Pokémon 3 the Movie: Spell of the Unown
, known as Pocket Monsters: Lord of the Unknown Tower
in Japan, is the third Pokémon
During a discovery in some far-off ruins, Professor Spencer Hale is sucked into the realm of the Unown, who then appear to his young daughter Molly. The Unown make Molly's wishes come true, and the Pokémon transform the mansion into a crystal palace, and create an Entei to replace Molly's father.
Meanwhile, Ash and his friends arrive at Greenfield, and they are caught up in the mission to save Molly. However, it gets worse
, as Ash's mother, Delia Ketchum, is kidnapped by Entei in order to have her as Molly's mother. Now Ash, Misty, and Brock must not only save Molly, but Delia as well.
This movie provides examples of:
- Acid Trip Dimension: The dimension Molly's father gets transported to via the Unown.
- Almighty Mom
Delia: "I don't care if you're a real Pokemon or not, you can't take the place of her real father!"
- Almost Broke Your Neck Punching Out Cthulhu: Hey, Charizard, Entei is no run-of-the-mill Legendary.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The Japanese poster for the movie has a brighter background and features Pikachu, Misty, Brock and the Johto starters, with no Charizard. The English poster (above) is darker, relegates Pikachu to promoting the short, and adds Ash riding on Charizard.
- An Aesop: It is better to live in the real world than live in a delusion.
- And the Rest: This is when Ash's mom started doing this to him. She greets Pikachu with a hug, and Ash with "Oh hi honey." And the fans think she's overprotective? (This is quite a stark contrast to the ending of the last movie though, so it might just be bad writing/translation.)
- Anti-Villain: Molly (Type II) and Entei (Type IV).
- Molly is just a little orphaned girl who was granted ultimate power and wants to be in a happy family again. Unfortunately, her reality warping is affecting the world, and she's too young to use it responsibly.
- Entei is an imaginary being meant to represent Molly's father. All the disaster caused by him just because she ordered him to do something and he wants to make her happy.
- Possibly the Unown themselves, they quickly make friends with Molly and appear to only want to make her happy. It's stated later on by Professor Oak that the Unown's rampage later on is not due to malicious intent, but Power Incontinence.
- Artificial Pokemon: The Crystal Pokemon Molly creates, but only Entei is shown to have a true personality.
- Badass: Entei and Charizard both.
- Battle Butler/Overprotective Dad: Entei has the latter personality, which results in him playing the former to the letter.
- Beam-O-War: Lots of it in the Charizard vs. Entei battle.
- Berserk Button: Ash watched his mother get kidnapped. He did not take it well.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Molly and the Unown.
- Big Damn Heroes: Charizard, having witnessed the crisis while in the Charicific Valley, takes off to join the battle, saving Ash and Pikachu from falling to their deaths right in the nick of time.
- Bilingual Bonus: The "undiscovered" Unown which appear on Professor Oak's computer are Cyrillic letters.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Professor Hale's report about the Unown◊.
- Bond Creatures: Entei, to Molly.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Team Rocket, as usual.
Meowth: You think we're gonna get a bigger part in the next movie?
Meowth. after the Rocket Trio saved Ash: If anything happened to you, we'd be out of showbusiness!
- Catch Phrase: Entei has two, "If that is what you wish." and "I am happy that you are happy."
- Conspicuous CG: The crystal castle and swarms of Unown are all rendered CG, which mostly serves to make them look creepier.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Molly vs Misty and Brock. Though the only reason for that is because she's essentially cheating.
- Ash's team vs Entei, too. None of them stood a chance. Charizard was an exception, as he was able to put up a good fight, but Entei and the Unown stacked the odds waaay high against him, due to Molly wanting Entei to win and the Unown magnifying the power of her imagination. Allthough as a lengendary pokemon, Entei would have beaten them all anyway
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to the last film. This one is definitely more psychological (which is not a word commonly associated with Pokémon), and has far more creepy antagonists in the shape of the Unown. Also Entei comes dangerously close to killing Ash's Charizard at the end of their fight.
- A Day in the Limelight: Some websites (Serebii included) actually went on to list Charizard as one of the three featured Pokémon alongside Entei and the Unown. He's even on the cover image above!
- Disappeared Dad: What started the plot.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: During the climax, Ash trying to convince Entei to "let Molly go," and Entei not wanting to hear any of it. note
- The Dragon: Entei
- DVD Covers Spoil: For those who paid attention to the Johto season corresponding with this movie, Charizard appearing for the climax would've been a surprise note . But then he appears (see above) on the DVD cover fighting Entei...
- Eldritch Abomination: Essentially what the Unown are.
- Empathic Environment: The crystals in the mansion change according to Molly's mood.
- Empathic Weapon: The Unown; they create entire worlds throughout Molly's home based off images from a storybook she read, and they respond violently to her emotions. By the end of the movie, the Unown have gone out of control.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Molly finds out she can't control the Unown anymore when she decides to quit, and they turn on her.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Team Rocket's closing lines for the film are an enthusiastic declaration that, whether or not they succeeded today, they can always fail tomorrow!
- Fighting a Shadow: Molly creates a pair of dopplegangers (one as a young adult, the other as a tween) to fight Brock and Misty, respectively.
- Fisher Queen: The Unown have turned Molly into this for her crystallized hometown.
- Fluffy Tamer: Teenage!Molly's Pokémon all fit this trope. Justfied, since, again, little girl.
- Funny Background Event: While Ash and company are talking to Team Rocket about their Villainous Rescue, Charizard turns around to listen in on them.
- Genre Savvy: Seeing news footage of his trainer instantly alerted Charizard that he might get in trouble again.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Upon seeing the Unown for the first time, James states that he "hasn't seen this many strange letters since the time [he] placed a personal ad."
- Brock's dialogue with teenage Molly in their battle can be seen as rather flirty. He is trying to distract her, though.
- Pikachu "hugging" Delia.
- Gone Horribly Right: Entei was created to be a father figure/guardian to Molly (or more specifically was based directly on her actual father). Once the Unown go out of control, they threaten Molly's own life, and Entei goes against them to protect her.
- Heel-Face Turn: Molly and Entei, after their defeat.
- Hey, That's My Line!: almost in verbatim, even, but lighthearted in tone.
Jessie: I'd say to prepare for trouble, but you're already in it!
James: That's right.
Meowth: Hey, don't steal my line.
- Hero Antagonist: Entei is actually one of the nicest characters in the series, it's just that he happens to be loyal to an increasingly insane Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Entei
- Hypnotize the Princess: Molly wants a mother, so Entei searches around, finds Ash's mother, brainwashes her, and takes her back to the mansion.
- It also has a funny moment when Ash's mother sees Ash getting into danger, and she snaps out of the trance to berate him.
- I Reject Your Reality: Molly can psychically bend reality to match the one in her head, but even when she can't, she insists that hers is correct. A good example of this is that when Misty tells Molly that if she stops what she's doing, she can have real Pokémon and real friends. Molly's response is to conjure three crystal Pokémon and yell "I already have real Pokémon!"
- It's Personal: So far the only movie for it to be for Ash.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Entei again; justified in that he is a creation of the Unown based off Molly's thoughts and memories (and more specifically, her father), and he exists solely to protect her and keep her happy.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: Molly Hale. Unknowingly, whatever she wanted, the Unown would make into reality, including the ever-loyal Entei.
- Leitmotif: The five-note trumpet bar that accompanies Entei.
- Lucky Translation: When Molly uses the Unown tiles to spell out "Mama and Papa and Me together", she's actually spelling out her own name, ミー Mii. It just so happened that they romanized it to "ME" allowing them to use the scene without having to do any visual edits.
- Lull Destruction: Molly spelling out her name and the names of her parents with Unown tiles has her talking about how they look just like letters, and that she can spell out her parents' names. In the Japanese version, she remains silent until afterward, when she cries about missing her father.
- Megaton Punch: The Teddiursa that Molly uses in battle against Brock knows DynamicPunch, which it uses on Vulpix to devastating effect.
- Missing Mom: It's vaguely implied that the Unown are responsible for the disappearance of Molly's mother, hence Spencer Hale's persistence in researching them. The end credits show Spencer returning home to Molly with her mother in tow, suggesting the defeat of the Unown also brought her back as well.
- In the Japanese version, it's stated that she left her husband because he wouldn't stop obsessing over his work.
- Mission Control: Thanks to the Girl of the Week conveniently giving the gang a Pokégear, Professor Oak was able to maintain radio contact with them. His first order of business: telling Ash off for foolishly taking things into his own hands.
- Momma's Boy
Ash: Entei! You took my mother — NOW WHERE IS SHE?!
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Entei outright states this during his battle against Charizard.
Ash: It's not right for her to stay here with you! You have to let her go!
Entei: Whether it is right or wrong, I will do AS SHE WISHES!
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Entei explicitly states he can become stronger as long as Molly wishes it. Molly also uses this trope, as she is able to create the Pokémon that she needs in battle and gives them whatever move she wants.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Unown create Entei, such that he can become as strong as Molly wishes. When Molly decides to escape the Unown...
- No Sell: In the upbeat beginning of the movie, Ash's Pikachu's electric attacks ended up being shaken off by Lisa's Quagsire. This is a case of actually adhering to the type relationships of the Pokemon games the anime/movie is based on.
- Obliviously Evil: Subverted/inverted with the Unown. They know damn well what they're doing, but it's clear they don't have any concept of the fact it's "evil".
- Older Alter Ego: The Unown create crystal bodies for Molly as an adult and preteen respectively when she battles with Brock and Misty.
- Parental Abandonment: Although both Molly's parents are back by the end.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Molly faces down the Power Trio in three separate Pokémon battles, explicitly invoking this trope.
- Power Incontinence: By the end of the movie, it's stated that the Unown's power had gotten so huge that even THEY couldn't turn it off. All they could do at that point was contain it, and grant Molly's desire for Entei's power-up, so they-and, by extent, their power-could be defeated.
- Product Promotion Parade: The song-and-dance in the back-alley funhouse, which serves solely to introduce the new mons.
- Pun-Based Title: There are two different meanings in the dub's title "Spell of the Unown", which, some will find actually brilliant.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: You. Are. MAMA!
- Reality Warper: The Unown, and Molly by extension.
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: One of the movie's aesops.
- Remember the New Guy: Ash and Delia knew the Hales prior to the start of the series. Mysteriously they had never been brought up before, or since.
- Sanity Slippage: From the time of her father being sucked into the Unown's home dimension to the climax, Molly progressively loses more and more of her marbles. It starts when she sees Entei and automatically assumes that he's her father (technically he is, but this was before he started speaking),
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Unown.
- Skyward Scream: When Professor Hale vanishes, his assistant Schuyler reacts with "PROFESSOR!"
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Some of what Molly does of her own free will is borderline sociopathic.
- True Companions: It was at its most obvious in this movie.
- Undying Loyalty: Entei towards Molly.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Molly is in emotional turmoil over what to do when Ash comes to take his mother back and set everything right, Entei (who can naturally feel what she feels) goes berserk and tries to kill Ash. It's made worse by Ash telling Molly that Entei is an illusion and not her real papa:
Entei: I AM Molly's real father... as long as SHE WISHES!''
- Not just that. As she starts crying and getting angry, the whole room starts producing crystal spikes, in order to try and isolate her from what is causing her anger (Ash and his mother trying to take her away). Eventually, the emotional turmoil gets so confusing, as she can't decide whether to stay with Entei or leave with Ash and causing Entei to disappear, thus the reason of the turmoil, the Unown go berserk and starts crystallizing the whole field, so out of control that they won't even follow Molly's will.
- Villainous Rescue: While Team Rocket is not the film's antagonist, they manage to catch Ash's hand before he falls out of a window.
- Villain Protagonist: Molly is pretty much the central protagonist of the movie but from Ash and co's perspective, she's the main antagonist since she's the one willingly creating the conflict.
- Walking Wasteland: Entei can crystallize anything he touches.
- Water Is Air: Thanks to Molly's Unown-granted powers, her battle with Misty is underwater, but states she shut off the drowning hazard beforehand.
- We Need a Distraction: Brock, and then Misty, serve as distractions so Ash can reach Delia. Their teams get beaten down by Molly's crystal (read: hax) Pokémon.
- Who's on First?: In the dub, Jessie, James and Meowth are given a bit arguing about "If they're walkin' through the water, how are they waiting/wading?"
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Molly's parents both disappear from her life, and, in her grief, decides to reshape reality to make herself happy. Though it isn't stated she wants to destroy the world, the Unown's powers go completely out of control toward the end...
- That would be due to the fact she can't decide whether to stay with Entei or go with Ash, mostly because Entei would disappear, leaving her without a father again. She's a little girl, and any child would get confused at a moment like this. The Unown simply couldn't keep up with her anymore and went rogue. She's clearly wishing for them to stop at the end, but it's obvious they can no longer obey.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Molly, at Grade B, but only as a little girl.