Pokemon

MEWTWO STRIKES BACK: EVOLUTION – QUICK IMPRESSIONS/REVIEW – SPOILER FREE

First I would like to point out that if you have seen the original Pokémon: First Movie (1999), this is exactly the same movie. I will not go into the story as I assume most of you have watched it 20 years ago in theatres or sometime after.

But with this being the same movie, is it worth watching this new version? That comes down to you if you enjoyed the original. For me I was lucky enough to see the original movie in theatres in 1999. And I would like to point out I know this movie came out in 1998, but that was in Japanese release, the English dub came out the following year.

If you read my Detective Pikachu Impressions/Review, you would know that I live in Japan. I watched this on its release day. It was released in North America before hand at the Anime Expo 2019 in L.A. Unfortunately from what I have heard that the subtitles were not the best and used the English names of the characters, Pokémon, moves etc.

With me obviously there was no subtitles, but I am familiar with the changes from the Japanese original and English dub as they are quite different from one another, but the story itself is same.

Going in watching this is was worried that the CGI wouldn’t be pleasing but that was not the case, after the few minutes watching the movie I was totally fine on what I was experiencing. Now that does not mean everything was fine and this will depend on your preference of how you like CGI movies. I would say some characters were not that great in their CGI form while others were acceptable. All the Pokémon looked great though. And it was awesome to see them battling in a new way.

As I mentioned this movie is exactly the same, but that does not mean there are changes that I will not mention here because I think going in to compare both is really fun. There are extended moments before a familiar scene, added scenes, different camera angles, point of views and changes to make the movie feel more modern in some ways.

The soundtrack itself has had subtle changes, but if you have only watched the English dub this will be a whole new experience again because with the English release majority of the music did change, with the original release the soundtrack was more menacing and dark at places which obviously was not acceptable to be used for the English dub. Comparing the original Japanese movie and this, it has many more new different scores during the movie. There was one point during the sea adventure (I don’t want to say anymore as some people have never seen the movie) that had an excellent score, and I was totally blown away.

My final thought of the movie was that it was enjoyable; I don’t think it surpassed the original movie for me. I will always have nostalgia from the English version but I do prefer the Japanese version too. But I will say it isn’t one of my favourite first three movies from the franchise, that would be Movie 2 or Pokémon 2000 as it’s known in English, this is why I enjoyed Pokémon: Everyone’s Story (2018). If you enjoyed the original movie then it’s quite cool to see a different take on the story.

 

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Detective Pikachu – Quick Impressions/Review – SPOILER FREE

I must admit when I first saw the teaser and trailers for Detective Pikachu, awful was the first thing that came to my mind and I believe many others did not like the look of the movie when they first saw it too.

Everyone was complaining about the look of the Pokémon rather than thinking will this be any good, but let’s be honest, many video game adaptations never meets anyone’s expectations.

After seeing the trailers I was unsure if I would go and see it in the cinema, but as it was released here in Japan first and I hardly go and see any movies I thought why not. Before going any further I would like to say I consider myself a big fan of the franchise and have been there since it all began.

Going in to the cinema with no high expectations and hoping I would have some enjoyment I was anxious. Fun fact only 3 of us was in the cinema watching the English dub.
Not knowing much about the director; Rob Letterman past work. Only knowing the voice of Pikachu; Ryan Reynolds, but I was surprised on another actor who would be in this but I’ll keep that a secret.

First things first that this world we see is amazing and it really felt alive with both humans and Pokémon living together. From the fields, forest and even the main city where most of the movie takes place, Rhyme City.
It’s really hard to make a fictional city believable.

What impressed me the most was the way we see everything. Cinematographer John Mathieson did an amazing work. Made everything in the city believable and the other scenes which turned to a darker tone. I was also impressed on how everything was lit. The lighting in the city during the night time was shot beautifully.

Coming to the music with its synths and maybe a tribute to the older, grittier movies back in the 80’s, the soundtrack was easy on the ears and the slow, tense, shocking scenes worked well with what Henry Jackman composed. Check out his long list of creations that he has done even video game soundtracks.

I’m not going to go in detail with the CGI of the Pokémon because modern movies do go over the top with it and it seems the more we go forward with CGI it can look non realistic. I believe movies should use less CGI it but for this movie it needed it. Of course there is no such thing as Pokémon only in Anime and video games. I would say it looked ok, nothing ground breaking but I don’t believe it was a new leap with CGI but not at one moment I thought that Pokémon looks rubbish.

How about the story itself? Well for one I have not finished the game that this is loosely based off. Without spoiling as much as you seen from the trailers our main character Tim (Justice Smith) encounters on a talking Pikachu who he claims he is world class detective, and that he knows Tim’s father as he was his partner which Tim had the sad news that his father was dead even though they did not his body.
The quest is on to find Tim’s father also why Pikachu has amnesia.

Detective Pikachu is more or less a movie which two of them find clues and search for the truth but obviously not hard to follow, one step at a time. There is another plot going on which ties together which I won’t spoil here.

Did this movie disappoint me? No I did not. Was it fantastic? No, but it’s one of the best video game adaptations to movie, most defiantly. Who is this movie aimed for? Everyone, true you will have a better time if you know the franchise and know “who’s that Pokémon?” and all the easter eggs hidden in this movie but it’s fine if you only grew up only knowing the first generation. The first 151 Pokémon. But I believe anyone will enjoy it and that’s because of Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu.

I would recommend anyone, even families to check it out but highly recommend if you are a fan. Just go in empty minded, don’t have high expectations and I’m sure you will enjoy something from watching this funny, heart warming, action movie.

 

By the way… I bought the パンフレット (movie pamphlet) didn’t know that a Pokemon TCG promo was included. Is this card even released in English?