How to Ruin Children's Entertainment - A Journey through the Pokemon movies

wehrmacht

Introduction

Before I start this off I think it might be prudent to give a brief overview of my history with the franchise, my general opinions on it and how that might color my experience.

I was alive and well during the late 90's and at just the right age to be swept up by the children's fads of the era, which of course included Pokemon. I watched the anime pretty religiously as a child, sunk countless hours into Pokemon Red and Crystal, and owned a few cards though I never really got into the TCG.

I stopped watching the anime around the end of Hoenn. This was due to multiple reasons, but I think the most important ones were probably the following:

  • I gradually stopped watching TV in general. As I spent more time on the internet I realized that I essentially had all the entertainment I could ever want at my fingertips, which killed my desire to ever turn on my TV again if it isn't to play games or watch movies with someone on a big screen. I generally dislike most television programs anyway, and anything I want to watch is on netflix/DVD or available through more questionable means.

  • My interest in Pokemon waned as the fad died down. I wouldn't really get into the series again until the release of Platinum and Pokemon Black and White, which reinvigorated my interest in the franchise. It's not really a great game series, and I wish game freak would take more risks in their formula within the main games, but I am fond of it all the same and think there is potential in it for both gameplay and decent stories.

  • Funnily enough, it was at the time where catching up with the anime was the easiest that I realized it wasn't something I was interested in.

Because frankly, I think the Pokemon anime is kind of awful. It's an incredibly dull, predictable, ho-hum show that offers me pretty much nothing. The characters are stale, the plotlines are predictable, repetitive and uninteresting, and most of the characters don't even age accordingly. It's really just a soulless marketing tool for the games to me. There are so many better anime, even when you just look at the mon genre by itself. Naru Taru, Digimon Tamers, and Monster Rancher are all way better. Even within the franchise itself, Pokémon Origins and Pokémon Special are way more engaging and deserving of people's time. Of course, different people watch their media to fulfill different needs, so more power to anyone who enjoys the Pokemon anime. If anything, I'm glad it makes SOMEONE happy. It just doesn't give me what I want out of my media at this point.

Liveblogging seasons of the anime I haven't yet seen sounded like an interesting project at first, but then I realized it'd take way too long and honestly isn't worth it since I'm pretty much guaranteed to not enjoy it anyway. It isn't even really that good a source of Snark Bait, as it's mostly just a dull, lifeless show rather than something offensively bad.

...the movies, on the other hand, could actually be done feasibly without wasting too much of my time. I've never actually seen any movie past the third one. I have read plot summaries long ago and am aware of some details of certain movies as a result, but I only remember them vaguely. I have actually heard good things about a few of them, so I'm more than willing to give the movie franchise as a whole a chance, especially if they are supposedly better than the anime.

So what this is essentially going to be is me reviewing each of the Pokemon movies, from the very first one to the latest one (which at the time of this writing is Genesect and the Legend Awakened). A new movie featuring event legendary Diancie has been announced, and I am sure by the time I'm done there will be more released. I don't really plan on covering the theatrical shorts that accompany most of these movies, nor the made For TV movies and specials; I may at some point, but I'd really just like to reach my initial goal first. Anything else is just bonus material.

As for whether I'm going to go with sub or dub, I plan to go with subs for at least the first three movies, since i've seen the dubs for them already and they're pretty fresh in my mind still. From there on out it's going to be a matter of how much the following movies were altered in dubs by comparison, or simply the availability of the material. In the absence of a good subbed copy, the dub will have to do.

I'm going to try and be as fair as I can, but I don't really think I'm TOO difficult to please. There are lot of things I enjoy greatly that I consider very flawed (pokemon in general being one of them). With that said, I'm not going to neglect being critical of it just because they're "kids' films". If something stinks, then it stinks and I'm going to say so.

No guarantees on when this is going to be done as I'm just starting a new semester at school, and I have other hobbies which take precedence. I also like to make sure I have all my thoughts in order and neatly organized before posting (I've already seen the first movie again and am writing up a skeleton of its review as I type this).

Feel free to chime in if you have anything to say, whether it's interesting background information, factual errors on my part, or disagreements. Keep in mind that I don't mean to belittle anyone for enjoying any movie in particular, no matter how critical of it I may seem. At the end of the day personal enjoyment is subjective, and I can't invalidate your feelings towards something you genuinely like. The best I can do is try to substantiate my opinions, present my case, and see if you agree or not.

So strap in, and let's have fun watching some Pokemon.

Comments

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 12th Feb 14
@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.

wehrmacht 12th Feb 14
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)
Tuckerscreator 13th Feb 14
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.
Torchic65101 20th Feb 14
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.
wehrmacht 21st Feb 14
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/lb_i.php?lb_id=13921740400B01992500