Reviews: Pokemon 3

A Pocket Masterpiece

Ah... Pokémon: Spell of the Unown, the third Pokémon movie in the never-ending series and, just like the first two movies, a target of much hatred from adults when it came out (its Rotten Tomatoes rating is a dismal 22%). So that wouldn't give any older fans except the super-nostalgic ones a reason to revisit the movie, right?

Actually, yes. This action-packed, heartwarming story of family, friendship and Charizard is one of the best animated movies I've seen, and elevated my opinion of the anime in general. If you're a Pokémon fan, go see this movie, especially if you hate the anime - it'll stop your grumbling.

The movie follows the story of Me Snowdon (Molly Hale in the dub), a little girl who lost both her parents to their research on a species of seriously creepy Reality Warper Eldritch Abomination Pokémon. But suddenly, said Pokémon - the Unown - appear before the lonely Me, and start granting her every wish. Now she can live in a cozy palace to call home, with a fire-breathing lion for a dad and Ash's mom as her mom - wait, what? Yes, Me's wishes end up causing chaos with other people's homes and families, and it's up to Ash and the gang to stop her.

The movie is full of action, great character development and storytelling, sad/heartwarming moments, and beautiful art and music. Entei is a great character - he's right up there with Japanese!Mewtwo, especially when you realize how he loves Me as much as her real father would (I'll refrain from explaining for spoiler purposes). My only complaint about the movie is how the Unown were "not evil, just misunderstood", just like every Pokémon movie villain ever. It would have made for a more exciting climax if they had Yandere tendencies and wanted to keep Me and Entei in their illusion world forever.

I highly recommend the Japanese version, which is what I'm reviewing here. Personally, I find the English voices a bit grating (there's a reason why Western critics hated this movie), but a lot of people love them and grew up with them, so if that's what you prefer then go for the dub.

Bonus: Mantine's Pokémon Speak in Japanese sounds like opera singing. It's hilarious.