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Pokémon: The First Movie

English Screenplay by Norman J. Grossfeld, Michael Haigney and John Touhey with voice direction by Michael Haigney
Original screenplay by Takeshi Shudo
Based on characters created by Satoshi Tajiri
Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama
website: www.pokemonthemovie.com

IN SHORT: Huh? [Rated [G]]

The phenomenon that is Pokémon so outstrips early kidlet addictions such as Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that you should be glad that the American movie has been totally reedited and aimed at the insistent low digit kidlet demographic target. Pokémon: The First Movie is the final result of editing three Japanese vids into a single, English dubbed movie. What was removed was described to me as a slaughter sequence in which the Pocket Monster called Mewtwo, scientifically cloned from the remnants of a long lost Pokémon, Mew, goes on a bloody killing rampage that would make Kurosawa turn his eyes away from the screen. Having problems with the concept that Pokémon are subservient to their human masters puts this monster in such a funk that, in the original film, it goes on a killing rampage that lasts close to eight minutes. That's more reference to the Source Material than I'm supposed to give you but, on the off chance that you come across any of the bootlegged, subtitled versions of the original Japanese versions, be very warned that the violence level in the non-American released is far beyond what any adult would consider acceptable for single digit kidlets.

That being said, in the American version, Mewtwo still questions his Reason for Being, but only blows everybody up. No blood or anything that would warp sensitive young minds. Just a Big Bang, unleashing upon the Universe something that makes sense only to the properly initiated. There's no explanation of what Pokémon are, why they are or where they come from. Nothing about humans training them for battle or the unique relationship between Ash Ketchum and his "friend" Pikachu. Either you know what it is, or you sit with only the vaguest comprehension of what is playing out on screen

Mewtwo's plan is to clone the existing Pokémon into super warriors who have no inclination to be subservient to the Humans. Afterwards the new Pokémon will destroy the old and Mewtwo will do his part by wiping out humankind. The only thing in his way is the original, the very bestest and mostest powerfulest Mew and a Pokémon battle unlike anything seen before. The net result is that Mewtwo realizes that fighting is wrong. He and the rest of the SuperPokémon fly off into the sky, but not before wiping the memory of their existence out of the minds of the Pokémon and trainers that witnessed the battle. Net result? The trainers and Pokémon don't get to keep the knowledge that fighting is bad, and thus can go off and have more Pokémon battles. Just as they did at the beginning of the movie. Just as they've always done.

Does that strike anyone else as a screwed up message to send to the kidlets?

The kidlets in the audience, especially the six year old sitting in his uncle's lap, were happy as clams. They cheered and applauded and for the life of me, I can't tell you why. If you've had no exposure to Pokémon, there's nothing here to widen your horizons. Two years from now, there'll be something else to hold the next generation of kidlets in its sway.

Preceding The First Movie is a short called Pikachu's Vacation. This has something to do with how Pokémon behave when they're free of their human masters. Beyond that, I was totally lost.

Cranky is more than aware that there is no point in putting any kind of rating on this movie for the very reason that if your kids are into Pokémon, there is absolutely no way of getting around this flick.

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The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995  -  2013 by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.