Howdy ladies and gents, time a film review from the cinema and this is a review I didn’t expect to be writing as I’m gonna be giving you my thoughts on the latest Pokémon film, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! Now I heard from a friend that this film would get a UK release but thought it’d be exclusive to London where I could see it, but after a friend mentioned on Twitter that she was gonna see it in Sheffield, I looked at my local cinema and to my surprise, they had two screenings! So I watched the earlier screening and I’m ready to share my thoughts.
Now before I go on with the review I’m going to say this up front, I have a MASSIVE nostalgic love for Pokemon when it comes to the original games and first anime series, so this review will be a little on the subjective side. With all that being said let’s begin.
Firstly there’s the story which focuses on the journey of Ash Ketchum and Pikachu along with two new companions who join him on his quest to find the legendary Pokémon, Ho-Oh. So the interesting thing about the story is how its a loose retelling of the original 1997 anime with focus on Ash and Pikachu and how their journey began, there’s a lot of fun, smart and delightful callbacks and direct references for those who watched that show and I was smiling so much. 😀 I enjoyed the plot borrowed the anime and referenced the video games, but was largely its own original tale. It was full of adventure, fun, hardship, danger and more, the film’s core themes about friendship, learning from your mistakes, good triumphing over evil and being good to Pokemon should come as no surprise to veterans of the show, but they are handled very well and have more dramatic and emotional weight than a good few of the original films. There was one part where I rolled my eyes because it felt like a direct reference to The First Movie and one line of dialogue which was just cheesy as hell, that being said the film’s made with children in my mind so I got over it.
As for the characters, I thought they were solid for the most part. Ash Ketchum was the same character I knew from the show, a young, strong-willed and passionate trainer who is inexperienced and has a lot to learn. I was surprised how much of douche Ash was in this film, but it certainly worked in the context of the story, I still was annoyed with him at times, but he wasn’t as much of a bonehead as he was in the old anime, and Sarah Natochenny did a decent job as Ash considering her deeper voice. I liked Pikachu too, he was a sassy little prick at first but that was a good point in my mind, afterwards, I really grew to like him a lot more and his bond with Ash was cute to watch. The new characters Sorrel and Verity were interesting new companions, some will complain they aren’t the original characters, but I thought they added something new with their backstories and personality traits. Cross was the new rival/bad trainer who was the definition of an asshole, but he was great and had a solid arc in the film, I liked the quirky old man Bonzi and Marshadow, I liked at first but it really became a little pest later on. And finally Professor Oak and Ash’s mother return and feel just like the original selves, and Even Team Rocket return and they have some fun moments, but I swear they were even more useless than before and really added nothing to the film which was a shame after their initial introduction.
When it comes to the presentation I really liked it. Visually the film was solid. The way the camera work added a cinematic approach to that the anime lacked, certain shots are framed and tracked in cool and dynamic ways. Also, the art and animation were very nice, all of the characters and Pokemon had a loose yet fluid style to their movements and the colour scheme was good. I will admit the detail in the art was lacking occasionally and some of the 3D CGI didn’t always blend well with the 2D material, both those are minor nitpicks. The film score was fairly good, it had the right sound for each moment and worked effectively in the emotional moments, though sometimes the music didn’t match the action on-screen. And while the music is primarily original compositions, there are some cool references to the original soundtrack and theme song which was much appreciated.
In conclusion Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! was really fun, intriguing and much better than I expected, it captured the spirit of the original show but also did a lot of new things to keep things interesting. If you’re a fan of the show you may be disappointed with some changes, however, if you’re willing to accept a few changes you’ll have a lot of fun. And stay for the credits, its hella fun and nostalgic! 🙂
So have you seen this film and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review! 😀