Pokemon: The First Movie

*1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

If the Nintendo marketing department had been asleep at the hour of its birth, this Japanese cartoon would have been relegated to the lower depths of TV kidsfill. The animation is cheapo basic, the creatures incredible, the dialogue beyond pastiche.

Pokemon is a phenomenon. Every child in the country seems to be collecting the cards and learning the potty history of over 150 "monsters". Even the love life of Ash, the boy hero, is discussed.

The First Movie implies that there will be a Second and a Third (double groan!). The brain-grazing banality of the storyline has nothing to do with this desire for sequelisation. It's all about money and nothing to do with art. Merchandising Rules OK? Not OK.

For those who care, a kangaroo alien reptile, called MewTwo, has been created by scientists in a lab from the DNA of a Pokemon creature, called - wait for it - Mew, with devastating psychic powers that will make it the ultimate fighting machine. One prob. MewTwo has the mind of an angst-ridden Sixties student and keeps asking the suicide questions - "What's my purpose?", "Why am I here?"

Its purpose is to escape the prison of the lab and take over the world. Those infinitely more engaging Batman villains were up to the same trick, except with them it was Gotham City, not the whole wide whatever.

Cave dwellers and blind chickens, unaware of current playground fashion, will find the film incomprehensible. Pokemon creatures don't speak (thank God). They make noises that identify them. MewTwo speaks, but MewTwo is different, being labspawned. Also, the colours and "landscapes" are odd. Like burning horses.

P.S. Don't worry about the burning horses. They evolved that way.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Pokemon: The First Movie packshot
Ash and his colourful pals make the leap to big-screen merchandising.
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Director: Michael Haigney, Kunohiko Yuyama

Writer: Norman J. Grossfeld, Takeshi Shudo

Starring: Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart

Year: 1999

Runtime: 74 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Japan

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