Movie Review By Alex Lau
If you haven't heard of Pokemon by now, either you've been hiding under a rock, or you have no contact with children. It's about this kid, Ash Ketchum, and his quest to have his stuffed animals beat up other stuffed animals, or something to that effect. Pokemon stands for Pocket Monster, and the most famous one is Ash's favorite, Pikachu, sort of a mouse with a real static electricity problem.
Pokemon is a mass-media phenomenon that has taken over the pre-teen population with video games, a TV show, comic books, and trading cards. To complete the cycle, we now have "Pokemon: The First Movie".
"The First Movie" is actually a combination of two short movies. The first part is called "Pikachu's Vacation," a narrated tour of what the Pokemon do for fun and relaxation. It's cute, mostly harmless, and almost completely incomprehensible to someone unfamiliar to the Pokemon world view. Luckily, I had my 8-year-old consultant with me, so I wasn't lost. Its main benefit is that it's only half an hour long.
Part two is called "MewTwo Strikes Back". MewTwo is a genetically enhanced Pokemon. Confused about his purpose in life, he decides to take over the world. Ash, Pikachu and friends have to try to stop him, but how do you stop the world's most powerful Pokemon?
The second part is much more violent and disturbing than the first, and again, there's no help for the uninitiated. Oddly, the ending message that fighting is wrong is buried after about twenty minutes of fighting.
The bottom line is that kids and Pokemon fans will love this movie, and everyone else will find it confusing or tedious. If you can swing it, bring the kids to see Pokemon, and go see something like Being John Malkovich or Princess Mononoke.
© 1999 - Alex Lau - Air Date: 11/10/99
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