Volume 93, Issue 44
Wednesday, November 17, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Pokemon is totally okey-dokey, mon
Gazette file photo
DESTINED TO BE REUNITED WITH TAMAGOTCHIS IN JAPANESE KITSCH CULTURE HEAVEN? Those ubiquitous Pokemon characters have invaded the silver screen.
By Marco Sdao
Not since Beanie Babies has a craze taken over North America like Pokémon. In case you're one of the few people on the planet who has no idea what I'm talking about, here's and overview.
After originating in Japan as a video game for the Nintendo Gameboy, Pokémon spawned a popular television series and a trading card craze. The wide-spread anticipation surrounding the release of the Pokémon movie in North America signals a full-fledged global domination.
As with the television series, the movie takes you on an adventure with Ash, Brock, Misty and Pikachu into the vast world of Pokemon. In addition to all of the popular characters from the TV show, two new Pokemon appear for the first time in the short film which precedes the feature. This brief cartoon serves as an introduction to the world of Pokemon and is perfect for people who aren't familiar with the phenomenon.
The movie itself is about Mewtwo, a genetically engineered Pokemon who becomes enraged at the humans who created him and vows revenge at those who try to control him.
In order to exact his revenge he sets out to create his own "super" Pokemon and swears humans will never be able to control the Pokemon again. To do so, Mewtwo invites all the great trainers of the world to his island and proceeds to capture all of their monsters. So begins the battle, culminating in a showdown between Mewtwo and Mew, the Pokémon from whom he was created.
As with most movies aimed at a younger audience, there is a moral to both the movie and the short cartoon which precedes it.
Viewers learn about the concept of teamwork and that anything can be done if you set your mind to it. All of these positive qualities are delivered with so much style, it never seems they're being preached. Lessons of being true to yourself to overcome obstacles, as well as not judging others because of what they look like or where they're from, are all brought out with the subtlety of its design.
As is expected, the movie isn't particularly heavy on plot it's more of a visual trip which showcases all of the different Pokemon characters. Interspersed throughout the film are animations complete with psychedelic backgrounds and bouncy music. Even though the movie was "Americanized" for the North American release (the story was toned down and different music was used), it's hard to find any flaws in the overall visual presentation of the film. All of the Japanese artistic flair is intact and the result is an animated feature which has far more definition than anything Disney has ever produced.
Regardless of whether you take it at face value for sheer entertainment, or look deeper into the subtext of what the movie is saying about western society, there has yet to be an animated film this year that has been able to provide action, emotion and comedy on so many levels.
At the very least, the film will create a better appreciation of the phenomenon and will prove there's actually some substance to this latest craze.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999