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"Pokémon The First Movie" on DVD

Cartoon Violence

by Jim Bray

Pokémon "The First Movie" is an unfortunate title. It clearly indicates the makers are planning more of these things in the future, which is a shame.

Okay, that isn't really a fair shot. Pokémon isn't aimed at middle aged males like me; it's a kiddie flick, and as such it must work very well or the concept wouldn't be such a pop culture hit.

The Pokémon DVD actually offers more than just "Pokémon the first movie." It also inflicts upon you a featurette called "Pikachu's Vacation" and some bonus footage showing the origin of Mewtwo's character (Mewtwo is a clone of Mew, "the rarest of all Pokémon").

The main feature's story revolves around Mewtwo, who wants to show the rest of the cast (and the viewing audience) that it's superior to the mere Mew from which it sprang. This leads to the "ultimate showdown" between the "superclones" and the "garden variety Pokémon," and the future of the world is in danger if the wrong side loses.

Some of the Pokémon characters remind me of characters from Nintendo's "Super Mario" series of games; that's just an observation - there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.

Still, it's all pretty lame stuff, from an adult point of view, and the Japanese anime-style animation is also pretty lame.

The DVD's picture, which is in Pan&Scan, is first rate, however - and the audio quality is nothing short of spectacular!

I kid you not. Pokémon's soundtrack is rich and dynamic, and makes wonderful use of Dolby Digital surround. It's so good it's worth sitting through this disc just for the aural experience (but keep the picture on your TV shut off!).

Extras, besides the other "mini features" mentioned above, include a sneak preview of the second Pokémon movie (which can serve as a warning!), and a feature length audio commentary by the producer and director of Pokémon's English Incarnation.

There's also M2M's "Don't Say You Love Me" music video, the trailer, production notes, and DVD ROM features like "virtual Pokémon trading cards" and game guides.

While the story and animation are strictly toddler stuff, I have to mention the audio again as such a terrific high point to this disc that it's worth a listen to let you see how well your home theater can perform.

Pokémon, The First Movie, from Warner Home Video
96 minutes, Pan&Scan, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring "those lovable little critters"
English Adaptation Produced by Norman J. Grossfeld, Directed by Michael Haigney


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Updated May 13, 2006