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  • Accidental Innuendo: Pikachu seems to REALLY like Ash's mom.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The Unown appearing to Molly and granting her wishes can be seen as their way of saying "sorry" for what happened to her father.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The English version was once again lucky to have Ralph Schuckett provide the orchestral score. For years it went unreleased, but in 2016 the entire score was uploaded to Youtube.
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    • The enka Award-Bait Song during the Japanese version's credits, and "To Know The Unknown" in the US version's end credits.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite the praise by fans and a reasonably faithful English dub, the movie sits at a dismal 22% on Rotten Tomatoesnote . This may have been due to the bad taste the dub of Pokémon: The First Movie left in people's mouths, or possibly because most film critics at the time were part of Pokémon's baby boomer/Gen X anti-fandom and merely disliked the movie on principle.
  • Even Better Sequel: It's considered to be amongst the best (if not the best) of the animated Pokémon movies, up there with the Lucario and Keldeo movies and The Power of Us, along with the first movie if you consider its Japanese dub. It was also one of the few Pokémon movies to be generally well-received by parents, as it lacked the Continuity Lockout of the other two films (except for why Ash's Charizard is living in the Charicific Valley at the time).
  • Fanfic Fuel: This film reveals that Delia was one of Professor Oak's students as a teenager. This adds a level of depth to their relationship not mentioned in the main series and gives Delia Hidden Depths.
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    • The movie gives an idea for what Pokemon Molly could likely have if or when she actually does become a Pokemon Trainer: Teddiursa, Phanpy, Mareep, Horsea and Mantine.
      • Teddiursa, at least, is confirmed in the credits, which show Molly playing with a Teddiursa in the real world.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Illusion Entei's fire attacks look a lot like Shadow Fire, from Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, which would come out 3 years later. With that in mind, you get a new appreciation for Molly's emotional state.
    • While the Japanese guidebooks state that Molly's mother was hospitalized before the film's events, the English dub states that she disappeared while looking for the Unown. So basically, in the English dub at least, Spencer Hale lost his beloved spouse to a realm of interdimensional Pokémon, and intensively researched them in order to bring her back. Sounds a lot like a certain villain who appeared much later in the franchise...We should at least be happy that Hale never went insane during his research and that the Unown do not release dangerous neurotoxins.
      • Molly herself, on the other hand, shows similarities to that later villain as well. Everyone in her family ends up disappearing from her life and leaving her alone, so she isolates herself in a world of her own making created by interdimensional Pokémon and sustained by their power, which is a world where she surrounds herself only by what she desires to have with her.
      • To make it even more extra hilarious, when that villain and her story got an adaptation in the anime, there were very notable similarities to this movie by the time the climax came, complete with Lusamine (due to being Brainwashed and Crazy by Nihilego toxin) acting very childishly not unlike Molly herself.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
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    • In a bizarre case of Life Imitates Art, a 30-year-old Brazilian man saw Entei as a guardian spirit in the same vein as Molly. "Tá Tudo Bem Agora" (It's Alright Now), from his forum post, became a meme in Brazil for a while.
    • Aside from the similarities in plots, many fans have also noted similarities between the Unown's film depictions and the Ultra Beasts from Pokémon Sun and Moon, such as creating wormholes that can give amnesia to those who pass through them. As an added bonus, Molly's book of Legendary Pokémon shows a living sun that bears a striking resemblance to Solgaleo, above a vaguely Hawaiian landscape. Afterwards, the same book shows a girl riding a spiky...thing that resembles a Xurkitree. This is to the point that some believe that Unown may actually be an Ultra Beast, and that the games were partially inspired by the movie (or, as certain Pokémon ideas have bounced around unfinished for years, possibly even vice versa).
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Calling it a "ship" would be inaccurate, however some people enjoy having Molly befriend Mewtwo from the first film. This is due to Entei reminding fans of Mewtwo and Molly reminding fans of Ambertwo.
  • Narm: "You. Are. MAMA!" Much less narmy in the Japanese version, though.
  • Signature Scene: Charizard vs. Entei.
  • Squick: Brock playfully flirting with teenage Molly could be this, considering Molly is actually a five-year-old girl. Then again, he's only trying to distract her.
  • Subbing vs. Dubbing: The English dub is quite faithful to the Japanese original, but there is considerable debate over whether it's a superior product; for the record, Dogasu's Backpack still labeled it as below-average (if better than the dubs of the first two movies), and there's speculation that parents and other adults at the time found it to be grating.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Many consider Pokémon 3 to be the best Pokémon film (though given its still-paltry score with critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, perhaps it's not saying much), and every subsequent film, with a few exceptions, is considered to be not as good or worse until they re-grew the beard with Pokémon: I Choose You! and its approach of taking the yearly Pokémon movie in a new direction every time. Of course, it helps that this was the last film Takeshi Shudo wrote.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Unown are animated in CGI, making them seem creepily out of place in the otherwise two-dimensional film. Given what they are, this may have been intentional.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: A few people dislike Molly for refusing to understand that she might be hurting others or doing wrong even when it gets to the point when it should be obvious even for a child of her age.
  • Vindicated by History: Like the Pokémon franchise as a whole, Spell of the Unown was poorly-received with critics who were adults at the time of the film's release, but as its fans grew up, they were able to scrutinize the movie that they loved as kids and come out with genuine praise for it, cementing its reputation as one of the better movies in the series. While there are still fans who mock Pokémon: The First Movie (especially its English adaptation), one would be hard-pressed to find people who have the same complaints about Pokémon 3.
  • The Woobie: Molly, a little girl who loses first her mother and then her father to the Unown portal. Seriously, for most of the movie she's like a miniature Ophelia.
  • Woolseyism: Two for the end credits:
    • In the Japanese version, Spencer Hale wasn't released from the Unown's dimension until the end credits rolled. The English version moved it to the sequence where the Unown are defeated (without disrupting the scene's flow at all) just to assure any audience members who'd leave without watching the credits that he's okay.
    • Also in the Japanese version, Mrs. Hale walked out on Spencer for being such a workaholic. In the dub, it's mentioned that she mysteriously vanished one day and that the Unown may have had something to do with her disappearance; this gives some further (and more tragic) depth to why Spencer is so obsessed with finding the Unown, as well as giving a handy explanation for why Mrs. Hale returns in the end credits (the implication is that the Unown decided to give her back too).

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