By Jack Holmes
MMU Gamers held a vote to decide on which of the dozens of Pokémon movies would be screened today and Pokémon 2000 beat the original by just a single vote. The animated movie is pretty much what you’d expect from one of the classic installations in the Pokémon movie franchise. There’s Ash, an ancient god of the sea and an all knowing pink sloth like creature. Is it a perfect Pokémon movie? Well, that depends largely on what you’re after from a full length animation based on a classic video game series.
Released in, if you hadn’t guessed, the year 2000, this film’s key draw is it’s original ethical look at the franchise the film takes it’s story from. When played on a 2D screen there’s a certain level of impersonality to the action, however when brought to the big screen, characters are given a new level of depth and with it, the Pokemon world is looked at in new and original ways. Pokémon 2000 focuses on the notion of players collecting the local Pokémon that inhabit their world to simply place within a collection. Where the video games encouraged these actions, the movie questions whether this falls into the realms of slavery, or partnership. It’s a message running through the background of the entire film and although never explored in length, is an interesting aspect to include in what is essentially a “kids film”.
The action sequences are typical of the early 2000s’ Japanese animation with slick fight scenes topped with the usual bubble styled explosions you’ll be familiar with from the early installments in the film series, TV show or other anime classics such as Akira.
The writing rarely manages to break out of the mundane and is largely one liners stringing together badly delivered plot points. Any movie that needs a pink psychic sloth Pokémon, a narrator and a professor to explain its plot is simply too complicated for its own good. Its pacing also leaves a lot to be desired, moving from seemingly endless setup to firing through plot points so quickly they have to be repeatedly revisited, seemingly to help their younger target audience keep up.
Pokemon 2000 is by no means a bad installment in the series, although like its other installments, rarely manages to break out of the box of straight-to-DVD style animated movie. With Ratchet and Clank bombing at the box office less than a month ago, it’s not like the Pokémon movies are disappointing their genre, it’s just that it seems no one knows exactly how to capture the attraction of a video game and bring it to the big screen. Perhaps we’ll all be pleasantly surprised later this year when the Michael Fassbender-starring Assassins Creed hits cinemas. Until then, Pokémon 2000 isn’t a bad installment in the series, but, overall, the series as a whole, needs to aim a little higher.