Pokémon: The Movie 2000 lacks the sort of excitement that made the first film and the TV series so original.
How do you translate Pokémon to the big screen? That must be a really daunting task. The video games and even the Trading Card Game have the advantage of easily being able to convey the feeling that you are actually collecting dozens of creatures and making them part of a selected team which can be used to battle against other trainers. The problem with this idea is that even though debilitating little monsters, capturing them and using them to participate in fights against other people works well in a game, it’s doesn’t work as well in the films. Once again, the people involved in the Pokémon franchise have managed to create a movie which constantly contradicts itself. The result is a contrived, confusing and inconsistent film.
The main plot follows the story of Ash and his companions Misty and Tracy. They are travelling to the next stadium/battle when they get caught in a storm. As a consequence, they are forced to change their course and end up in a mysterious island where a festival is about to begin. Surprisingly enough, the storm wasn’t a random event as different cities from various parts of the world have also been reporting violent variations in the climate. As a consequence of these changes, the behavior of the Pokémon is heavily affected, making them unpredictable.
In the island, Ash doesn’t immediately realize this. Instead, he’s busy meeting a girl called Melody who is supposed to perform a millenary song at the aforementioned upcoming event. According to her and the rest of the people of the tribe, Ash is “the chosen one,” the boy who is expected to find three legendary stones which are protected by three titans: Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno. If Ash manages to retrieve these stones and place them in an altar, the people from the tribe will be able to celebrate the legend and the return of the chosen one.
Soon enough, Lawrence III appears (awesome name for an antagonist by the way) and he plans to capture the three birds in order for “The Beast of the Sea” Lugia (one of the rarest Pokémon in the world) to make an appearance. In the end, the film feels like an extended version of a regular episode and there are myriad references to the show, various characters use their respective catch phrases and so on. Those who aren’t very familiar with the TV series shouldn’t expect this film to be a good introduction to the franchise.
If you compare this movie to the first seasons of the TV series, you’ll immediately notice that The Power of One (another name for Pokémon: The Movie 2000) has better animation. Unfortunately, the film has a woefully inadequate combination of 2D and 3D, making some scenes particularly contrived. Fans of the TV series will notice that this flick features the same voice actors, at least in the American version. Additionally and just as in Pokémon: The First Movie, The Power of One features a horrid version of an opening song.
And soon enough, inconsistencies start cropping up. Some of them aren’t very important and can easily be overlooked, like the fact that Pikachu seems to have a sixth sense to locate the stones in the remote islands, like he actually visited them before (I can’t actually confirmed nor denied this as it’s never explained.) Another one is when Melody flies a boat. Yes, like it was a kite or something. Still, blaming the movie for including overly silly details like these wouldn’t be fair as after all, the series does in fact show a talking cat (read: Meowth) who can communicate to both Pokémon and humans and even act as a competent translator when necessary.
But there’s a particular scene that seems way too contradictory. As you all know, the evil antagonist wants to capture the three birds to get Lugia. When he’s explaining this to Ash and his friends, he says he needs one more Pokémon to “complete the set.” Misty replies (and I quote): “That’s disgusting. The way you talk, is like Pokémon are just things to collect. Like dolls or stamps. What kind or trainer are you?” Well, I guess she never played the games where the main objective is to (this is the actual motto of the franchise) “Catch ‘em all.” Shame on you Misty!
Maybe I’m too old and I’m completely missing the point of the movie. The goals it sets out to achieve are done consistently well and children who are fascinated with the franchise will probably enjoy it more than I did. Nevertheless, adults (even those who still actively play and enjoy the games,) will probably find The Power of One dull, repetitive and way too contradictory.