Review: Pokémon 2000 The Power of One

LIttle subjects, today we are reviewing the second pokémon feature movie.  Pokémon 2000: The Power of One. Coming out in 1999 the name is a bit cringybut hey it was a trend back then. Like Mewtwo Strikes Back this one came with a short movie in the form of Pikachu’s rescue adventure. But like all the other shorts I will review those separately Pokémon 2000 is one of the fan favorite movies . Which proves again you REALLY need me to form the right opinion. So here goes. Like last week we will discuss the plot, and while I try to keep it vague where possible many points I will make in this review directly involve the plot.

How Does It Look and Sound?

Luckily last week my servants decided this format for me to go with and speaking about the looks and sounds I can start with something positive at least. That is right this going to be a somewhat negative review later on but let’s not worry about why I am right that this movie isn’t good right now shall we? Let’s start by going over why I am  right that it looks fine.
While the artstyle hasn’t really improved and character details from far away are about as good as the first few episodes of Dragon Ball Super.. if you ever saw those weird thing people call memes,  there is a lot to love about the visual presentation of this movie. It was the time we added in computer effects to everything and for Pokémon it works out fairly well.
This movie’s legendary is Lugia , which lives in the darkest depths of the sea. Which looks quite amazing. Our villain is a man only known as ‘the collector’ we never get a name, he has a flying air base that also looks 90’s impressive. Aesthetically his base does not really seem to fit in the pokémon world though , especially when we compare it to mechanical constructs we saw before, from Jessie and James and others. This for some reason felt more like something like “Final Fantasy” to me but still a neat effect. 

What I absolutely love about this movie is the soundtrack. Where “Brother my “Brother” felt well thought out but very out of place in the first movie, music was an integral part of the story and such we do not got the “Disney” do-over but a much more anime like “mystery melody holding unknown power” effect.  This means there are no vocals except for the opening and end credits, which is how it should be in a pokémon movie. All the music felt like it was fitting for the world and the mysterious tune came back on multiple occasions making it feel meaningful. The song was always a part of the scene not something added onto it. Which potentially has something to do with the fact they could use all the music from the japanese version. However the end credits was “lugia’s theme”  with english Lyrics so even that was in line with the movie this time around. 

The movie features a lot more action and that means I have something else to evaluate and that is the sound effects in this movies as well as the effects.  Action is much more on the foreground this time and I think for the most part it is done very well. Lighting felt a bit thin compared to the series and it made Pikachu and Zapdos look relatively weak.  Normally Pikachu’s lighting bolts can fill your screen, this time it’s a thin yellow line which despite being a more accurate depiction does feel a tad lame. I rather see something go over the top than look to weak.  Mostly the ice felt powerful and the weather effects were quite nice. I was excited about the many storms in this movie. There are a few odd sound effect choices, though nothing quite as odd as the rips from Star Wars and Star Trek of last time. There are two effects though I could swear were from Looney Tunes or something. Those made me smile though so all in all quite a good job.

How does it Feel

Oh dear, this isn’t going to be pretty. Let’s begin with the positives again before I turn my sweet little subjects into a rowdy mob! The action scenes of this movie are fun and in beginning super creative. Unfortunately they repeat their most creative scene with a nearly identical scene and diminish from that a bit but at one point movie-exclusive character Melody has to navigate her boat towards Ash on fire island. The trouble is there is a storm out there.. and Ash is on the middle of the island. What we get is a scene where the girl uses the sails of the boat as well as it’s natural traction in some pieces to let it fly across the island.. with a wrong move potentially sending them off the side of a mountain. Great! The pokémon battles.. great… I think…I mean they are great to the eye but Pikachu holding his own against a lighting bolt from Zapdos feels wrong.

Unfortunately that bridges me to what I actually feel about the movie. It would have been an excellent film.. if everything did not feel so wrong. The story is about this collector who wishes to capture Lugia and according to an ancient prophecy he has to bring together, Zapdos Articuno and Moltres first and then Lugia will show. Now so far that kind of sounds cool, the legendary birds deserve their moment in the spotlight and Lugia being tied to storms  and water it kind of makes sense. Yet the movie makes a cardinal sin in my opinion, it claims that the three birds live on their island and that capturing them destroys balance in nature letting it spiral towards destruction if they do not go back. Now while this adds a tension arc that this movie needs to motivate the characters it clashes hard with official lore of the three birds. If Red captured them and it would destroy the earth that would suck, also Ash has seen some of these before and will see them more after. Do not make a pokémon uncapturable.. that feels wrong to the very concept of the series!

 This isn’t where the problems end though, the collector doesn’t use pokéball technology to capture the birds.. he uses geometric shapes with some electricity between them. It looks more exciting and static fields could work.. but  why capture one in a circle, one in a square and another in a triangle? What are you trying to do here? GIve a bad rep to the playstation controller as it harms pokémon? It just made no sense. The Collectors Airship feels like it doesn’t belong in the world and neither does his technology, he does explain he is not a trainer so it makes sense he doesnt use pokébalss to an extend but come on.. just uses the statis circle than. The collector has a prophecy which basically states, when the titans of fire lightning and ice clash, lugia will appear, the world will soon turn to ash as it faces destruction. (It’s a bit longer than that bit its the gist of it) So we have a Collector that wants to complete his collection.. but he does know it will destroy the world… which means he is collecting it for nothing.. or he doesn’t believe the final part of the prophecy but sacredly believes in the first part. He just doesn’t make sense.  In nothing. Everything he adds to the pokémon world feels odd and off. 

Than there are the weird choices being made that aren’t exactly plot mistakes but just feel totally out there. Pikachu can only talk to zapdos by shooting lightning at him.. and Zapdos responds in kind.Yet Meowth can still interpret it like it is pokémon speech?! So why is this a thing? Somehow Pikachu and all Pokémon in the entire world know of the legendary bird mythos. Pikachu knows he is on fire island and Moltres should rule there not Zapdos. They claim in the movie this is because pokémon are in tune with nature and will always try to save it. Yet Zapdos Moltres and Articuno… 3 LEGENDARY POKÉMON , will battle each other and destroy nature to rule over all the islands.. aren’t they pokémon too? So should they not be in tune with nature as well? It all feels so nonsensical.

How is the Plot.

I sit here while I pinch the bridge of my nose while I think about the plot. The nonsensical world building is quite possibly not even the worst part of this.  Let’s take a look back at the collectors goal. His goal is to collect every rare pokémon and he has his eyes set on Lugia. Now catching a legendary is quite a goal..but he isn’t a trainer he just wants to collect everything, which is fine  and something new… but what is his motivation? He got a Mew Promo trading card game card.. and his desire to collect has gotten out of hand?! Yet the man has NO pokémon… zero. We never shown any captured pokémon besides the birds, nor trophies to show he has pokémon, nothing.. we don’t even see his card collection. So somehow.. he went from.. I have a Mew Promo Card to I must risk world destruction by capturing Lugia. His motivation get even worse when Ash … whom the collector allowed to roam free aboard his airship after he got dragged up their on accident,  frees the birds and he doesnt care at all. He just wants to collect Lugia. So quite literally the man makes a jump from Mew CARD to LUGIA! That’s a big leap there dude! For some reason no one notices the airbase ever either, the thing is a sky fortress without cloaking.. that shoots cannons to freeze or set ablaze their divine islands. Though I am willing to accept that last part.. because it’s a kids movie it doesn’t really look like they tried hard with the collector. At least the last one had a more or less rounded out plot.

Ash is on the boat of a woman named Maren, who loses control of the helm after a storm starts after the capture of the first legendary pokemon.  This makes them go off course and end up the central islands of the archipelago. Which just happens to host a MAJOR Pokémon related holiday specific to the Orange Region. Why get them there by force? There is no way Ash would have wanted to miss an occasion such as that one. They would go there anyway. So why add a pointless storm scene , there will be plenty of those later anyway. It would have saved time for other scenes but okay. The people of this island playfully name Ash chosen one to play a ceremonial role in their holiday, alongside a girl named Melody, who angers Misty when she flirts with Ash.  For one reason or another Pikachu begins action odd just after the storm as well.. but Ash doesn’t notice which is very unlike Ash. When Ash later that evening finds out his role is to travel to fire , ice and electrical island to claim three orbs for a fun little ceremony the next day he takes it extremely serious for no reason at all and departs right away in the middle of a new storm. After short boat in the storm scene he crashes on fire island. Misty Melody and Tracey, later go in pursuit because they worry about him after all. Tracey by the way has no role in this movie. He is there but I think he has less than five lines of dialogue aside from screaming. After another , moving a ship through the storm sequence.. with a great twist they find Ash and get captured by the Collector on accident.

They start of in a cage, even if they were captured by triangles but the collector lets them go and tells them his plan is to capture Lugia, after which our heroes disagree. He then is like.. well gonna do it anyway , zooming to a higher deck of his fortress while leaving everyone there with their pokemon. So for some reason the squares that captured them, separated them from Melodies boat, they unlike the bird got put in a cage, in an air base that has no staff whatsoever and after he knows they are opposed to him the collector just ignores them? Which allows them to free the birds. Is it arrogance? Is it that it didn’t matter that much?. The guy is being put out there as a chess player and a brilliant strategist.. this seemed pretty dumb though.  He truly only cares about capturing Lugia.. even after his airbase is shot and fully crashed. He still only wants to capture Lugia. Even though the villain now has NO way to even off the islands it lives near ANYWAY..That’s not collecting! Also how does your airbase still have power to use those smart traps after your computer went down? That is how those trap shapes worked right?

Next we get the dumbest scene.. Lugia shows up and talks to Ash , that he has to find the third elemental orb (he collected the second one because they crashed on lighting island when the air fortress went down) He has to hurry and Lugia wil come with him Ash now has to traverse a frozen see.. he does so by kitesurfing with charizard.. so we get another “ship in the storm’ action scene.. instead now the waves are replaced with attacks of the legendary birds. Pikachu and Charizard both manage to tie in attack with the legendary birds zapdos and moltres after which articuno creates an ice wall to block them off from that which can save nature.. something pokémon ALL try to help to achieve.Luckily Team rocket stole the back of a helicopter from where Delia Ketchum and Professor Oak crashed.. cause they had to go there too!?!  They take Ash along with the hovercraft.. to be heroes for once as they all (via a boat in the rough caves scene) succeed in finding the last stone. Once outside Lugia who tagged along all the way NOW tells Ash.. get on my back it’s faster! So we needed Delia and Samuel shoehorned into this location. We see the same scene TWICE but different vehicles and people and then we see a pikachu rivalling zapdos in power.. for no reason at all except that they want those scenes to be there.  Ash could have flown on Charizard.. he could have flown on Lugia.. but nah.. he kitesurfs on a piece of broken boat. Pointless, stupid and repetitive. While the action is fun for action sake from a narrative perspective this scene makes no sense at all.

The collector manages to use triangles to catch Lugia.. sort of.. but sort of not as it Aeroblasts his base into  even smaller pieces and now the technology falls apart. However there triangles apparently damaged it more than 3 attacks of legendary birds simultaneously or because he shot two Aeroblasts  he is so tired he faints. Ash falls along with him and presumably drowns but not really. He still is not breathing though so he is dead because Misty is forced to save him giving a heart massage.. but no mouth to mouth as he opens his eyes and stumbles forward to the temple to finish the fight.  The three orbs get unitted like they do each year but because people mistook the word Ash for ash in the prophecy nothing ever happened until now. The orbs turn into green water which alongside the melody melody plays heals the world. Ash being a chosen one is kind of nice I guess. Super lazy but nice and the plot twist that ash is Ash is kind of obvious from the get go. It makes the prophecy more stupid though.

Of course to add insult to injury they forget all about the collector. He seeing nature in all his beauty is seemingly getting a change of heart this change of heart is once more reinforced when he finds his Mew card, with this in his hand he claims he can start collecting all over again…. which was kind of the problem in the first place… but he is left too his own devices.
The movie ends with a second fourth wall breaking moment from Jessie and James which is actually quite cute but it can not save this disaster of a movie. 

What is the verdict.

While the movie is somewhat entertaining to watch, this one feels very dubious to me. The humor is cute, with some clever or just well timed jokes. There are a few puns that cause a chuckle and a few references that made me giggle. They even make a Mcdonalds reference in there. The action is good and the pacing of this movie is quite okay. However the plot is ridiculous, clashes hard with some of the classic lore, character motivations make zero sense at all. Melody begins as a rebel but has a 180 degrees turn within the first four minutes of meeting her , never having any growth while acting like she did in the end.  The collector is the most ill conceived, narrative piece of trubbish I saw in a long long while. Mew card. → Lugia.. that is his entire motivation and entire mind set, no emotion and in the end not even a resolve. Ash shows he has difficulty having the faith of the world rest upon his shoulders but this doesn’t lead anywhere either.  He just does it without much complaints. Team Rocket and Misty are the only characters that follow a natural arc. Misty is forced to deal with her feelings with Ash and while it doesn’t go more than skin deep she grows in realising what Ash means to her.. and Team Rocket honestly are the most sensible people around in this movie. When your comic relief characters are the best written thing you have in your movie .. there is something wrong. While fairly spectacular to see ..its sheer stupidity means it doesn’t have anything to tell at all. This one is just blowing smoke.

Question to my readers:

What movie did entertain you but annoy you as well?

Sweet little subjects, do not be disheartened by my lack of love for this movie.  It entertained me but it annoyed me as well hence my question above. The popcorn side of me saw this as an improvement to the somewhat dull Mewtwo movie, but where I can fit that one inside the world of Pokémon.. this one creates a world of its own that is to far of the path and logic from Pokémon as I know it. Even if it is a children’s movie the plot can still have some semblance of sense and they dropped the pokéball in that department.
The Pinkest Pokéblogger is blasting off again.
XO
Pinkie

3 thoughts

  1. I remember watching this movie when it came out in theaters. It certainly must not have aged well. Granted, I was a kid at the time and I didn’t know any better. Yeah, that’s one I probably won’t re-watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of people like it, so you might remember well, I just really disliked it on this viewing. Again entertaining , so I would have loved this if I saw it as a kid I think, but in the whole current mythos a strange mess that is just a bunch of action scenes strung together.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. I didn’t realized it was acclaimed by a lot of Pokemon fans. I thought it was okay as a kid, but I probably would find it cheesy now.

        Like

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