew Wario. Their collaborative review is pretty helpful because they're fans of the series, so they don't have to spend the majority of the film(s) confused at what anything is.
Nice observation on the part of Mewtwo's deserved top billing status as the actual protagonist, since the movies are (obviously) in large part just sidestories for Ash's story. In fact despite Ash (and friends) being the vehicle of climax for the movies as a whole, it could be argued that only two actually focus on him in a important story context at all. I see that the insular nature of its western release has already been mentioned so I'll stay mum on that. As for the movie's overall quality, I'll agree that it set a high mark with its atypically serious theme that most of the films (whose main goal appears to be a fun hour of legendary fluff and explodey bits... not that that's neccesarily a bad thing) don't come close to matching. However a few of them do, in my opinion of course. Lastly on the Mew issue, "its"? lack of any discernible personality is the major thing that does bother me about the 1st dub, more so than the other changes... but thats next post. So, it may seem weird for it to have such a superior attitude, but hey it's better than nothing right?
How to REALLY Ruin Children's Entertainment - An Overview of the Dub Changes to Pokemon The First Movie
So much for continuing my reply to the previous post on this one to focus on the dub specifically, you pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. Nice little expose on 4kids tho, they may never have ruined Pokemon, but they did neuter this movie from great to passable. Thanks for the distinction.
According to Bulbapedia, the Birth of Mewtwo wasn't present in the JPN theatrical release either. It wasn't shown until the Japanese DVD release of the first movie, as it was based on a serialized radio drama broadcast in the five weeks leading up to the 1st movie's theatrical release. You might have known that, but the wording was vague. So... why would children from a multiethnic country have trouble telling good guy from bad guy, but kids from a heterogeneous nation wouldn't have any difficulty? Too bad I haven't been able to find much info on Japanese dubs of Western animation. All I could get were some Transformers dubs, which, indeed, showed a severe lack of faith in the viewers' intelligence.
@Kaoz: I had actually written a lot more about 4kids specifically and why I think their philosophy and practices were misguided at best, but decided to scrap it since I wanted to focus more on the film specifically. @doctrainAUM: I hadn't actually known about the Birth of Mewtwo being absent in the JP theatrical release, so thanks for telling me about that. Being that as it is, they did have the radio drama at least, which I'd assume at least some people would have heard prior to going to see the movie.
It's not like their relationship ever went anywhere. Outside of products of fans' imaginations (read: fanfics), that is.
And so goes one of two films that center on Ash and one of the three where he actually has a personal stake in the proceedings beyond "Well its the middle of summer again, guess its time for some cataclysmic event to happen, better go stop it inbetween gym badges." Although it's a given that every Pokemon film is mildy insular by nature owing to the fact that the majority of its audience by default will know the basics of the show already, #2 is probably the most accessible to non-fans, followed by (perhaps) 3 and 13. Speaking of 3, it combines the strengths of the 1st two films, (serious themes and sympathetic focus character, while still giving our heroes something to actually do instead of just being an accessory to the plot resolution) IMO. On a technical note, the "boom-pow" explosions everywhere still look fairly impressive.