An incongruous story, forgettable plot and dreary characters make Pokémon 3: The Movie one of the most mediocre films based on the popular franchise.
After watching Pokémon: The First Movie and Pokémon: The Movie 2000, there is something that quickly becomes apparent about the franchise. Films based on Pokémon must feature legendary creatures that have never been seen in the TV series before. In this way, the people involved make sure that those who follow the series may find something in the movies they can’t find anywhere else. In this case, Spell of the Unown revolves around Entei and some mysterious psychic critters referred as Unown.
At the beginning of the film, the famous professor Spencer Hale is taking care of his little daughter at his mansion. He tells her an old fairy tale about a legendary Pocket Monster known as Entei. Suddenly, the professor receives a call from one of his students who’s helping him study some recently found ruins that may reveal some details about the elusive Unown. As he explores the prehistoric ruins, the professor finds some ancient runes and he’s transported to a different dimension where the Unown live.
The young student goes on to Molly’s mansion to tell the bad news about her father’s disappearance. Right after that, the sad little girl comes across the same set of runes her father accidentally activated. She is so intrigued by them that she accidentally is able to conjure a powerful spell. As a consequence, the Unown grant Molly every wish she wants and her first one is to transform her mansion into a crystal palace. Then, she remembers the stories her father used to tell her and summons a fake version of Entei.
Coincidentally, Ash and his friends (Misty and Brock, duh!) are near the mansion as our hero is still trying to become a Pokémon Master (spoilers!) Professor Oak and Ash’s mother also go to that place to investigate the weird events that have been taking place in that particular location and they all meet. But as Molly requests a mother, the fake Entei kidnaps Delia (Ash’s mom.) Now Ash needs to infiltrate into the crystal wasteland, rescue her mother, break the powerful spell and continue his long journey in less than 90 minutes.
For the uninitiated, this film is set in the Johto League where the main objective is still to “catch ‘em all.” Only this time, a new region called Johto has been discovered. It’s quite surprising that people in the Pokémon universe have the technology to put monsters into tiny Pokéballs, but lack satellites that would allow them to virtually explore the whole world. So from time to time, a new region with exactly one hundred Pokémon is discovered. Quite convenient you guys!
The story isn’t very good as most of the events that take place in it are absolutely incongruous. First of all, the fake version of the legendary Pokémon Entei becomes Molly’s father. Well, I guess that make sense, the poor girl was an orphan and all she wanted was a family. At one point in the film though, Molly becomes an adult and the reason for that isn’t clearly explained. Her wish was to become a Pokémon trainer, not necessarily an older person. In the end, it feels like “Molly’s Dream World” as I like to call it, allows her (and the director) to do anything she wants and this quickly becomes an excuse for random events to take place.
At the same time though, some questions are never answered: does Entei really exist? According to the film’s plot, the monster that appears is just an illusion? Then, is Molly’s father really dead? He’s transported to another universe and that’s the last thing we hear about him. What happened to Molly’s mother? She has also previously disappeared, but how? Finally, who’s the winner in the battle between adult Molly and Misty? The answers to these questions I don’t know, but what I do know is that the plot is absolutely absurd.
Additionally, almost at the end of the film, we witness one tedious Pokémon battle right after the other. The explanation for this happening isn’t exactly clear. As I previously mentioned, Molly wants to become a trainer, battling other powerful trainers (Misty, Brock, Ash, etc.) but the way in which these battles take place is extremely mechanical, as if it was one of the video games.
Furthermore, when Molly witnesses more fierce fights between Pokémon she commands everyone to stop because fighting is bad. Wait, what? The whole franchise is based on monsters fighting, what do you mean fighting is bad? This was also a very serious issue with the original Pokémon film and it’s interesting that directors can’t avoid contradicting themselves.
In conclusion, Pokémon 3 is probably the worst film of the trilogy. The plot is intensely monotonous and forgettable, characters are dreary, the inclusion of new legendary Pokémon isn’t that thrilling and the film’s pace is overly linear. In the end, nothing saves Pokémon 3: The Movie from mediocrity.