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Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You
Posted: Posted January 6th by mariomguy

Just saw this on Netflix. So, aside from retconning Brock and Misty, it's a much more moving, emotional reimagining of the Kanto series, starting with Ash running late to meet the professor, and focusing on him finding Ho-Oh. I still remember after all these years Ash seeing Ho-Oh for the first time and that story NEVER GOING ANYWHERE. Finally, we get resolve.

The first two acts are some of the best of any Pokemon movie ever made (I've seen many...). By keeping the focus on Ash and limiting the side characters as much as possible, this movie tells a much deeper story. Team Rocket does NOT get involved, and Ash's partners are mostly filler. So the main villain is Cross: a budding Pokemon trainer with a might-makes-right attitude, focusing only on strength, perceiving Ash as weak. It's an ideological battle, one that certainly could've been better explored.

The thing with emotion is... appropriate cause for appropriate effect. Ash's dark turn after his first loss goes way too far, and is almost completely unwarranted. Even though we can see the resolve coming a mile away, it still resolves too quickly. The climax also feels unwarranted and drags out too long. I hate it when films think it's OK to battle ideologies without any real stakes: that tends to feel vapid and uninteresting.

As for what you focus on, not every character needs a backstory. It seems the writers felt the need to justify the new personalities following Ash, but it's not necessary. Some of the lines work better for a character like Sorrel moreso than Brock, and Misty would've definitely killed the mood here for sure (as would Gary). Truth be told, the original series wasn't as good as we'd like to remember. Don't believe me? Go watch it! Pokemon was always vapid in the areas that didn't matter. All we care about is Ash, his triumph and failures, and his eagerness to do anything. There always seemed to be real stakes, and the world is a lot nicer, too (maybe not so much in the original series...).

Overall, I get what this movie wanted to do, and I bought into it. The first two acts are easily the best of any Pokemon movie ever, but it does retcon a lot of things, and it does get a little strange/overdramatic in the final act. If you can handle that, then yeah, it's a good time.

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