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Review: Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!

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PIkachu, I Choose you!

So, it has definitely been a while since I last watched a Pokemon movie in theaters. I think I’ve only watched the first and the third movie, and that was when I was in Peru.  I still remember well that my family and I were to Burger King right after the movie and I remember getting a Tangela toy with my Kid’s Meal. Some years later and I finally had the chance again to watch a Pokemon movie again, or an anime movie in general, really.

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You bring us back to Ash’s early days when he just turned 10 and was about to begin his adventure as a Pokemon trainer. Just like we remember from the original anime, Ash Ketchum wakes up late one morning after having broken his alarm clock while asleep. When he makes it to Professor Oak's lab, he is told that the three starter Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander) have already been taken by Trainers who were on time, with one being arriving a couple of minutes before him. However, Ash notices that Professor Oak has one more Pokémon, an Electric-type named Pikachu. Even though Pikachu has a feisty attitude towards Ash, as well as its refusal to get inside his Pokéball, Ash happily takes Pikachu for his journey.

Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!
Studio: OLM
Licensed By: Viz Media / Fathom Events
Released: July 15, 2017 (Japan) & November 5th, 2017 (North America)

Some of the memorable moments from the original series are still present in this movie, such as his encounter with the Pidgey, Ash hitting the Spearow with a rock, who mistakes Pikachu as the culprit, and the most important part – Pikachu defending Ash from the Spearow by summoning a large Thunderbolt that scares them away.  When the storm ceases, a Ho-Oh flies above, just like in the anime, but this time it drops a feather called a Rainbow Wing. Ash and Pikachu decide to go and find the Legendary Pokémon. Then we get a rundown of events, many as seen in the series such as Ash catching a Caterpie and beating Gym Leaders.

However, here’s when the movie starts to have its own plot. Ash and his Pokemon settle at a Pokémon Center when he meets a Trainer that claimed that they encountered an Entei, a Legendary Fire-type Pokémon, causing Ash, as well as several other Trainers, to rush into the woods to look for it. Ash finds the Entei, but ends up fighting over it with a Trainer with a Piplup named Verity. An aspiring Pokémon Professor named Sorrel who uses a Lucario also joins the battle. When Entei escapes, Ash and Verity get into an argument and Sorrel leaves, telling them that they need to find shelter soon as it’s about to rain. Honestly, these characters are forgettable, and I wish that they just included Misty and Brock again.

Afterward, As Ash and Verity fight, they accidentally disturb an Onix in which then starts to chase them. They manage to get it to leave just as it begins to rain. As they look to find shelter, they find a Charmander that has been left out. They quickly learn that it belongs to a ruthless trainer named Cross who, along with his Midnight form Lycanroc, left it out in the rain. Cross refuses to take the Charmander and follows up by calling it weak, and Ash and Verity are forced to find it shelter. This Charmander is different from the one in the series, or at least when he turns into a Charmelon and Charizard.

I feel like the movie should have just left this out as it was meaningless to me. After escaping some angry Primeape, Metapod, who was the Caterpie he caught earlier, evolves into Butterfree. They rescue a pink Butterfree from a Fearow and realize that Ash's Butterfree needs to mate. Just like the anime, he is saddened but happy, and he lets his Butterfree go. The reason that this wasn’t emotional to me is that this Caterpie/Metapod/Butterfree barely took any part in the movie minus a few parts. In the anime, we see a lot of his Butterfree so when we reached that part, it huts a lot more because he already grew on us.

I have to give props to OLM for the animation, however. I haven't watched any of the recent Pokemon anime minus a few clips, but I know that they are responsible for the animation as well. If the quality of the animation in the anime series is a good as it was in this movie, that alone would make me want to watch it, even with the subpar plot. The fights in this movie were beautifully animated for sure. 

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. While I do enjoy Pokemon, I don’t put it in high standards, so I wasn’t really expecting too much. The talking Pikachu was cute, and while the reminiscing scenes weren’t as powerful as in the original series, they were still good to see for nostalgic purposes. Cross wasn’t really an interesting antagonist. I really enjoyed the ending though. If you missed your chance to watch the movie, you should pick it up once it hits Blu-ray and DVD when it's on sale. 

[This review is based on a commercial screening attended by the reviewer]


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Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! reviewed by Christian Chiok

6.5

ALL RIGHT

Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy it a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

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Christian Chiok
Christian ChiokContributor   gamer profile

Christian has been a gamer since his early childhood. He's a big fan of the King of Fighters and the Metal Slug series. Additionally, Christian enjoys cooking, listening to music, watching anime ... more + disclosures


 



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